Originally Posted by OptimistPrime
All jokes aside, I think I know exactly what James is talking about. Last Saturday I tagged along with my mom into several different stores, and I practiced altering my outlook and attitudes around being in a public space and examining how that changed my experiences therein. The mantra I focused on the most was, "Social interaction is a game I play for fun, not one that I play to win." When I started looking at it that way--i.e. focusing on ways that I could have fun with being out in a public place, as opposed to focusing on how I could avoid "losing"--I found that it subtly shifted many different aspects of myself. I felt more at ease in my own skin, more kind and loving toward the strangers I saw around me, less fearful of them, much more comfortable looking/smiling at people and taking in my surroundings generally, etc.
Basically, I felt confident, happy, and care-free. And I definitely could tell that other people were picking up on it, too. At this produce stand we stopped at, the cashier asked me how things were going and made some chit-chat with me, even though my mom was the one buying stuff and paying for it. I honestly can't remember a cashier -ever- conversing with me when I was just tagging along with someone else who was doing the buying/paying.
So, yeah. Looking at it from another perspective, you might say that I was "being charisma." However, I also totally agree with mindsight that charisma is something that's sweetest when you aren't attached to it. Indeed, reading this thread yesterday, I noticed that I had an unexamined belief that being charismatic was necessary for happiness. This is because I had two other unexamined beliefs: 1) that charisma was necessary for me be fawned over by lots of other people (especially people of the opposite sex), and 2) that I needed to be fawned over by lots of other people to be happy. Obviously, neither of these beliefs are true. One can enjoy happiness in lots of different contexts, and being out there socially and being adored by lots of different people is just one context out of many. If I'm going to choose to "be charisma", I'd rather do it because I feel like it than because I think I have to
I agree that doing it because you have to is just playing into the limitations rather than actually *being* charisma.
And, of course, this idea works for more than just charisma. I use charisma because that's what's in this thread. But those same thoughts actually apply to any role or concept that you want to be. I've also used this same sort of technique while imagining myself to be other types of things...harmony was one...inspiration was another. Anything that really inspires you. (In other words, don't do it because you feel you have to...do it because the idea of being that thing inspires you.)
Also, I'd like to mention that this does get more natural with time. And this is where what I said about reference experiences come in. You get yourself into the state you want FIRST (just understanding that you have that power NOW, without any external feedback, is huge)...and then you watch as your experiences and feedback in your life reinforce it. And as it reinforces it, the more you believe it, the less you have to consciously use the technique (i.e. it becomes automatic to believe you are charismatic because you felt charisma, you imagined yourself as charisma, your physiology and, thus, your experiences changed in line with your feeling, and, finally, other people picked up on that and fed it back to you...which helps you to secure that belief about yourself.)
And, interesting enough, this is EXACTLY what we do as kids when we're "installing" negative beliefs about ourselves. We *feel* whatever crappy feeling, we imagine ourselves being that crappy feeling, our physiology changes, and people start mirroring that crappy feeling back to us, and then we start to believe it and thus unconsciously continue to create it.