Stone Faces Hide The Heart

Some people are so cold and emotionally distant.


They go around with a stone face.  


No emotion seems to seep in or out. 


The face doesn’t betray the heart in any way. 


You say something or do something, and they just sort of stare at you. 


No words, no outward response. 


Just a stone face like a poker face. 


You don’t know what’s behind it. 


But worse yet is a heart of stone–nothing impacts the inside just like the outside. 


Are some people this way because they have been so hurt in the past that they become hardened like a turtle’s shell to protect from the outside world. 


…Ain’t gonna let nothing hurt me again. 


Or are they great at using their poker face to fool, manipulate, and get what they are after. 


Perhaps the worst possibility is that they are simply a real psychopath–someone without conscience or empathy. 


Yes, that is scary because the unthinkable becomes thinkable. 


For most of us, reading verbal and non-verbal cues is critical to understanding other people. 


Hiding those cues can mean that the stone face is going to shatter someone’s world and that won’t be a pretty face at all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Left Handshake Is Right

So I heard about someone misinterpreting something I did for the worse.


Occasionally, when someone tries to shake my hand, instead of shaking with my right hand, I will take their hand in my left. 


I’ll do this for various reasons such as arthritic pain or from dirt (like ink or cleaning ) from some prior work I was doing. 


But always when I extend my hand it is with warmth and friendship. 


However, I learned that one person took this handshake as a serious personal affront. 


They thought that I was “disrespecting” them intentionally.


So I learned that even the most everyday, mundane gestures like a handshake, but done differently, can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. 


Why do we judge others for the bad?


Maybe because we don’t trust, don’t want to ask, don’t want to know, or have had bad experiences in life that jade us. 


But sometimes a handshake is just a handshake whether with the right or left hand. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good Face, Ugly Mask

So many faces, so much phoniness. 


Why can’t we just deal with genuine people?


Not like the dummies in this picture. 


Everyone seems to put on a face. 


One person comes in the room, puts on a big smile and then drops it like you do your pants in the bathroom (excuse the comparison).


But it’s just so wax!


Another person is talking it up, but you can see just under the thin veneer, they are a boiling powder keg ready to go off. 


Faces are for expression–to feel and to share. 


However, they are used to deceive and fool the world around them.  


Is it a face or a mask.


What’s behind it–good or evil?


If you don’t look past the superficial then you are the real dummy.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s What You Can’t Say

Taboo
So I saw this game called Taboo when doing the grocery shopping today. 



(This one is the Jewish edition.)



Having never played this before, I looked it up and learned that it’s a word game, where you have to give clues to the other team for them to guess a word, but you can’t use the “taboo” words on the card. 



So for example, if the word is baseball, then some of the taboo words may be sport, pitcher, hitter, etc. 



So this is not an easy game per se. 



Thinking about the premise of the game though, I started to reflect that this isn’t just a game, but in real life isn’t so much of our interactions with others not about what we can say, but also the “taboo” things that we can’t.



How many times do you want to tell someone off and explain what a jerk they have been acting lately or say your real feelings on a topic that you may feel passionately about, but it’s somehow taboo to get into those things–you don’t want to offend, be “politically incorrect”, or perhaps you just think others may not agree with you or understand your point. 



What do we do? 



We “beat around the bush”–we express our dissatisfaction or disapproval or the opposite, with facial expressions, non-verbal cues, or perhaps we take a deep breath, hold back, or mince our words, so as not to somehow cross a social boundary of some sort. 



We want others to know us, accept us, respect us, and truly like us, but we can’t always really be ourselves fully, because our words or feelings may be seen as taboo. 



In the end, sometimes we’re discreet and “hold our tongue” and occasionally we blurt out what we really think and maybe are proud we did or are sorry for it afterwards–but wouldn’t it be great if we could just be ourselves–without fear or retribution.



It shouldn’t be taboo! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

So It Really Is A Popularity Contest

So It Really Is A Popularity Contest

Good, Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal finally said it…”likability matters more than ever at work.”

Yes, you also need to know your subject matter and be able to perform like a pro, but just that alone is not enough.

If your a card or a jerk, no one wants to know you.

The old Jewish thinking about being a mensch, first and foremost, still holds true.

“Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others, and have mistakes forgiven.”

Employees also track employees likability on social networks and recruit those who can well represent them and make transformative changes.

What contributes to likability:

1. Be Authentic – an ounce of sincerity is worth more than a boatload of of b.s. — people see right through it.

2. Use Positive Cues – eye contact, smiling naturally, and a warm, varying, and enthusiastic tone make you approachable and believable.

3. Show interest in others – selfishness, narcissism, and I, I, I will get you no friends; show genuine interest in the other person–be cognizant of what’s in it for them–give a damn!

4. Listen – 2 ears, 1 mouth; close the mouth and listen to the other person–don’t just hear them, understand them, empathize, feel something!

5. Find common ground – look for shared interests or commonalities; we can all relate to others with whom we can identify.

Short and sweet, treat others as you would want to be treated (Golden Rule) and it doesn’t pay to be a ass! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Posture Matters

Posture Matters

So the military got it right when they teach their cadets to stand tall “at attention.”

“Chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in.”

The Wall Street Journal (21 August 2013) says that “posture can determine who’s a hero, [and] who’s a wimp.”

Research has shown that striking a power pose raises testosterone levels that is associated with feelings of strength, superiority, social dominance, (and even aggression at elevated levels) and lowers cortisol levels and stress.

Power poses or even just practicing these have been linked with better performance, including interviewing and SAT scores.

Body language or non-verbal communication such as standing erect, leaning forward, placing hands firmly on the table, can project power, presence, confidence, and calmness.

It all ties together where saying the right thing is augmented and synergized by looking the right way, and doing the right thing. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Official U.S. Navy Imagery)

Don’t Stampede On Others’ Feelings

Don't Stampede On Others' Feelings

I took this picture of a cow stampede when hiking in the mountains.

The cows first came up to us all friendly and then after staying for a little bit, decided to bolt off across the open field.

Together–it was like a mini stampede.

It reminded me of a situation recently, where I felt bad that I had stampeded (albeit inadvertently) on someone’s feelings.

We received a delivery–actually a new couch (the other one we were replacing was really uncomfortable and it was high time to go).

At one point, I was taken a little aback when the delivery man asked me, admiring it–“How much was it?”

Not wanting to really say specifically, I just said nonchalantly, “Oh, not so much.”

But the man pressed on and said, “No really, how much was it?”

I was a little uncomfortable, but I figured he’s just making conversation, and honestly it wasn’t extravagant so I say in a round figure what it was.

Then I see his face go dark, and I realized what had accidentally happened.

It was perhaps a bit much for this nice man (although I really don’t know his situation, but just his facial expression).

Anyway, I felt terrible and proceeded to say something light and then we chatted for a little bit.

I think it is important to feel for all people–trying to make the best with what G-d provides and deal with everyday tests and challenges.

We are all people–and at any moment–what befalls one, can befall anyone, so we must be grateful for each and every blessing, for however long G-d grants it. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)