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Common Sense, Social Skills, Manners, Reliability and Persistence: The real secrets to success

| July 23, 2020

Please Read This First: Culture & Opinion

A while back I read a useful post and map about "the 9 nations of the United States." For better or worse, over the course of my adult life I have lived in several of those "nations." There have always been differences and there still are. So if a reader lives in a different part of the country than I do, maybe one of the many opinions expressed here simply won't be effective where you live.

Similarly, there are any number of other kinds of groups that I don't belong to in which - "intragroup" - one or more of these opinions also might simply be ineffective.

Universality: On the other hand, if you happen to be in one of the audiences for this post, consider reflecting on my thoughts before you outright reject. Particularly if you happen to be seeking something on an "intergroup" basis, not intragroup, maybe some of these ideas will be useful.

Primary Audiences for this post

  1. Job-seeker - any age
  2. Business-seeker - e.g. contractor - business owner - sole proprietor - gig worker etc.
  3. Dating - seeking romantic partner - any age
  4. Lonely - seeking friendship - social connections
  5. Parent - grandparent - BFF - sibling of either of the above (your kind advice might be given consideration.)

1. Send a thank you text when you get home from a nice party / date / function / event.
(Or .... depending .... call / email / etc. to say thank you when you get up in the morning.) (Know your audience.)

Depending on how long it will take you to get home, maybe send it while you are on your way. If you don't use Siri to text and you are driving, maybe even before you leave.  Or, if you know your audience, maybe first thing in the morning.

2. Write handwritten thank you notes, always and often.

When in doubt, handwrite! Ideally on your own nice card stock and envelope. But don't delay if you don't have that. Write!

3. Edit your emails/texts before sending. 

Guilty as charged. Also spell check and grammar check. Scroll all the way to the bottom. Edit if too long!

4. Know how to make small talk.

Yes this is a skill and can be learned. See link below.

5. Don’t be a conversational narcissist.

Also see link below. If you might be wondering why your calendar / virtual calendar / zoom calendar is looking a little thin, click link below.

6. Don’t look at your phone during a conversation.

I am shocked - shocked - that this needs to be said. But it does. ADVANCED EXTRA CREDIT: If you are expecting something that is both urgent and life changing, or you are "on duty" in some way, consider telling your conversational partner in advance. Then respond only to this category.

7. Dress well for a job interview. 

This links to several other posts. There are different kinds of jobs with different kinds of groups so one size does not fit all!

8. Come to a job interview prepared to ask questions of the interviewer.

See link

9. Take your romantic "prospect" on a real date.

"Planned ... "Paired Off" ... Paid For

10. Offer a sincere apology when you mess up.

I would have thought this one was obvious, but included anyway

11. Follow through. 

Accept the "Monkey on your Back" and respond proactively and with the appropriate frequency.

12Be reliable.

"No quality today can more readily set you apart from your peers than reliability. Doing the follow-through just mentioned. Showing up on time (and just plain showing up). Meeting deadlines. Managing expectations and not overpromising. Promptly responding to emails. Keeping your word."

Final Thoughts

"While it often feels there’s a dearth of opportunity out there, the real scarcity in this world isn’t in openings, but in common sense, social skills, manners, reliability, and persistence.  Nail these basics, access to which is inexhaustibly abundant, and you’re no longer competing with the masses, you’re competing with the very small segment of humanity that understands and is willing to execute on the rare, but stupidly simple fundamentals."

"In a world where the mere acts of writing real thank you notes; asking someone questions rather than talking exclusively about oneself; and, apparently, reading someone’s book before interviewing them about it; have the ability to fairly shock and delight, the crowd you imagined would clog the paths of your pursuits turns out to be far thinner than you thought."

Source: Brett & Kate McCay

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