Likeability Is A Journey Not A Destination
The state of Hawaii (and most other states) will not issue a drivers license to anyone until they’ve attend an approved driving class, driven 50 hours on a temporarily permit with a qualified driver and passed a comprehensive written exam and an on-road driving test. Then, in order to keep your license, you must be able to prove to the police and other drivers that you understand and practice the rules of the road. But, there are absolutely no rules or training required by the state if you want to have and raise children.
Now, I’m not advocating that people should be required by law to get a child-license before being allowed to have children or that we as a community should not require drivers to prove themselves worthy before giving them the keys to a car. What I am suggesting is that there are life skills that are much more important to our success and happiness than driving a car, and we do virtually nothing to learn these skill ourselves, or teach them to our children.
Happiness, Health and Longevity
Study after study shows that likable children and likable adults are happier, healthier and they live longer than their counterparts. These studies do not show the same results for smart people or rich people even though these are the skills we emphasis in school. Again, there is nothing wrong with being smart and rich; both are great. But imagine if you could be smart and rich and happy and healthy and live a longer more productive life at the same time. That sounds like success.
No one is born likable. The gods do not descend from the heavens and bestow the gift of happiness, health and longevity through likeability onto any of us.
We are not taught how to be likable in school even though the skill is easy to teach and immensely valuable. As far as I know, not a single school system in the country has made it a priority to teach this life skill to their students.
Imitation is the mother of learning
We learn how to be likable through imitating others including our parents, friends and teachers. We watch what they’re doing, we see the results of their behavior and we imitate them to the best of our ability. And this is as it should be, but there’s a better way.
The things that make people likable are not always easy to understand. You may like someone based on how they look or how they look at you, or dislike them for something as silly as their skin color, their accent or their political views. The reasons people like or dislike you don’t always make sense and they’re seldom politically correct.
We dislike the people we hurt
For example, we tend to dislike the people we hurt, even if we hurt them on accident. This helps explains why people who are taken to the hospital after a car accident seldom hear from the person who caused the accident. As time goes on, the person who caused the accident will justify why they hit the other person and mentally make it their fault. In the process they will also come to dislike this person for causing them inconvenience and mental anguish even though the person they hurt was not at fault and is enduring much greater pain.
Learning how to be likable is a journey. You can only start from where you are today and more forward from there. Here are the four things you can do to begin your journey immediately.
Start by understanding that being likable is not a selfish act. You will soon discover that the most likable people in the world have a knack for helping people like themselves. They do it in many different ways, and none of them are selfish.
The second thing you’ll have to get comfortable with is that people are going to treat you differently. Once you develop the reputation for being likable, you’ll start to notice that everyone around you will like you back. They will try to hire you, buy from you, work for you, befriend you and refer you to their friends. Your life will be different, better.
Next, it’s important to understand that there are dozens of reasons people will like you, and they are all based on how you make people feel about themselves. Take a good hard look at the people you like and list why you like them. Some of your reasons are going to look ridiculous but it doesn’t matter. If you can identify a reason why you like someone, there is a good chance others are going to like you for the same reason.
It’s just as important, and maybe even more important to identify the characteristics of the people you don’t like. Pay very close attention and avoid coming across in the same way. It could be how they smell, how they look at you, how they treat other people, etc. Identify their unlikable characteristic and eliminate it from your personality.
Likeability is a Game … Know the rules
Likeability is a game you play with people every minute of every day and the winner takes home all the chips. The best part of this game is that everyone you play with will share in your reward. If you’re going to play the game, and you are, you might as well understand the rules and use them to your advantage.