What are some ways to up your social game and get through to anyone? To Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist with over 30 years of experience and consultant to major organizations, he states that the number one rule is to first master the art of controlling yourself. By learning to control your emotions and keep them in check, it’ll keep you from being your worst enemy. If you can’t take care of your emotions first, you won’t be able to take care of others. In his book, Mark dives deep into different practical and actionable social strategies and tactics that you can use in various situations ranging from dealing with your children, coworkers, customers, and boss. Here are some of the points to the book:
1. State exactly how you’re feeling in uneasy situations; this is contrary to what people normally do when they try to calm themselves down. Instead of telling yourself to calm down or that things will work out fine, express how you truly feel. “One absolutely crucial element in moving your brain from panic to logic is to put words to what you’re feeling at each stage. You can do this silently if you’re in public or out loud if you’re alone, but either way it’s a critical part of putting yourself in control fast. Why? Research by Matthew Lieberman at UCLA shows that when people put words to their emotions – ‘afraid.’ ‘angry’- the amygdala, that little biological threat sensor that can throw the brain into animal mode, cools down almost instantly. At the same time, another part of the brain-part of the prefrontal cortex, which is the ‘smart’ area of the brain – goes to work. This part of the brain appears to inhibit emotional responses so a person can think cooly about what’s happening. And that’s just what you want to do. So surprisingly, now is not the time to lie to yourself and say, ‘I’m cool, I’m calm, it’s fine.’ It’s actually the time you say to yourself (at least at first): ‘Oh f#@&’ or ‘I’m scared as hell’.“
2. Become genuinely interested in the other person. For most of the time, people can tell when you’re being fake or disingenuous towards them. To create or foster better relationships, have greater quality interactions with them where you’re present and genuinely interested in what that person has to say. Just like with any success in life, there is no silver bullet or magic pill that will automatically increase the quality of your relationships, it requires an intent and work. “What wise men like Warren Bennis (and no doubt Dale Carnegie) instinctively know, and what ‘smarter than wise’ younger, ambitious people like Jim collins and yours truly are still learning, is that the way to truly win friends and influence the best people is to be more interested in listening to them than you are in impressing them. From a brain science standpoint, here’s why: The more interested you are in another person, the more you narrow the person’s mirror neuron receptor deficit-that biological hunger to have his or her feelings mirrored by the outside world. The more you do that, the more intrigued the person is with you in return, and the more empathy the person feels toward you. So to be interesting, forget about being interesting. Instead, be interested.”
3. The great life coach Jim Rohn has said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Having said that, if there are people in your life who consistently pull you down from where you’d like to be through their negativity, cut them out of your life as quick as you can. I’ve personally cut numerous people out of my life as I didn’t see them going in the same trajectory as I was. At the beginning it was difficult to cope without them but soon after I realized that it was for the better as my goals and theirs didn’t align. “While this book is about connecting with the people who can make your life better, some people don’t want to make your life better. Instead, they want to destroy it. Some of these people want to suck you dry, while others want to con you, thwart you, bully you, or make you the scapegoat for their mistakes. To save yourself, you need to strip these people of the power to hurt you. There are three ways to do this. The first is to confront these people directly. The second is to neutralize them. The third is to walk away and make sure they don’t follow you. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Easier said than done.’ Sometimes you’re so entangled financially or emotionally that it’s tough to do what I call a ‘jerkectomy.’ But painful or not, handling these people (or getting them out of your life entirely) is critical to your success and your sanity.“
4. It’s human nature to need to feel we’re valued by others. Knowing this, treat others in a way that shows that you sincerely value and appreciate their presence. “Here’s what you already know: People need to feel valuable. We need this almost as we need food, air, and water. It’s not good enough for us to know in our own hearts that we’re valuable; we need to see our worth reflected in the eyes of the people around us. Making people feel valuable is different from making them feel felt or feel interesting, because you touch them in an even deeper way. When you make someone feel valuable, you’re telling the person, ‘You have a reason for being here. You have a reason for getting out of bed every morning and doing everything you do. You have a reason for being a part of this family, this company, this world. It makes a difference that you’re here.“
By Ryan Lee
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