It's human nature to want to impress someone else. Unfortunately, that desire is sometimes focused on the material things in life, including the size and location of our home, the type of vehicle we drive, the brand of clothes we wear, and the technology we buy.
The universe has a way of chuckling at this approach.Fashions go out of style, high mortgage costs cripple us, new models of cars are designed, and updated versions of technology are released. It's impossible to stay on the perceived top when we assign value to tangible things.
They are never permanent, and we spend our lives convincing ourselves our stuff is what matters. The truth is we can get caught up in a never-ending cycle of not having enough of the "right" things – mainly because the definition of what is most desirable constantly shifts.
Take a break from materialism and the debt that inevitably comes with it, and consider these simple ways guaranteed to impress.
Be on time
Showing up on time is a small but powerful habit. It's a sign of respect for other people's time. And break the habit of texting ten minutes before a meeting starts to say you're running late, that somehow that excuses your tardiness. It doesn't. Late is late, whatever the excuse.
Even if you disagree with someone's opinion or way of life, there's still an opportunity to be kind. We never know the whole story or why someone else acts a certain way, but we can influence and add value by not responding in an antagonistic manner. It's rarely beneficial and only escalates our differences. A simple "I haven't thought of it that way" shows respect for the other person but doesn't obligate you to change your mind or values.
Look at people
We've gotten away from eye contact – have you noticed? Even before the pandemic, our eyes were often glued to our phones instead of the person in front of us. Now, it's a rare occasion when we say hello to a stranger or look directly at people – perhaps a side impact of social distance practices. The next time you are talking to someone, regardless of whether a client, your child, a server, a stranger in line, your partner, or spouse, really look at them while you're speaking. Ignore your phone and focus only on them for that interaction. It's impressive and memorable. You'll gain a reputation as someone who makes others feel important.
Stop waiting for your turn to speak and start listening in earnest.
When someone speaks, we tend to jump ahead mentally and formulate our answer before they've finished their thought, often interrupting them in the process. Or we top their story with one of our own – "you think that's bad, wait 'til you hear what happened to me!" which discounts their sense of worth and diminishes their experience. Instead, keep your mouth closed and concentrate on them while they talk. Listen for keywords and their message, and once they've finished speaking, empathize and paraphrase what you've heard to confirm your understanding. Avoid jumping into problem-solving mode unless they've specifically asked for your help. Sometimes we want to be heard, not fixed.
There's a big difference between impressing others and inspiring them. Inspiring others happens when you act consistently over time, not when you change cars every year, flash the latest technology or boast about your achievements. Inspiration works both ways when you encourage and help others, even by simple acts of kindness. You'll feel a lightness of spirit and feel a sense of enjoyment that will radiate in your interactions going forward. Be true to yourself, don't get caught up in drama, and watch for opportunities to support people.
Love where you are
Decide if you want to live a life in constant competition to impress or if you're tired of being fueled by consumerism and shallow experiences. Develop your personal values, talents, and uniqueness and share those instead of posting your latest "must-have" purchases, nominating yourself for an award, or neglecting family and friends.
The need to impress others causes half the world's woes. Don't add to them. Be real, not impressive. ~Vernon Howard
The times you impress me the most are the times when you don't try. ~Joni Mitchell