What to Try: Figure out what makes you different—and use it.
Sixty-one percent of us consider ourselves less fascinating than the average person, according to a study developed by marketing researcher Sally Hogshead, who compiled data on 250,000 people for her new book How the World Sees You. To put it bluntly, we just don't think we're all that interesting. And so, Hogshead says, other people don't, either. To change this, she writes, each of us must identify specifically how we add the most value to the world, whether that's our ability to nurture, inspire trust, lead with confidence, explain with passion, create, spot detail, listen or communicate. You don't have to have all these qualities, but if you want to connect more deeply with others, you do have to identify the ones that you have and use them to their greatest strength. Though the book takes you through a complex (and illuminating) multi-part test that identifies what you can bring out as your most natural and successful qualities and how—the first step begins with a few effective fill-in-the-adjective exercises:
"People can always count on me to be..."
"I can solve certain problems better than anyone else because I am..."
Why does this exercise work? Seeing yourself can be difficult; there's so much you in the way, after all. By imagining how others might describe you (ridiculously kind) and identifying your unique talents (an ability to repair home electronics with tin foil and dental floss) you can start to figure out what makes you different from others, then use that power to stand out—and shine.