Working part-time at a bustling public library has given me the opportunity to observe a lot of interactions between teens and adults. At the age of 17, I’ve found ways young people can align themselves with future success.
Here are 7 Ways For Young Men To Stand Out:
1. Stand Tall
Your mother or teacher bugs you about this. “Stand up straight,” my mom’s said on many occasions. “Do you want to look like a hunchback?”
Not only does standing tall look good, it radiates self confidence. And a tiny detail you can add to appear even more confident is to uncross your arms and keep your chest out. When your arms are crossed it can make you appear defensive (especially if you’re in an argument), but when your arms are down, it leaves your chest open and vulnerable. It’s a tiny detail, but it can subconsciously go a long way.
2. Eye contact
Maintaining eye contact during a conversation is impressive to everyone. In a world where many teens get distracted by everything but the person’s face, simply making eye contact during a conversation sets you apart from the vast majority of your peers.
Naturally, you don’t want to give an unblinking death stare, so looking away once in a while is perfectly fine…and normal. But, you should always come back to actually looking at them.
If you’re shy like I once was, a good way to start is by looking at their chin or forehead (a trick my mom taught me).
I’ve had coworkers and even friends I made at summer camp come up to me and not only compliment, but thank me for my smile. A bright smile not only reflects happiness, it reflects strength, and can affect everyone. You don’t need to paste a perma-smile on all day every day. That’s fake, but an enthusiastic and genuine smile will make people feel valued.
4. A firm handshake
Of course this isn’t the game “mercy,” where you’re trying to crush the other person’s hand and get them to surrender. But, give a handshake with some strength and firmness to it.
I was at a friend’s party and she had another friend over that I had never met before. Immediately, he came up to me, introduced himself, smiled, made eye contact, and gave me a firm handshake. Within a span of twenty seconds, he gained my respect.
We’ve got places to be, things to do, and people to see. We also live in a time where it’s all about me me me me. Taking the time to listen to what someone has to say can go a very long way. As the Dalai Lama said,
When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But when you listen you may learn something new.
Adults have a lifetime of experience and wisdom waiting to be shared with those of us who are willing to take the time to listen. An eager heart can go a long way to impress them. Which leads me to. . .
6. Be Teachable
As a teenager, I’d like to think I know everything. But, all of us have more to learn.
What seperates the young man from the boy is that the boy thinks he knows everything. I remember a situation at work where a book was missing a sticker, so I went to my boss and told her about the problem.
“Do you know where we keep the lettered stickers?”
I didn’t. I could’ve handed the book off to her to fix, but I said, “No, but I’d love to learn.”
“That’s a great answer!” she said, impressed.
7. Think before speaking
I love to share my opinion. But, I don’t talk as much when I’m around adults. One, because I don’t want to interrupt. Two, because I want to be certain that what I bring to the table is intelligent and well thought out. So, I usually spend more time listening and thinking.
Saying things without thought can look foolish and give a horrible first impression. But, taking the time to say something intelligent and thoughtful is a good way to impress people.
You don’t need to be a Socrates or Voltaire, so don’t feel like everything that comes from your mouth should belong in a philosophy book. But, ensure that looking back on it, you won’t think, “I should NOT have said that.”
It takes time to turn these seven things into habits. If you want to stand out from the crowd in the best way possible, working towards these goals is a good way to start.