The devil is in the details and the details accumulate to big problems if they're missed. Getting out of bed on time is a good decision, but you also have to decide to turn around and make your bed, pick up your clothes, etc. Making your bed is a good decision, but you also have to decide to do it the right way and not just throw it together. Brushing your teeth is a good decision, but you also have to decide to do it right. You have to make the decision to floss as well. Skipping flossing for years can lead to gum disease, gingivitis, and horrible breath. Each day, the decision to skip flossing seems very small and insignificant, but it adds up to big health problems in the future. Having your act together means making the right decision every single time you're presented with the opportunity. Even though it's a pain in the ass, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. We are deeply habitual and we rarely make our own choices. We like to think we do but, on average, 95% of what we do is completely automatic, unconscious, and requires NO THOUGHT and the other 5% is consciously selected. Through our daily conscious thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits, we prime and program this automatic part of our brain. We have a seat at the table and we get a vote. You can start positively influencing this 95% of automatic behavior by using the 5% you do have control over to consciously make good decisions and have good habits. Over time, the 5% of these conscious and controlled decisions seep into the unconscious part of your mind and influence, prime, and program your automatic behavior. You've chosen to be a product of your everyday thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and habits. You've chosen to think, feel, and do the things that are making up your current position in life. Every day, no matter what you're doing, you're commanding your brain to automate your thinking, feelings, and actions. 24/7, you are commanding your brain to make your decisions automatic and unconscious. The more you think, feel, or do something, the more you command your brain to "become" it - whatever "it" may be.

Start choosing to program your mind with better thoughts, feelings, behavior, and habits. Develop more awareness about the process. "Crazy", "huge", and "impossible" are words used by those who don't accomplish anything. Those who accomplish a lot, and in a short period of time, see anything and everything as doable, reachable, and possible. A good way to handle criticism is to start categorizing it and develop common responses that will work in any situation. For example, if someone told you that you were a loud chewer, instead of saying "who cares", you could say, "I didn't realize, thanks for the heads up." It's not rude, and it's not self-degrading. It just recognizes the criticism, shows that you're taking it into consideration and that you will work toward fixing the problem. Of course, with all that said, I don't want you to start taking every criticism you hear and try to fix what's "wrong" with you. There's nothing wrong with you and if someone tries to say otherwise, they're not helping. The goal of this exercise is not to hurt your feelings, but to learn to see yourself from someone else's perspective. It's not easy to do, but it can have a profound effect on your outlook of the world. So, to make sure you get the most out of the criticism you receive, we need to set up a filtration system that pulls out the bad stuff and sets it aside. Some people are just jerks - they will say things that are not constructive and that are aimed at hurting you more than at helping you. If you can recognize those moments and make changes that take advantage of the good without considering the bad, you'll be far better off. One of the biggest risks in "trying" to be likable is that others will try to take advantage of your friendliness. There are always going to be people out there who willingly partake of your generosity and as a result, overstay their welcome in your life. The same as you must learn to be friendly under any circumstances, you should learn how to identify manipulative behaviour and say "No" when it is necessary. Saying no while remaining friendly is easier said than done though. It requires an internal test that tells you when something goes too far and you need to "change" the interaction. Need some help?

Determine the Motivation behind Someone's Statement - First up, determine if someone is honestly trying to take advantage of you or if they are simply asking for help. There are a few factors here: Do they ask for help often? Do they offer anything in return? Do they ask or assume? How do they respond to a no? Do you actually want to help them? In my hand will gladly provide you with some kind of recompense. You can say no, of course, but they will understand that they are extracting value from you and that it requires some form of reciprocation. Now, flip that on its head and look at what a manipulative friend will do. They will assume you're going to help them. They think of their friends as tools just as they do their possessions. If you work with a psychologist or other mental health practitioner, he or she likely capitalizes with you regularly. Your therapist celebrates your behavioral successes and, if they're anything like me, literally gives you a high five when you do something that makes you feel proud. You can absolutely have these conversations with other members of your support system, too. Imagine telling someone in your life about: When you have a conversation that genuinely makes you light up inside, you may be conjuring an active-constructive response. This is a response that is enthusiastically supportive. In honor of my dear friend and colleague who so naturally exhibits "full-body enthusiasm" when I tell her about something good in my life, I'll refer to our capitalization buddy as Jen. With her active-constructive responses, what she communicates nonverbally is just as important as what she says. Jen smiles widely, nods, makes consistent eye contact, and keeps an open posture (with, of course, occasional high fives). What does she say that expresses such excitement and enthusiasm about the positive events people share with her?

