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Stop trying to be impressive. Start trying to be warm.

Warmth is the goal.

I heard that quote on a podcast recently. I’ve thought a lot about it since then, and I like that word: warm. Be warm. Show warmth.

warmth (noun): a friendly and enthusiastic quality in someone or something:

Cambridge dictionary

It’s not a new concept. It’s been repeated various ways since the beginning of the human race. “How To Win Friends And Influence People” is an entire book written about it.

There’s also this quote, popularized by the book/movie Wonder:

If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

So many ways to same the same thing. But for some reason, the exact wording of it struck me this time: “Stop trying to be impressive. Start trying to be warm.”

Being impressive is hard. You have to be better, faster, stronger, smarter than everyone else. And even if you are, how can you to show it without coming across like a showoff? That’s a losing game. The only way to win is not to play.

Being warm is easy. Anyone can do it. Show some curiosity. Ask questions. Smile sometimes. Be a trampoline. Encourage. It’s tough to do it wrong. That’s a game that’s hard to lose.

Warmth brings a team together. Warmth makes you a leader rather than a dictator. Warmth brings out the best in people. Warmth encourages trust.

So I created a little cron task that shows me this popup a few times a day:

(If you’re wondering, the “stop avoiding” part is because clear is kind).

That’s reminded me that being warm is the goal, and that being smart or right or impressive is a distraction. I see that popup while I’m on a call and it triggers me to stay curious and show support, to stop arguing and start listening.

Stop trying to be impressive. Start trying to be warm.