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.

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. (tweet that)

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. 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!

    • says

      Very well written article and a great list to emulate. I agree with every one of your points and try to practice them in day to day living…and it DOES make a tremendous difference in my quality of life.
      Thanks again for this fine report. I am already a follower of your FB page and enjoy your posts. Keep up the good work, my friend. :)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • Gena says

      I think I do most of this. I love my job, love nature and am authentic. I really don’t care about possessions and impressing others, I do what makes me feel good and happy but always try to be respectful. I wish more people were like your list and don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to be.

  4. 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!

  5. 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……….

  6. 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.

  7. says

    This is spot on! It’s better to live a life that feels totally right and is true to who you are, than to waste time trying to impress others.

    When the goal is mainly to impress others, you risk realizing years later that you still don’t feel “on purpose.”

    I’d rather help others, encourage others, and motivate others than impress others!

    Thanks for sharing these gems!


  8. Jayne Hearn says

    This is a great, to-the-point article. I am usually a naturally happy person and happiest when I am feeling very much an individual. This article also points to some areas in my life which might mean finding some missing pieces of the happiness puzzle. Thank you.

  9. says

    I have astounded and impressed my friends several times now by traveling to Europe…for one month…armed only with a single carry-on bag and my purse. “To travel happy is to travel light”….a timeless truth that can apply to any facet of one’s life.

  10. says

    You speak the truth so clearly. These qualities are what we should be modeling for our children and others in the world as the way to be an impressive human being.

  11. Kris says

    I don’t think that simplicity is simple or easy, because our values are complex.

    I love to show people how much I care about them. If I set my table with mismatched plates, reused jars for drinking glasses, and various types of flatware that I’ve found and are very functional, I wonder if people feel welcomed.

    We just bought a new couch after 25 years, because we thought people were uncomfortable on our old one.

    I love to send greeting cards and use stationery that are pretty and take the ink well. Wow. Is that “shallow?” Yeah, probably.

    I know these examples are easy to respond to. Hey. Other people should not pay attention to how you lay out a table or when you get a new couch. They should see the “real” you.

    I guess I’m just trying to point out that it’s not simple. I set a cockeyed table, I spent money (that could have gone to a charity) on a couch, and I keep a pretty big box of pretty paper and note cards under my bed. I like me. And my friends are fine with me. But it’s a big, big continuum and I like that we all fall in different places along it.

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