There are three main topics that she covers. "Tell Me More!" She Asks Questions About the Event: Jen will ask you to elaborate, and you get to re-experience what happened by fleshing out the details. She asks questions like: "What exactly did you do? Catch me up!" "What was the best part?" "Snapshot moment?" "What were you thinking?" "How were you feeling?" "What made you want to do that?" Remember that the good thing happened. Think about your future self, who may not always be so great at recalling all the positive stuff. It's much easier to remember the tasks you didn't finish and the work you produced that wasn't "good enough." If you have this type of conversation, later you are more likely to remember that your positive event happened in the first place. While you may not run an Office somewhere, the idea is the same. You cannot go around avoiding the tough topics. Think about what your conversations sound like. Consider the stories you tell after a long day of work or school. Which daily experiences are shaping your narrative: Is it a narrative centered on growth, courage, and change? Or failure, not being good enough, and pessimism? As you've been reading about the benefits of capitalization, you may be thinking to yourself, "But my mom, dad, sister, coworker, romantic partner, or roommate is not like Jen! This isn't going to work for me." It's true that not everyone will give you full-body enthusiasm. And sometimes a person can respond supportively one day but not the next. Because of this reality, I'll discuss the full range of responses you might get when you try to talk about something good that happened to you. When you understand and anticipate how your interaction partner is likely to react, you can better identify who will be most responsive to you and your needs. Eeyore Response: Sometimes your interaction partner just can't muster the necessary enthusiasm, despite genuinely standing behind you. Quiet, understated support, referred to as a passive-constructive response, has been shown time and again to be, well, not good enough. A passive-constructive response is one in which you might perceive that Eeyore has a positive attitude toward the event, but he says very little or is silent about it.

This might happen in a pleasant, short, or quiet exchange. A passive-constructive response does not include questions about the event, comments on the personal meaningfulness of the event, or requests for elaboration on the event's implications. It's the equivalent of "That's great" with little to no inflection, or a tepid "That's nice, dear." You are likely to hear him say something objectively supportive but that fails to engage you or get you to elaborate further. Even though Eeyore means it genuinely, the conversation is often closed at that point. Nonverbally, he could slouch, yawn, fidget, or avoid eye contact while you're talking about it. In the age of constantly present mobile devices, you might see Eeyore continue to write his e-mail as you tell him your news. If someone upsets you, let them know. If someone shouldn't be driving because they've had too many drinks, take their keys away. If they look goofy in a certain outfit, say something - it's what friends do. Just go back to chapter two and make sure you do it in a friendly way. Honesty and bluntness are not the same thing, and the line between them can cause rifts in your likability, so be wary of how what you say affects your friends. Criticism is tricky. It's painful to hear, but it can also be incredibly valuable when you work toward improving yourself. "What Does That Mean to You?" She Encourages You to Elaborate on the Meaning of the Event: Jen is asking you to reflect on how a positive event has affected your sense of self. Such reflection can be quite powerful. Take the time to ask people this question, and you'll be surprised by what they say. And you'll be even more surprised to hear what you come up with when someone poses it to you. What does it feel like to reflect on what your goal-consistent behavior means for your life? It can feel great. Beyond that, weak ties may be good for your creativity.