15 Surefire Ways to Impress Others


“The need to impress others causes half the world’s woes.” - Vernon Howard

More often than we would care to admit, the desire to impress others motivates our lives. This desire to impress others impacts the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the technology we embrace, and the careers we choose.

Unfortunately, it is often elusive. Cars rust. Fashion changes. Technology advances. And the purchases that impressed your neighbor yesterday make no impression today. As a result, we live our lives with out-of-style clothes, jobs that we hate, skyrocketing personal debt, and jealousy towards our neighbor who seems to have it all… until that unquenchable desire to impress begs us to begin the cycle again.

The hard truth is we often look to impress others in all the wrong places.

Take a moment and identify the people in your life that truly impress you. What is it about their life that inspires you? Make a list. Very rarely (if ever) is it the car that they drive or the size of their home. Most often, the people that truly inspire us possess the invisible, intangible qualities that we all desire.

To that end, consider this list of 15 Intangible, Surefire Ways to Impress Others:

  1. Be Generous. Regularly give your time, energy, and money to others without expecting anything in return. The giving of your life to another is one of the most impressive things you can ever do.
  2. Laugh Often. Be that person that routinely laughs at other’s jokes and stories. It concretely communicates that you enjoy life and their company. They’ll be impressed and you’ll be a more joyful person.
  3. Be Optimistic. Always, always, always focus on the good aspects of people and situations. Sometimes you have to look harder than others, but you’ll always be glad you did.
  4. Love Your Kids. And by love your kids, I mean genuinely like them too. Enjoy being with them, spending time with them, and investing in their lives. This love towards children will be evident in your life even when they aren’t around.
  5. Be Faithful to Your Spouse. Marital fidelity is going out of style too quickly these days. Stay faithful to the one you chose. Trust me, your friends and colleagues will be impressed… not to mention your partner.
  6. Develop Your Strengths. I am impressed by good singers, authors, writers, architects, speakers, CEO’s, computer programmers, mothers, and athletes (just to name a few). There is only one thing they all have in common: They discovered their strengths and developed them with great discipline. Do the same with your unique giftedness and temperament. And regardless of the profession you choose, you will impress.
  7. Travel. See the world. You will change and be better because of it.
  8. Appreciate Different Opinions. While there is nothing wrong with being dogmatic in your beliefs, a healthy appreciation of how others came to theirs is definitely an impressive quality.
  9. Love Your Life. Don’t fall into the trap of living life like everyone else. Avoid television and consumerism. Embrace your passions and find enjoyment in your life. The people around you will be impressed… and jealous.
  10. Encourage More. Living your life in competition with those around you will never impress. After all, everyone else is already doing that. Change the world by being different. Seek to encourage and lift up others. And the person who benefits the most just may be you.
  11. Love Nature. People who exhibit care for the physical world around us exhibit care for all humanity.
  12. Listen Intently. Eyes focused. Ears tuned. Cell phone off. In a world that can’t move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen is as rare as a precious jewel… and far more valuable.
  13. Be Modest. You are special, unique, and gifted. And the less you make an effort to tell everyone that, the more they will notice.
  14. Be Content. A contented life is enjoyable, desirable, and admirable. Those who don’t have it, desire it. And are impressed with those who have.
  15. Don’t Live to Impress. Live to Inspire. Give up your desire to impress everyone you meet. But never give up your desire to inspire everyone you meet.

Of course, the greatest thing about this list is that you already possess everything you need to inspire others. So why not get started? Stop trying to impress others with the things that you own and begin inspiring them by the way you live your life.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Jennifer Campbell says

    Awesome post. And while I agree with almost everything, I must say that different opinions cannot always be accepted (when it comes to decency and morals), but they can always be handled graciously.

  2. says

    A great article J.B. I racked my brains to see if I could think of one more suggestion …..but no…..you’ve managed to sum it up comprehensively in 15 suggestions.
    Since becoming a minimalist I’ve found that when you start to focus on improving your own life, in a bid to become a more contented, happy person then you will soon find that your friends and family are truly impressed by the changes you’ve made and unlike a brand new sports cars or latest handbag, they’ll probably keep on impressing way beyond the immediate future.

    If you want to enjoy another inspiring blog about how to live a simple, frugal, debt-free, minimalist life then please check out the http://www.thedebtfreeminimalist.com.

    My latest blogs include:

    Are you a clutterist? Take the 5-a-day challenge (and i’m not talking fruit!)

    The duvet which made a difference (a tale of giving)

    Is the iPhone such a smart phone?

    A tale of opportunity cost (and the effects of compound interest)

    I don’t need much!

  3. says

    The horrible thing is that I have this innate need to impress others. I have been doing it since childhood. It is this people-pleasing need that has caused me to live the first 21 years of my life in a way that doesn’t make me happy, but pleases those around me. Finally, when I realized that I wasn’t happy doing the things that everyone else wanted me to do, I was saddened by the waste, but I have moved on past that regret. Now I try to live my life as much as I can on my terms. Thank you for this list!

  4. Maha says

    Dear everyone:

    I am looking for people to share with them many idealogies that keeps knocking my head every now and then and nfortunately when I speak to others no one undersatnds me much. I am seeking to express myself and to find people who share similar thoughts. I live by this mindset .. the minimalists.. I heard of the concept from a freind after he got what I was tryng to say. btw, the article is jst amazing. But I want to add something.. befor we start by giving to others, we should giv ourselves first. Then only u will be able to give even more and more. If o get the bread u can share it. If you have fun, you can inspire others, but if you give more and more and more and u start by giving, pple abuse you, they will take from you for their own benefit and might even forget you or not care back about u. I dont mean to be selfish, I mean yes.. focus on ur own strengths, focus on ur gifts .. coz then u will be able to give more and make others happy and enjoy lots more. Yu need to know urself and help urself, then only u can help others. Finding the balance between ME and WE is what I am tryng to explain here.

  5. PassingBy says

    Bearing in mind #8, and your comment about avoiding television I found was quite dismissive of TV in general. Television can be an intellectual, cultural and social medium for people. I think yes, there can be a lot of rubbish tv and negative media but that shouldn’t discount the good stuff. There’s about as much freedom in watching a good program as there is in reading a good book. Basically I think I’m saying it comes down to how you use it rather than the item itself.
    But I really enjoyed your article nonetheless.

  6. Audrey R. says

    I’m surprised that #9 ended with “and jealous”. That may inadvertently reinforce need to impress.

    • H says

      I agree completely…I was about to leave this in a comment, but you took the words out of my mouth! The “…and jealous” comment = not good. I was overall very impressed by the article, but that comment was a total turnoff!

  7. MIRANDA says

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  8. says

    Pretty element of content. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to
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  9. Cammy Gage says

    Good food for thought on a concept not embraced too enthusiastically by our mainstream society, but I’d have been more impressed by this article, if it didn’t say it was abt impressing others. Ego management should be essential component of minimalist thinking, along w/ more neutral message like, ‘stuff is cumbersome’ rather than ‘I want you to look at me with respect’ or ‘whose lifestyle has more merit?’ I applaud anyone’s efforts to address ‘minimalism’ as a movement, though, because I’ve been there a long time already, without a label for it (the caveat here being, as soon as you label it, you also begin defining it, so argue early on abt what it should be!). ANYWAY – reading Vernon Howard can be enlightening, but only when your mind is properly set to absorb what he has to say – definitely my favorite ‘ego management’ guru. ALL VERRRRY INTERESTING……….

  10. says

    This is a great article, we all try to impress somebody. It sometimes comes natural without us thinking about it, and then there are times we are trying to impress others for the wrong reasons.

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