Friday, 12 February 2010

Charisma: The Key to Success?

Have you noticed how successful people tend to be different? They are more charismatic. But what is charisma and how do we define it? How do we get it? Successful people aren’t always charismatic though and so what is it, which makes charismatic people so special? The first thing to notice is people like them. They appear to like other people too. They are popular. I remember a story of a guy who worked in the mail room of a large company delivering internal mail around the building and every one liked him. He had charisma. Within two years he was an executive. I think they made a movie based on his story. So being likeable is part of the secret. We tend to like people we have things in common with and so common goals are important too. Common values can be important and decent people respect other people with integrity. Even people who don’t have integrity like people who do have it! A thief would rather buy a car from an honest man than from another thief!

Integrity and values also give us some weight, our opinions matter to other people. So if we have integrity and people like us does that mean we have charisma? Not necessarily! We have to have more. It is a good idea to have a good image generally. Dress nicely, not intimidating formal but have pride in our appearance. We should also have pride in everything else. Have pride in our work and work harmoniously with other people. We should behave with a sense of fairness and justice and defend people who are discriminated against.

So we behave in a way that encourages people to like us, respect us, listen to us and like to be near us; what else? The answer really is everything, everything adds to our “image” even the way we sign our name. So if we change our image and behaviour we can acquire charisma and have everyone like us? Now we’re getting close! A person begins to recognise us and with recognition comes reward. The reward could be a pay rise, promotion or more success in our career or personal life. It’s not just about work, we have to change all day and every day!

You don’t have to fit in though and be like everyone else or try to please everyone else. Charismatic people are different; they have scarceness about them. They tend to think laterally or “outside of the box”. They also tend to be well balanced. How do we achieve balance though? Balance comes from diversity. If you read the same newspaper every day, watch the same new channel, read the same magazines; you become influenced. You may become politically right wing or left wing or have extreme views on some subject or other. By getting information from a variety of sources you become more diverse and more balanced. A balanced mind is very healthy!

We can make use of the Internet and technology to get a very diverse amount of information on a wide variety of subjects. It gives us an almost infinite amount of information and resources for learning. You can research just about anything. Charismatic people tend to be quite funny and those one line jokes are spontaneous; they are pre-conceived. You can look up lots of double entendres, innuendos and other amusing material on the Internet and after a while people say something that just reminds you of something funny. Those odd items about a golfer having someone kiss his balls for luck before a putt; can be recalled in an instant. You can then apply that joke to any sport involving balls! It’s a little risqué but only in the mind of the person hearing or reading it!

We have to present an image and even what we call ourselves can affect our image. Artists, actors and writers often have a professional name carefully chosen to present the right image. If you’re an unemployed refuse collector, you can always refer to yourself as being in the re-cycling business and between jobs! Word craft is a wonderful thing! If you have a professional name these days you need something unique that people can type into a search engine on the Internet and find you in a millisecond. You can of course promote yourself on the Internet with a website, blogs or photographs. The world is your oyster online.

Are there things we should avoid? Yes, lots of them! Bad manners, Scrooge like stinginess, bad habits, swearing, bad table manners, bad hygiene and any imbalance in our lives. Our personal relationships will be a lot more successful if we behave in a charismatic manner. Our business and work relationships will be much better. You do have to change gradually though, an overnight re-invention of yourself doesn’t work! Take it one small step at a time and start with the easy things like cleanliness and appearance. Just start being nice to people, even the ones you don’t particularly like. Don’t be overly nice, don’t smile at everyone; they may think you’re manically happy! Just a gradual change of attitude and a gradual change of behaviour is what are needed.

Even acquiring some new tastes for food and music will help. If you like your curry, but other people don’t like the way it makes your house and your breath smell, acquire a taste for something less pungent! Acquire a taste for Mozart perhaps or Beethoven. If you listen to classical music try Joan Jett and the Blackhearts blasting out “I love Rock and Roll” for a change. I actually like to listen to Mozart when I write.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if life so far has been less than perfect. You can re-invent yourself starting today and it can bring economic and personal success. If you don’t believe you can do that, then no one else will believe in you either. You may have to be prepared to be brave and take a few calculated risks. The prize for trying is charismatic happiness, isn’t it worth giving it a try?

Find your common goals with people, be interested in them and be likable. Be dedicated to change, be diverse and promote harmony in all things. Be charitable and understanding to other people whatever they may be doing or trying to do. Give yourself a set of rules to live by, that includes being fair, believing in justice and having integrity. Integrity breeds confidence and confidence is a key ingredient in that illusive trait called charisma.