Standard advice

Be positive.

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 what’s 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 she’s 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.

Be positive.

In short, remember: Smile, eyes, build, butt. Be happy. Be sincere. Take care of yourself. Dress well.

  • Joel Howard

    Fantastic.

  • Jussi Kauhanen

    Words to live by.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maurice.mumm.7 Stefano Bertacchi

    Feels like I was just visited by the ghost of Christmas yet to come :-) Wise words.

  • spudgun

    “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.” – seriously? do you actually have a job? family? there is only so much time in the day … you cannot possibly care about every single thing you encounter every single day.

    • Polina

      Bro, he wrote “Care about as much as possible” not “Care about every single thing you encounter every single day” and proceeded to list a few examples. Simmer down.

    • anon

      I think he means more along the lines of trying to become interested in what people are talking to you about.

  • Diane Sheehan

    I am happy we picked the same cafe to visit often. I am spot on with aiming to do most of this, except the sarcasm. Maybe I will work on that. But I do agree to let others toot your horn, and it is best to be underestimated and over deliver. Nice blog Simon!

    • James Vayo

      Yes… The Sarcasm can be a bit miffing at times.

    • HipWaldorf

      “Sarcasm is veiled anger.” was repeated every time anyone in my college art program uttered a sarcastic comment. We heard this for 4 years in looonngg studio classes with human models (yes those). Sarcasm is really a “fresh” way to mimic of diss someone. Not behavior of a mindful soul, but so fun to do.