Likeability Fuels Success

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In my book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, I highlight one of the most important factors to success – the importance of being liked. According to my Rich Habits Study:

  • 95% of the self-made millionaires in my study indicated that being liked was critical to their success.
  • 91% of the poor in my study felt being liked was not important to success.
  • 94% of the self-made millionaires avoided gossip because they believe gossip caused people to dislike them and, thus, destroyed relationships.
  • 70% of the poor engaged in gossip regularly.
  • 86% of the self-made millionaires avoided associating with people they did not like.

As it turns out, the rich in my study were on to something big. According to a Columbia University study by Melinda Tamkins, success in the workplace is guaranteed not by what or whom you know but by your popularity. In her study, Tamkins found that, “popular workers were seen as trustworthy, motivated, serious, decisive and hardworking and were recommended for fast-track promotion and generous pay increases. Their less-liked colleagues were perceived as arrogant, conniving and manipulative. Pay rises and promotions were ruled out regardless of their academic background or professional qualifications.” (Pam Holloway – The Secret of Likeability).

You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “there’s safety in numbers”. One of the key factors responsible for the incredible success of the human race has been our ability to form social groups. In the early days of human existence, those who were not part of a group became food for predators. Isolation almost certainly spelled death. Being part of a group was so critical to our survival as a species that it became hardwired into our DNA over the past ten million years.

When someone says, “I like you”, either directly or indirectly (good gossip), it changes how you view that person. You can get people to do almost anything you want if they like you and they know you like them. Our lizard brains put people we like and who like us at the front of the line. So, if you like someone, let them know. They will bend over backwards to help you succeed in life.

How do you get people to like you?

  • You Meet or Exceed Their Expectations – In the work environment, meeting or exceeding the expectations of others builds trust and respect and creates likeability.
  • You Recognize Life Events – We all have events in our life that are important to us. Birth or a child or grandchild, marriage, death of a loved one, receiving an award, children graduating from college, promotions, etc. When you acknowledge the life events of others that creates likeability. Phone calls are best, but thank you cards or letters will also do the trick.
  • You Avoid Saying What’s on Your Mind – Saying what’s on your mind can damage relationships. Not every thought needs to come out of your mouth. Individuals who vet their thoughts and are cautious about the words they use put others at ease and this creates likeability.
  • You Do Small Favors For Others – This is known as the Franklin Effect, named after Benjamin Franklin who used this strategy to help him achieve his goals in life. When you perform small favors for others, they immediately pull you into their inner circle. Those who help others without any expectation of a reward create likeability.
  • You Have a Positive Outlook – Individuals are drawn, like bugs to a light, to optimistic, upbeat people. Positivity creates likeability.
  • Others Know You Like Them – When we find out someone likes us, our lizard brains kick in and we unconsciously find ourselves liking them back.
  • You Are Not Confrontational – We are programmed to distance ourselves from confrontational individuals. Confrontational people stir up negative emotions such as fear and anger. Making a habit of getting along with others, even when you disagree with them, makes others comfortable around us and this creates likeability.
  • Common Interests – Having something in common with another person creates instant likeability.
  • You Make Happy Birthday Calls – Birthdays are very important to us. When you acknowledge someone’s birthday with a phone call it stirs deep positive emotions and creates likeability.
  • You Have a Good Sense of Humor – Laughter makes us momentarily happy. Individuals who have a great sense of humor spread happiness wherever they go. We like people who make us happy.
  • You Engage in Only Good Gossip – Gossip, good or bad, spreads like a virus throughout your social networks. Unfortunately, gossip is usually negative and disparaging of others. Good gossip, conversely, is positive and complimentary. When you talk highly about someone behind their back, they eventually find out and that creates instant likeability.
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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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