Is congeniality the key to a longer life? Over the weekend I was getting notes together for my dissertation on Longevity. I have thought about putting together a class as a webinar sometime down the road.
I have been independently studying longevity secrets for the past several years. I closely follow Blue Zones creator Dan Buettner, as well as Dr. Andrew Weil for any information they may come across which may be helpful in my journey to a longer, healthier and more abundant life.
One article I came across was a piece Dan Buettner wrote on a Loma Linda resident he interviewed. Her name was Madge, she was 101 years young, still driving, still volunteering and living life to the fullest.
At the end of the article, Buettner noted that after interviewing many centenarians, one of the main factors he found was that they all were really nice people. They shared the trait of congeniality. In other words, they loved people, got along well with others and had a good attitude.
If you are not a congenial person by nature, there are things you can do to bring out that trait in yourself. Here are a few recommended by Phil McKinney:
1. Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation – the first requisite – for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”
2. Build up the other person’s sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him.
3. Respect the other man’s personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow’s right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces.
4. Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves – contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it.
5. Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle – to your disadvantage – for years.
6. Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn’t want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal – a standard, an ideal – and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him.
7. Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can’t help but get along better with him.
8. Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.”
9. Take care with the little details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality.
10. Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire to like, respect, and be helpful to others. Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.
11. Keep it up. That’s all—just keep it up!
How are you going to show your congeniality toward others today?