Choose your friends very carefully

Our friends have a huge impact on us. Really huge.

Our friends have an impact on whether we smoke, how much money we earn, our lifestyle… even our happiness itself. For example, an obese friend increases your risk of obesity by 171% – that’s far more powerful than even genetics!

Thank the next happy friend that you think of. Each happy friend increases our chances of being happy by 9%. An extra $5,000 in income only increases our chances by 2% so each happy friend we have is worth about $22,500 🙂

And check your profile picture on Facebook. People who smile for their profile picture have 15% more close friends than the rest. Yep, I’d bet that your social networks has a huge impact on your life.

As my mother says, smile and the world smiles with you, frown and you’ll frown alone…

The research shows that the ‘degrees of separation’ effects weaken to nothing after three or four levels (so your friends, their friends and even the friends of your friend’s friend are likely to have an impact on you) – that’s a whole bunch of people you’ve never even met!

So: Who are your closest friends?

(based on my article on

NLP in Love

This afternoon, Wendy and I delivered a short session entitled NLP in Love. We explored a few simple NLP techniques that can enhance the quality of relationships.

We found how “Perceptual Positions” help us understand things from the other person’s perspective – especially when we take the time to really step into their shoes and experience things from their model of the world. It’s a pretty easy process, at least once you learn it. We used the Dilts Meta Mirror exercise.

The subject of “presence” came up a few times, in particular how important it is to spend time totally focused on the other person… in this age of short attention spans, having the undivided attention of another person is perhaps even more precious and valued than ever before.

If you really care about someone, it’s pretty smart to let them know! Not just to feel that way, but to let them know that you feel that way, and to communicate it in a way that they’ll understand. So we explored love strategies, the specific experiences that can help us feel loved. For one person, it involved receiving money (really!!!); for another, it just took a certain look or a touch on the shoulder. We’re each unique, but understanding ourselves can help us better communicate our needs and to better understand those we care about.

More generally, use what works for you…

It’s been more than a dozen years since I discovered NLP and I’m still enjoying learning more…

Of course if you’re interested in learning more about Wendy’s studies into intimate relationships, see Dao of Love

Get rid of the people that bother you

There have been a few people who have really annoyed me.

Sometimes they’re stupid. Sometimes they’re continually asking for me to help them but failing to understand the concept of reciprocity. Sometimes they’re just obliviously obnoxious.

Yet I’m finding that these people disappear when I bother to really listen to them. Sometimes they disappear because they find other people to annoy and so stop bothering me. Sometimes they disappear when I confront the part of them which is annoying and I realize that it wasn’t them at all.

It’s like these people show up to teach us lessons. And, once the lesson is learned, those teachers move on.

Now I don’t know if that’s really true – that there’s some cosmic conspiracy to help us grow and transcend – but I know that I’m happier when I think like that… to honour these annoying, frustrating, pains-in-the-butt as my teachers.

Though maybe like that teacher that taught you a lot but whose class you were glad you had finished.

Romantic Adventures

Women are challenging and confusing to us all. While hoping that the following doesn’t give the ‘game’ away, here are a few things that I’d suggest worthy of consideration…

  1. You want her to feel good. The content of interactions is not irrelevant, yet only offers a context in which you can guide and even lead her imagination.
  2. Tell stories… Stories designed for her to experience specific emotions that serve you.
  3. Care for her.
  4. Trust comes from commonality; respect from difference. You need to add something… Make her life better for you being part of it… Connect and associate with her hopes, dreams and values.
  5. Most important: be picky and patient… There are millions of beautiful women in the world and only one of you!

Hope that helps…

Just the little things

Sometimes you realise that it is the little things that can make a huge difference.

The photo that I uploaded here wasn’t terribly different from any photo that I’ve uploaded previously. Yet this time it has sparked a bunch of comments – whereas my ‘average’ photo on Facebook struggles to even get a caption or tagged correctly. And it wasn’t the first comment that ‘did’ it either, but rather it was the stream of comments that compounded together to create momentum.

Momentum like that is difficult to predict, a combination, I think, of there being so much random variation (aka “chance”) involved and there being so many semi-opaque variables that even if you did know all the things that you would need to know to figure out the answer, it would be too much of a pain for you to figure it out anyway.

It is like a trend – there are just so many things that contribute to a trend’s success that it is immensely difficult to predict. Why did JR Rawlings become a billion-dollar miracle while David Eddings’ or Robert Jordan’s endless volumes of high-quality fantasy remain merely popular?

Rather like intimate relationships at times…

Of course, there are externalities involved at times and conspiracy theorists have been making other books out of this for years (a la The Da Vinci Code), yet the gap between the .00001% that makes a fortune and significantly impacts the lives of millions of people, and being “just another” seems so grotesquely small.

It doesn’t seem to be “skill” (eg Ayn Rand).

It doesn’t seem to be “originality” (eg The Secret).

However, it is a form of genius. Perhaps the most important lesson that I can take from this is to pursue what you personally feel passionate about… firstly because that is what is most likely to yield an outcome that is sufficiently unique and able to adequately connect to the hearts of those that you strive to impact that it gives you a chance of “winning”, but more importantly still, because even if you don’t “win”, you will still be doing what you love.