Here is a quick summary of how you can live at the intersection of wonder, awe, and curiosity. For the full guide on how to be interesting, check out Jessica Hagy’s full book How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps).
1). How to be Interesting: Go Exploring
Explore ideas, places, and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where all the boring people hang out.
Talk to Strangers
No one has seen exactly what you have. No one has been to all the places you’ve visited. No one feels just as you do.
Find out why.
To embarrassment. To ridicule. To risk. To strange events & conditions. To WILD IDEAS. To things that make you cringe. To strange vistas & new sounds. Trust me. It’ll be fun.
Childlike NOT Childish
Look with open eyes. Remember how amazing the world was before you learned to be cynical.
See the neat things.
The messy things.
The funny things.
2). How to be Interesting: Share What You Discover
And be generous when you do. Not everybody went exploring with you.
Let them live vicariously through your adventures.
Do not wait until tomorrow.
Say, do, or make it now. Go where you need to be. Do not wait to be invited places. How your own parties. Do not sit by your phone. Pick it up. Spread the word. Press the buttons. Buy the tickets and enjoy the show.
Offer to Help
What you have is worth a lot. Seek out the people who need it. Know what you can do and tell people you’re willing to do it. They will treasure and remember you. Your time. Your talents. Your compliments. A seat at your table. A cup of sugar. A clean pair of socks.
The world needs whatever it is that you have.
Kind words are quite precious and cost nothing; it’s surprising that they’re so rare. Laud what you enjoy. Praise the people who excel in novel ways. Do it publicly and often.
Everyone needs more encouragement.
Put Your Own Spin On It
You see and you evaluate.
You read and you ponder.
This is human nature: We interpret information as we absorb it.
Well-constructed opinions add to the original artifact.
3). How to be Interesting: Do something. Anything
Dance. Talk. Build. Network. Play. Help. Create.
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it. Sitting around and complaining is not an acceptable form of “something,” in case you’re wondering.
You’ll need help. You’ll need advice.
You’ll need allies. SO you have to tell someone how you feel and what you’re up to. Let people in on what you’re doing.
They will champion and support you more than you ever imagined, and mock you less than you fear.
Join a club. Take a class. Volunteer.
Have a party. Take a meeting.
What we do shapes who we are.
Be someone who’s been there, done that, and wants to do new things tomorrow.
Own Your Territory
Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it. Embrace it.
Master it as well as you can.
This is how you combine a sense of freedom with a feeling of safety.
4). How to be Interesting: Embrace Your Weirdness
No one is normal. Everyone has quirks and insights unique to themselves. Don’t hide these things- they are what make you interesting.
Do NOT Fake It
Costumes. Poses. False smiles and forced conformity. It all gets in the way of what’s truly interesting. You are innately unique. There’s no need to hide behind an ill-fitting mask.
Question Your Motives
Interesting people are motivated by things bigger than the status quo. Are you doing what someone else expects you do, or what you feel, deep down, that you must do?
The only way to exceed expectations is to ignore them – and do what needs doing instead.
Who’s more interesting: A famous scientist, or the famous scientist who plays the cello and whittles marionettes in a lighthouse at the edge of the world where he sometimes writes poetry by the light of passing ships?
Exactly. Follow your weird impulses and do all sorts of things. Getting sidetracked can lead you to exactly where you belong.
5). How to be Interesting: Have a cause
If you don’t give a damn about anything, no one will give a damn about you.
Recall What Makes You Cry
A place. A person.
A creature. A song.
Now devote a little more of yourself to that memory.
Spectators do not make news.
Observers do not steer history. Be vulnerable.
Be serious. Be immersed.
If you want to matter, you have to climb all the way into the mess that is before you.
Praise the marvelous. Shut down the nasty.
Articulate what others are afraid to say out loud. Further the discourse.
Anything is Better than Nothing
Actions matter. Even small ones.
6). How to be Interesting: Minimize the Swagger
Egos get in the way of ideas. If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.
Imagine Everything You Do NOT Know
Everything you’ll ever know is only a fraction of a microscopic dribble in the great, churning universe of information.
Let this fact be comforting in its enormity.
To what is said and what is left out.
To the message between the words.
To the tone of voice.
To the sarcasm and to the reverence.
Communication is far more than just words.
Remain a Student
Sign up to learn things. Philosophy, archery, accounting, painting, diving, fire eating – anything you can admit you do not understand. You never know when you’ll need a random skill.
7). How to be Interesting: Give it a shot
Try it out. Play around with a new idea. Do something strange. If you never leave your comfort zone, you won’t grow.
Afraid to fail?
Afraid to fail and that other people might find out about it? So what if you fail?
Really: So what if you fail?
Would that really be so bad?
Read randomly. Overhear on purpose. Watch movies and clouds and people.
The more you absorb, the more you can exude.
Overstep Your Bounds
Just because you’ve never been somewhere doesn’t mean you don’t belong. Just because it’s not in your job description doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Only you can really decide what league you really belong in.
Make Real Plans
I guess I’ll start later?
No, make your plans kinetic, not potential.
Procrastination leads to regret.
Tackle the Hard Stuff
Know that obstacles scare away most of the competition. And that the hardest things are the things that are most satisfying to be done with.
8). How to be Interesting: Hop off the Bandwaggon
If everyone else is doing it, you’re already late to the party. Do your own thing, and others will hop onto the spiffy wagon you built yourself.
Do a Very ODD Job
Ever sit in traffic and wonder what eveyone else sitting in traffic does for a living? For a hobby? For fun? There are as many answers as there are people. They’re all possibilities.
Just because it’s everywhere doesn;t mean it’s good or worth participating in.
Follow Your Curiosity
If you find yourself drowning in the vat of popular but boring sludge, your curiosity will be your lifeline.
Square footage? Horsepower? Millions in the bank? People in your fan club? Days you wake up happy? Look at what you’re measuring and consider alternative units.
Leave the Safety of Home
You grew up with certain people who did certain things in certain places. Leave home to see how unique and universal your childhood was.
Investigate the Obscure
Revive forgotten stories.
Read old books. Dust-off forgotten trends.
Listen to rare music. You might find your favorite thing hiding in the woodwork.
9). How to be Interesting: Grow a pair
Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.
You don’t want to impose.
You may shy away from making waves.
You may feel you couldn’t dare ask for what you need. You need to get over that.
Giving up is boring. Getting frustrated and plowing ahead despite it all requires the power that only a truly interesting person possesses.
Get Rejected (a lot)
When you put yourself out there, a lot of people will reject, dismiss, or ignore you. But a few will embrace and champion you. While the nos may sting, only the yeses matter.
Make a Mess
Rearrange furniture, elements, ideas, and opportunities. Then put the pieces back into a different and better order. It’s time to put the creativity back into creative destruction.
If things are unsatisfactory:
1). Document them.
2). Change them.
Few people ever bother with that second bit.
10). How to be Interesting: Ignore the scolds
Boring is safe, and you will be told to behave yourself. The scolds could have, would have, should have. But they didn’t. And they resent you for your adventures.
To see the full list of Jessica Hagy’s amazing collection of charts and graphs on how to be interesting, check out her book How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps).