One of the books that I’m reading is “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to read it, but it was the book selected by the Reddit Betterment Book Club, and I figured that it was a good idea to pick up something that I didn’t choose myself.
I sure am glad that I did. My main objection to reading it was that I was expecting a bunch of tips and techniques to get people to like you. That’s not something that interested me. I want to be fully me
, not some automaton that puts on a fake smile in order to have others do what they want.
I’m still working through it, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it isn’t that at all. The book does contain a bunch of exercises, and the final objective is to become more charismatic, but it has nothing to do with being fake.
As a matter of fact, the exercises have to do with improving oneself, making yourself a more powerful, warm, and present person. It’s all about developing what’s inside.
Developing my power, warmth, and presence? That’s something I’d like to do.
While I’m only about halfway through the book, one of the exercises has already had an impact on my life so I wanted to share it now. It’s the idea of Rewriting Reality.
Everything in our life is a perception. And if we don’t know that truth about a situation, our perception becomes that truth to us.
The example she gives in the book is that of a person driving wildly on a freeway, cutting people off and almost hitting our vehicle. Most of us would react to this with anger, which would decrease our own driving skills and maybe even make the rest of our day worse.
But what if that person had a child in the back seat who was choking and they were trying to get them to the hospital? Would our reaction be a little different?
The point is, we don’t know. And we aren’t going to make stuff up – but in just saying “Maybe there’s a real problem there” our physical, fight or flight reaction to stress will decrease and we will feel better.
On a personal level, I’m using this technique right now while looking for a job. I thought I had a sure thing yesterday, but got the news that it wasn’t going to work out. Yes, I spent some time in depression – poor me, I’ll never get a job and end up penniless on the street. But I know that it’s possible that this job could have been the worst thing that happened to me. I could have ended up hating it, or working there could have blocked another, better opportunity. What if not getting this job was the best thing that could have happened to me?
It may have been, it may not have been. But since I have no idea, and can’t know at this point, why not just admit that I don’t know and keep moving forward?
It isn’t even necessary, as some people say, to choose to believe in the new reality. Personally, I think that’s bordering on delusion. But just knowing that we don’t know can be enough to get out of our negativity and move forward.
I know it has already worked for me. And I hope that it’s helpful for you.