Were they making fun of me behind my back?

In school, I felt like an outsider.

I saw how others connected and had a great time, while I struggled.

Take the other guys in my class for example. I often worried that they were making fun of me behind my back and it felt like it was them inside and then me outside.

One day, a new guy came to class. After a week, he was closer with my classmates than I was after a year.

That “proved it” to me: There’s definitely something wrong with me!

Like I’ve said before, I don’t regret that time, because that’s what formed who I am today. read more

How to stop fiddling (+ other habits that make us look nervous)

This puzzled me for a long time:

I tried not fiddling, having more eye contact, having a better posture, and so on.

But it didn’t work!

As soon as I didn’t pay attention, I started fiddling again or I forgot about eye contact and posture.

One day, a friend told me about a principle Toyota uses to make cars. It’s called Genchi Genbutsu, and it helped me understand why I couldn’t stop fiddling.

So I’m probably missing some details here but the story of Genchi Genbutsu goes something like this: read more

“It’s like I don’t know who I am!” (How to find your identity)

How do you know who you really are?

Like, how do you know what your values are and what you really think and feel about things?

Here’s the comment that inspired me to write today’s text. It’s from one of our readers, Jaimie:

“As I am reading these articles and watching your videos (which are fantastic by the way!) I find myself thinking that, even if I do apply these principles to my social life, I will still struggle.

I actually don’t know what I think about things, or what I value and why. I have been such a people pleaser for so long, terrified of rejection, that I lost myself in it all. read more

Why bars and parties are terrible for connecting and what to do instead

Look at this email I just got:

“Many times I try to have more personal conversations in bars and at parties but people don’t want to talk about more personal things.

I asked someone what they did, whether they loved their job and what they would do if they could do anything.

They just said, “I don’t know, still thinking about it”. People don’t want to have deep and meaningful personal conversations in bars and parties, they just want to keep it light and have a laugh.”

This experience is spot on why loud bars and parties are so bad for connecting with people and getting to know someone. read more

How to participate in group conversations when you dislike attention

This is the third part of my email series on group conversations.

Here are the previous parts:

Part 1: How to be part of the group without saying anything smart or funny
Part 2: How to be part of a conversation when you just don’t feel like it

Yesterday I had an eye-opening coaching session with a client.

He told me how he zoned out in conversations. I’ve met with him before, and nothing had given him great results.

Finally, after an hour of coaching, we finally arrived at the core of the problem: read more

Why self-improvement is painful and what to do about it

A while back I met an amazing girl that I soon fell in love with. I knew that she liked me back. But while I felt more and more for her over time, she felt less and less.

When someone I speak with for five minutes walks off, I’m unaffected, because I know that they don’t know me.

But being rejected by this girl took a hit at my self- esteem.

I’m privileged to have extremely conscious, smart people around me who could give me input.

I felt like I was back in school – seeking advice instead of being the one giving it out. read more

What to do when friends only talk about themselves and aren’t interested in you

We just got an email about getting stuck in the “listener trap”:

“[…] After about 6 months of “friendship”, these people turn to me as someone to talk to, as I always seem interested in their daily affairs.

The difficulty is that they just want to talk about themselves. I am afraid that if I start talking about myself, these friends would find me whiny and stop being friends with me!

I personally think that I may be not interesting enough to people, and thus people don’t seem to take interest in what I say or do – they just like me for being someone they can vent to or talk to or seek advice from. read more

How to deal with setbacks in personal development

I just came back from a fun and interesting dinner with a course participant.

I coach him, and in return, he gives me feedback on our material.

We talked about group conversations. He told me about how he’d made great progress at first but then felt like he was back to square one. He asked for advice on what to do next.

It’s a great question. It’s something I’ve struggled with, too.

Luckily, by knowing what the curve of self-improvement looks like, we learn that those setbacks we experience are a natural part of what it takes to improve. read more