Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Monday, July 2, 2007

Practicing For Lifetime Awesomeness

We all know the old cliche "Practice Makes Perfect." Most of the time though, when we think of "practice" we think of a very specific skill such as practice at a sport or a musical instrument.

One of the things that I think a lot of people overlook is practice at self improvement.

There are so many elements to self improvement that I couldn't possibly go over them all. Plus, everyone has their own personal elements that they want to improve. A common trend is to read loads of information and gather all types of material, but no one ever seems to practice these sort of non-material abilities.

Confused yet? Let me give you a couple of examples.

When I was a Sophomore in college, I thought about trying to get an internship with some kind of engineering company. Unfortunately, I had very little practice in actually trying to get a job. The only job I had ever had up until this point was essentially handed to me.

I started submitting applications and visiting career fairs armed with a sub par resume and no clue of the "verbal cues" that get employers interested. Suffice to say, I was offered only one internship with Pulte Homes, and it wasn't even related to my major.

Fast Forward three years. I am a few months from graduation and, despite having average experience and qualifications related to my engineering degree, I was getting quite a few on-site interviews and job offers!

What was the trick? You guessed it...PRACTICE. I had honestly been to probably 10-12 career fairs by the end of my Senior year. I had been to resume seminars where I practiced emphasizing different aspects of myself on paper and was appropriately critiqued. I wrote a slew of cover letters and improved on each successive revision. Most importantly, I had been through seriously about 80 job or company related interviews. Eighty!

I know what you're thinking. "Common Arun! If you interview eighty times, you're bound to have at least a couple of people interested! Your good looks alone probably got at least one foot in the door!"

Wrong! (but not about my good looks :)

The first barrage interviews generated virtually nothing. But from all the interview practice, I learned exactly how to present my resume and myself in a light that made me individually appealing to each company.

At the same time I was starting to have success, I noticed a lot of my classmates struggling because did not have the same practice that I had had over the last couple of years!

Here's a better example that most people can apply to their lives if they feel this is an area in need of self improvement.

My regular readers know, I'm a big advocate of being social. The Power of Being Social seems to open so many doors.

I probably would've said the same thing about five years ago, however I was far less social back then. Sure I made a lot of friends and was very sociable in my circles, but I rarely talked to random people and was extremely shy about asking a girl out.

Deep down I knew I always wanted to be more social, so I started putting myself out there more and more. By doing so, I not only became "smoother" at social interactions, but I became much more comfortable approaching and talking to most people.

To this day, this is a skill I'm working to further improve. Having great social skills seems to be a talent that can help in virtually any avenue of life. I should probably clarify that a sociable person does not mean someone who just talks nonstop to everyone, and yammers on and on. Being sociable means that people WANT to talk to you because you have lots of interesting things to say and you make them feel good!

As an offshoot to my social improvement, I recently saw a video on youtube advertising a DVD where an instructor shares a bunch of tips and advice with the audience on how to attract and "pick up" women. One of the things he mentioned was that tons of people come up to him and tell him how good a certain conversation opener that he uses with women is, and how everything he says and actually does seems to really work!

Then the instructor asks these people how many of them have actually put his suggestions to work, and 80% of them say things like "Ahhh, well, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to soon!"

These guys will never be successful with women if they don't practice. Will they fall one their face a few times at first? Totally! But after awhile, they'll become comfortable, skilled, and much more successful.

I used to be incredibly shy about flirting and asking women out. In fact, when I think back to the first girl I ever dated, I am surprised she went out with me initially. Our first conversation consisted of me asking these incredibly dull questions. "So, what do you study? Where are you from? What's your family like?"


I quickly learned, after learning women don't find this type of conversation particularly interesting, to change my approach. Also, the more people I talked to and approached, the more confident and less nervous I got.

Confidence in ANYTHING is obtained by practice!

I think everyone should identify at least one of these sort of "life skills" they want to improve and actively PRACTICE it. Honestly look at yourself from an outside prospective and think about productive ways you can practice. Then, when you're out living life, EVERYDAY, do something that can make you better.

For me, it might be introducing myself to the new hire down the hall who I'll probably never need to interact with since he's not in my department, but because it is another step to being socially great.

For someone else, it might be deciding to start living more organized and putting organizers in their notebook.

Maybe for some who eats out a lot with the excuse, "I'm a bad cook," it could be stopping by the grocery store and picking up the ingredients to practice cooking, and thus be healthier.

There should be no reason to accept a deficiency in any aspect of behavior, because we should all practice everyday to make ourselves better!

1 comment:

tacogirl said...

Love your last line - it is so true. This is your second post I have read today and I am really enjoying your style. :)