According to Jill Perry-Smith at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, while strong social ties have a neutral effect, weak ties bolster one's individual creativity. It is not entirely clear why this happens, but according to Perry-Smith, empirical evidence suggests that weak ties facilitate "the generation of alternatives and encourage autonomous thinking." Diversify your "friend portfolio" with acquaintances, making sure "weak ties" are part of your life. Few things boost your happiness as reliably as giving. Adults with a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and demographics report experiencing elevated levels of happiness when donating to charity or spending money on others rather than themselves. Anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists theorize that the rewarding feelings one gets from helping others have developed in order to help create prosocial and cooperative behavior among humans living and functioning together. But it's not just adults who have been found to benefit from selfless behavior. While we think of kids as self-centered, a study of toddlers before the age of two found that they exhibited happiness when giving rather than receiving. In the experiment, each toddler received either Goldfish crackers or Teddy Grahams, and were encouraged to either enjoy them or give them to a puppet that they were told "liked treats." The treats given to the puppet were dropped into a bowl and the puppet "ate" them, making satisfied "yum" noises. The kids exhibited greater happiness when giving the treats to the puppets than when enjoying them for themselves. Give a few Teddy Grahams to any treat-loving puppets you may know--and give a friend a gift or join them in a volunteer activity to get that endorphin rush of doing a good deed. While it used to be the case that employers expected workers to keep their personal lives at home, it turns out that having a good friend at work can hugely benefit your productivity. Research shows that those who have good friends at the office are much more engaged and effective at their jobs. This is largely because the stakes are much higher: Letting down a boss is one thing, but disappointing a good friend is much tougher. "What Are the Implications?" "What's Different Because of This?" She Probes the Consequences: Essentially, Jen is asking how this present event might influence your future. This is a question that we forget to ask others in daily life, they forget to ask us, and we forget to ask ourselves. With our friends and family, it's not a frequently posed question, yet it's one of the most critical for synthesizing information and learning from past experiences. How might this moment impact your future moments? If someone tells you honestly that you make jokes at other people's expense when drinking, maybe you should take that as a cue to stop drinking when you go out, instead of taking it personally and getting angry at a friend who is only trying to help you. With this mindset, ANYTHING can be accomplished. Any giant goal can be broken down into smaller goals and each small goal can be turned into, even smaller, goals.

Identify the steps involved, turn them into goals, break each goal down into smaller goals and targets, and then aggressively drive forward with purpose and precision accomplishing each goal, hitting each target, and crossing them off of the list. "Crazy", "huge", and "impossible" are doable goals. Create the map, create the blueprint, create the to-do list, and get started. Change is scary because we don't want to leave the safety of our "bubble". We're too used to being in our comfort zones. We're afraid something "bad" might happen if we're not in our place of familiarity. We see change as this huge and painful uphill battle that seems impossible to win - but it's only in our mind. Change is easy when you start small and change one little thought, feeling, reaction, behavior, and habit at a time - things most don't see as important. Once you get the little things down, move onto bigger and bigger things and by the time you look back, YOU'VE changed. Your life has changed. Your results have changed. You future has changed. It's only difficult because you're making it that way in your mind. If you believe it's easy, it'll be easy. If you believe it's difficult, it'll be a difficult battle the entire way. Change starts with a decision. Deciding something about you or your life needs to change. Deciding you're sick of waking up each morning and not being as happy with your results as you want to be. Deciding you're sick of the thoughts and emotions your actions and habits are generating. Deciding you're sick of your life's path.

But you have to decide to change, you have to mean it, and you have to stick to it. Draw a line in the sand, step over it, and then build a wall so you can't go back. Cut off people dragging you down - contacts, social media "friends", stop answering your phone and texting them back. Get rid of things that make you unproductive - cable or satellite provider, games from your phone, etc. When you make the decision to leave your current self behind and move forward into the unknown, you will see change. It won't happen if you don't change your thinking, behaviors, and habits. You can't get different results by doing the same things you've always done. "If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise." - Robert Fritz When you make the decision to do things differently, doing it only when you feel like it won't work. Doing it only when you're in a good mood won't work. Doing it sometimes won't work. Doing it only when people are looking won't work. Change requires full immersion. It requires becoming "extreme" in the eyes of society. It requires overdoing it because that's the only thing that gives you the power to pull away from the life-sucking force of your bad habits. Without full immersion, you're easily and continually pulled back into your old habits and your old self. Some people are out to get you, but not many and most of the time, even they privately just want to help you out a bit. So, when you receive a comment on your behaviour or an opinion of your judgment, take it all in stride and be willing to adjust so you can fix whatever has been pointed out. It is hard, I know, but it is also extremely helpful for you when trying to be more likable. Accomplishing is easily simplified if you just break down the big goals into smaller goals. As small as you want them to be.

