Standard Advice by Simon Sarris
The original article used to be at https://simonsarris.com/be-positive/. I searched through Wayback machine and just reposting here.
Listen for 90% of a conversation and people will find you interesting.
Learn to ask engaging questions and let others do the answering. Don’t just ask people about facts, ask for their opinions too. Don’t be an interrogator. Be curious. Where were you before you were here?
Never criticize, condemn, or complain. Praise people a lot. Learn to spot good looks and compliment them.
Clean yourself up. Don’t skip showers. Care about how your hands and your hair look. Care about clothes. Care about as much as possible. Care about sports, care about elections, care about cars, care about how the sidewalk looks. Care about Rwanda and the Greek debt crisis. Care about backgammon and the nature of games. Never, ever expect anyone else to care.
Find out what they do care about and ask them about it. Try to care about that.
Don’t make every joke you could possibly make. A careful or clever observation will always be a better utterance than that’s what she said. Don’t use sarcasm. Strive for sincerity.
Don’t say every sentence that comes to your mind. Think signal to noise ratio. Say just enough to be interesting.
Don’t tell stories that aggrandize yourself. Never tell anyone how good you are at anything. I don’t care if you’re the best billiards player in the world. You can say I like billiards and that’s it. I’m serious. Never tell anyone how good you are. If you’re good, they’ll tell you. You can always let them see you in action, but never show off. Never expect a crowd. Be modest.
The person who says they like bowling and then bowls six strikes is more impressive than a person who claims to be amazing at bowling and then bowls ten strikes. Expectations mean a lot.
Understand more about where you live. Take your bike all over town. Ride to the end of the line. Walk around on foot. Look up reviews on every single restaurant even if you never go to them. Read the menus. Dine alone. Offer to go to breakfast together. Visit the city. Visit the country. Visit the mountains.
Spend a lot of time at the ocean-side. Run around on the beach like an idiot. Run around in the waves. Swim until you’ve dreamed too much about whats below the ocean. Build a trench, be a soldier. Build castles, be a king. Watch how easily the castle fades away if you don’t protect it. Think of your investments, metaphorical or not. Remember Borges:
Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.
Many things wash away naturally, you should allow the same. Forgive often.
Realize that you gain nothing from being shy. That doesn’t mean you have to start making speeches in front of crowds. It means you have to be as open and honest as you plainly can be. There’s nothing wrong with emotions and there’s nothing wrong with telling people how you feel about something. No one can ever contest how you feel. Being an open book may sound like a vulnerable position to be in, but it is the exact opposite.
Spend money on experiences and not things. Read more books. Have what shes having. Make things, always make things, physical things, even if its just paper cranes and home-cooked meals. Create and share. Understand that most people won’t give a damn. That’s okay. Always create. Enjoy the beauty of it.
Move to a not-suburb. Join meetup.com or grubwithus.com or whatever is in the paper. Knitting clubs aren’t about knitting, they are about socializing. Take pottery/archery/tennis/anything classes. Join a club soccer team. Visit the same cafe at least once a week. Jog through the park. Smile at everyone. Literally put yourself out there. Be discover-able. Be friendly.
In short, remember: Smile, eyes, build, butt. Be happy. Be sincere. Take care of yourself. Dress well.