Telling People What They’re Doing Right

If you are like most people you truly believe that if you reinforce the behavior you’re looking for, you’re probably going to get more of it. Do you believe that? Somehow we feel its okay to reinforce two populations: small children and dogs. If it works on small children and dogs, do you suppose it works on grown ups? Of course it does! Most people generally hear criticism or they hear nothing. Yet, most of us thrive on being told what we are doing right. Therefore, make a point of increasing the frequency of telling everybody what they’re doing right. You’re at very low risk of doing it too much. So if you’re terrific, that’s terrific. If other people are terrific, tell them!

Improving Your Effectiveness by Improving Your Appearance

Research says that when people encounter you, what they are likely to remember is about 10% of what you say, 35% of how you say it, and 55% of how you look; which means that 90% of what people remember has to do with packaging, it has to do with the way you look.  If you look good and dress up, if you improve your appearance, people are going to pay more attention to you.  Therefore, my recommendation is to take pride in your appearance and improve it… press it, shine it, cut it, shave it, color it, curl it, brush it, elevate it, tuck it, and pluck it.  When you do, you’re going to look more attractive and you are going to have more pride in your appearance and people will pay more attention.  So, improve your appearance and the environment will as well.  

Announcing Your Honesty

Do you ever notice you’ll do that? You’ll say things like, “Well, to be quite honest…” or “I’m gonna be honest,” or “Do you want me to be honest?” It’s interesting that when people ask me, “Do you want me to be honest?” I usually answer, “No, it would be out of character for you, it’s really out of order for you to be honest.” They then look at me as if I’m sort of strange. The reality is that what you intend is quite different from how it is received when you announce your honesty. If you say, “to be quite honest, here is my position…” It almost is received in the following way, “What, you’ve been deceitful so far?” My recommendation is if you must say something, say, “frank,” or “candid” or “direct.” Instead of saying “to be quite honest” say “to be quite frank.” You’ll notice that you’ll get more the results you’re looking for without that kind of question.

The Yeah But’s

The Yeah buts… Do you ever notice how people get engaged into that kind of conversation? “Well, I think we ought to do this” “well, yeah but that won’t work.” Do you ever notice that when you “yeah but” on each other you are actually creating more of a conflict because the words “yeah but” are a contraction for a much larger implied phrase. “Yeah, I may or may not have heard what you just said, but now I want to say what I have been rehearsing while you’ve been blabbering.” The reality is that if you want to increase the contest, keep doing the “yeah buts.” On the other hand, I recommend that you change the “yeah buts” to “on the other hand.” When you do that, it is much less of a contest and people are now beginning to listen. So, instead of “yeah but,” do “on the other hand.”

Responding to Appreciation

Do you notice that people often will give you some form of appreciation?  They will say “thanks so much” or “I really appreciate what you did,” or “you were enormously helpful.”  Do you ever notice how people respond when you thank them?  Often, you will say “thanks so much,” and they will say “no problem,” “not a problem,” or “no problemo.”  What is interesting is if I say “Thank you,” and you say “No problem,” then I immediately think, “What, would there have been a problem?”  Your best bet, when I say “thank you,” is to acknowledge it with “it’s a pleasure.”  Instead of saying “no problem,” say “It’s a pleasure.”  Think about how that might work, “I say thanks so much for your help.” You say, “It’s a pleasure.” You will feel good about it and I will feel even better.  

What You Radiate, You Attract

People will treat you how you teach them to treat you.  What that means is that you set the tone… if people are ignoring you, you’re probably helping them to do that.  If people are engaged by you, you’re probably helping them to do that. If you’re a “cold fish”, then you’re probably teaching people to be cold around you.  So think about the tone that you set.  What you radiate, you attract.  People will treat you how you teach them to treat you.  Think about what you want to teach them in the first place.  When you think about that, you’re going to change your behavior to a way in which you want people to respond towards you.  

Change Yourself First

If you are like most people in relationships, you spend an enormous amount of time trying to change somebody else.  As a matter of fact, in most American marriages, you’ll notice that at least 80% of them have at least one person in the marriage that is self-appointed to fix the other person.  And you’ll notice that the person who is presumably broken is completely unaware of it and has zero intention of being fixed.  If you really want to change any kind of relationship, what you do is change yourself first.  When you change your behavior, you have a lot more power over it and you are much more likely to now force people to behave differently.  So, change yourself first and you will see a by far, bigger cascade of change around you by everybody else. 

Multiple Options

If you think about conflict that you’ve been dealing with in one respect or another, you’ll notice that every time you encounter conflict you start to polarize.  What that means is that you’ll interpret anything that creates stress from a position of two options.  You’ll think about right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, win vs. lose, and all vs. nothing. When you start polarizing you are only thinking two options and you start obsessing about the loss, the nothing, the stupid or the failure.  So what you do is make sure that in any situation around which there is conflict, that there are a minimum of three options.  You’ll be struck to see that when you offer three or more options any conflict now seems to be manageable.  So instead of polarizing, make sure there are multiple options… a minimum of three.

Getting your arms around the way life is

Have you ever noticed that sometimes life turns left when it is supposed to turn right? And if you are like most people you have difficulty reconciling the gap between how you think life should be and how life is. One thing that you can do to help yourself grow up is to remember that life is as it is, instead of how it should be. If you remember life is as it is instead of how it should be then what will happen is that you are going to play the cards that are dealt and you are much more likely to do something rather than just complain about it. So remember, life is as it is instead of how it should be. As a matter of fact, the way it is, is often pretty terrific.

The Marriage Functional Union

If you want to keep your marriage healthy it is important to remember this acronym: “To-First.” “To-First” stands for the following: Tolerance, Openness, Flexibility, Investment, Respect, Support and Trust. If you can remember these, you’ll think, “To first get my relationship healthy, I have to remember those items.” Tolerance, Openness, Flexibility, Investment, Respect, Support and Trust. When you think of it in those terms, you are more likely to keep it on your radar at which point you are going to improve your marriage’ health.