Instead of thinking about how long it will take, break each year into each month, each month into each week, each week into each day, each day into each hour, each hour into each minute, and each minute into each second. Make it manageable. Instead of zooming out and thinking/looking at/focusing on the big picture and letting it scare you, only focus on accomplishing one tiny goal at a time. Break everything down into manageable pieces. If you have someone in your life that causes you to feel upset, angry or simply stressed all the time distance yourself from that person. Being likable is one thing, but allowing someone to harm how you view the world because you're unsure of what it will do to them if you end the friendship is unwise. It only hurts you and will draw away too much of the energy you've put into becoming likable in the first place. My thought process is, "For the next 45 minutes, I'm placing my focus and energy only on hitting this one target and accomplishing this one goal." I only focus on those 45 minutes. I'm not concerned with the next 5 hours, the rest of the day, the rest of the week, the rest of the month, the rest of the year, or the rest of my life. I worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. I only worry about each goal/target as I approach it. BUD/S has a 70% - 80% drop out rate but the Navy SEALs who make it take it one evolution, run, swim, minute, and even step at time. Analyse How it Affects Your Life - If you are not sure of the motivation behind a request or if you're leaning toward it being manipulative, ask yourself how the request directly affects your life. Is it going to cost you money, time, or pain and suffering? Or is it an easy thing you can do between work and home that won't cost you a dime. Sometimes, even if someone is being manipulative and making assumptions, it doesn't put you out at all. The real key is in knowing how to draw the line between these moments and those in number four. Make a Decision about How to Respond - Decide what you'll do. If you know the request won't put you out at all or if you're willing to help this friend because they honestly need your help and recognize what you're doing to offer it, go for it. But, if you feel that you're being taken advantage of and you really don't want to do it, be ready to respond with a "no".

Draw a Line for When You Will Stop Responding - For situations that fall into number two where you feel someone is taking you for granted but it really doesn't put you out that much, learn to draw lines that can be enforced for future requests. For example, if someone gets a ride home from work with you every day and never really asks or offers gas money, the impact on your life is minimal. Anxious Parent Response: Sometimes your interaction partner, without skipping a beat, starts to point out all the things that could go wrong and all the possibilities you have yet to consider. It goes without saying that giving negative feedback, referred to as an active-destructive response, is pretty harmful. The Anxious Parent might be attentive and involved in the conversation but immediately point out the problems. Essentially, the Anxious Parent reframes the event less favorably than you did and minimizes the event's significance. You can often predict who may be likely to do this. Perhaps someone who is affected by the event and doesn't like it will counter with all the downsides. For example, if you get a fabulous job offer that requires you to move far away from your parents, siblings, or dear friends, they might not be immediately supportive. Perhaps it's in a city where your spouse doesn't want to live, so your news instigates worry. Another example is when the person you're telling is competitive with you and feels threatened by your success. His or her response may be aimed at deflating you and undermining your role in the success. And, of course, if the person means well but is a worrier in general, you may hear a response that expresses all the uncertainties that await. Whether intentional or not, an active-destructive response is a balloon popper. The "Aren't We Still Talking About Me?" Response: Sometimes your interaction partners, without skipping a beat, just continue talking about themselves. This is the third and final no-no: your interaction partner ignores the event and doesn't engage in the conversation you want to have. This is referred to as a passive-destructive response and can be accomplished in one of two ways, both of which convey little or no interest in the event or the implications of the event. The "Aren't We Still Talking About Me?" person could immediately change the subject to discuss something completely different like "So, what are you doing this weekend?" Secondly, he or she could instead direct the conversation to something that happened to him or her. If you are proud that you actually made it to the pool to swim laps, she might say, "I've walked 12,000 steps for three days straight." Do you have a friend like this? It can be maddening.