Without doubt, the ability to communicate well with others is one of the most important skills that we can poses, and developing these skills can bring great rewards, both for personal and professional reasons.
We revere great orators and teachers. We gravitate towards people who are good conversationalists, and communication skills are often top of the list of what employers look for most in a new employee.
With this in mind, I’ve been looking at some of the ways we can try to improve this.
We are often told, almost ad nauseam, that in order to be successful and happy in life we need to be courageous! We need to constantly be moving forwards! We need to ‘step out of our comfort-zone!’ But do we? Really? What are some of the benefits of this. Is it really worth pushing through the discomfort that comes with it?
Ok, so confession time. I struggle a bit with change. It’s caused me anxiety in the past, and I don’t really like feeling like I’m not in control, so I thought I would have a look at this idea and see if it’s really as beneficial as many say it is.
So the initial question is…
What really is our ‘Comfort Zone’ anyway?
This was difficult because I can’t find much in the way of good, solid research regarding the concept and how it’s defined. Many of the books and articles that I’ve found seem to be anecdotal/opinion.
They say that first impressions count for a lot and this is undoubtedly true. The impression you give of yourself, good or bad, in an initial interaction can persist…sometimes for a life time. One way you can make a great first impression is with a good handshake…but what elements make ‘a good handshake’? And why do we shake hands anyway?
Ask yourself: how happy are you right now…let’s say on a scale of one to ten?
This might seem an easy enough question to answer at a basic level, but maybe, if I ask you to look deeper, you’ll begin to realise how complicated answering this can become.
You might look to how happy you feel about work or home life. You might look beyond the personal to local or even global issues. You might think about the past, present or how you feel about the future….Happiness is multifaceted. So…
Ask yourself the following question – can a man still be called a gentleman without money? Without status? How about without good manners?
I’ve asked this question often, and always seem to get the same response – if you want to be treated like a gentleman, good manners are essential – hence why I felt it important to write a post about this.
Up until relatively recently, I was the sort of man who just had a few pairs of shoes that I had bought without much thought; based on their general look, comfort and, mainly, the price. Whilst loving nice clothes and spending a bit on suits, I usually assigned myself a relatively minimal budget for footwear.
Recently, however, I acquired a copy of ‘Gentleman‘* by Bernhard Roetzel. A mighty tome that has been translated into many different languages. Roetzel is a real authority on how to dress like a gentleman.
Prior to growing a beard for charity and never going back, shaving had become almost a hobby for me. In my youth I had used the common, three-blade razors without much thought. But then I discovered the world of traditional shaving. I became obsessed. Looking at all of the equipment, comparing razor blades…it felt so much more manly and involved than just grabbing whatever was on the shelves in the local supermarket. I would still recommend this method of shaving to you if you were to ask me, and I still use it now when maintaining the lines of my beard. In this post, I’m going to tell you why.
Okay…just to be clear, I’m not talking about the cut-throat, straight razor shaving. That’s something I leave to the barber and those far braver than I. I’m talking about something called a ‘safety razor‘ (see below) which is a T shaped, usually metal handle, that encases a ‘double-edge (or ‘DE’) blade’ . Part of the blade is exposed and goes directly against the skin.
I recently got to sit and have a coffee and a chat with a friend of mine, which is always good. What was particularly good is that, on this occasion, this friend was Jason Fligg, a registered Sports and Exercise Nutritionist, college lecturer who teaches up to degree level, and someone who also runs his own company: Jason Fligg Sports and Exercise Performance, based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK. Jason works with a range of people, from individuals who want to be healthier generally, up to professional athletes, and is also a UK Anti-Doping Advisor. I seized the opportunity, and he had some great things to say; this is some of what we discussed:
A gentleman needs self-confidence. Understanding what makes someone a gentleman, such as knowing what constitutes good manners, knowing a few things about etiquette…all fades into insignificance if you can’t carry it off with a positive flair. If we want to be successful in our endeavors, and in life in general, self-confidence is an important factor. But…
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is a general term that encompasses a number of different elements. By understanding these elements we can, hopefully, find ways to improve it.
One thing to be aware of is that it’s not quite the same thing as self-esteem, which is more to do with how we feel about ourselves at a general level; how much positive regard and respect we have for ourselves.
If there’s one piece of clothing that can alter a man’s appearence and make him look like a gentleman, it has to be the waistcoat. I love them…for their look and for their versatility
Whether it’s part of a three-piece suit or with a pair of jeans and shirt, the waistcoat just seems to give off an air of sophistication. But where did it come from? And…what’s with the tradition of leaving the bottom button undone? Read more