Life is all about perception. Your worth is based on how people perceive you and suddenly how you present yourself becomes very important. People don't have the time to get to know you so much of business is done on a surface level, with decisions made on gut feelings and estimation.
Life is a game with no rules. But there are cheat sheets. And there are winners and there are losers. And it really is all about how you play the game. Some are born with a natural ability of understanding life and how to work the "system." Others fall behind and never catch up.
Because there are the Jay Gatsbys of the world and the Nick Carraways. If you wanna be a Gatsby, you gotta learn the tricks. Because life's a show and you gotta surprise them. There are people who are book smart and people who are street smart. It's the street smart ones who you must look out for because they know how to play the game.
You don't need to be a genius to be a millionaire, you just need to know how to play the game. The best players in Monopoly weren't the ones who started out rich, they were the ones who figured out the game before you did. While you were still collecting property, they were building houses and swindling you out of Park Place.
The best businessmen of our time aren't the smartest, but they are the best bullsh*tters. There's something to be said about a man who doesn't finish college but ends up a multi-millionaire. Because life isn't about grades and academia, it's how you apply yourself in the real world. And if you are savvy enough, you too could bullsh*t your way to the top.
Grab At Details
Lying is not necessarily something to boast about, but it's something everyone does. However, it's acceptable when done right. If you are going to tell your boss that you also loved "Wuthering Heights," you better have at least one decent thing to say about it. If you haven't read it, that's fine. But you must at least know one character to give yourself credibility. Because that's what it's all about, credibility. Chances are your boss hasn't read the book in years and will most likely not want to get into a philosophical debate about the cultural paradoxes of the novel.
As you go through life, make sure to pay attention to details. This will save you on more occasions than you could imagine. Pick up on everything so you have something to say at any given moment. Fill your brain with everything from art, to politics, to languages. Be aware and be perceptive so you always have at least one intelligent thing to say.
Always Choose Silence
If you are somewhere you don't belong, just don't talk. Silence equals power. So if you don't know something, don't say anything. People will equate your silence with disinterest and try to change the subject. People also equate silence with power. Someone who isn't talking doesn't have the opportunity to make a fool of themselves. If you are quiet, there is nothing you can say that someone will find unintelligent. You can never go wrong with silence.
Be Confident, No Matter What You're Saying
Whether you are answering your psych 450 professor on an article you didn't read or presenting reports to your boss, you must be confident. Most of the time people listen to your first few sentences then go off into their own world.
If you sound confident within those first few seconds, they will assume you know what you are doing and they don't need to listen to the rest. It's also okay to be confident and wrong. That's called a mistake. It's better to make a mistake than to just not know. Never falter in your words, they are all you have.
Make Friends With Everyone
The more people see you around other people, the more desirable you become. Make yourself unavailable by being around other people. You will look like you have something to give if you are constantly around new people. The more people you know, the more connections you make. Connections are everything in life. Because that's how you get your next job, then your next, then your next.
Master Your Style
Your style is everything. You don't have to have expensive clothes to be taken seriously, just a developed style that depicts your personality. You can wear jeans and a t-shirt to work everyday as long as you are confident enough to pull it off and show everyone that this is who you are. You want to define yourself and your role. It's important to show that you know who you are as a person before you can add your worth somewhere else.
Style says a lot about your confidence. If all the other girls in the office are wearing heels and you wear flats, people will notice. You don't care enough what anyone thinks to change yourself.
Photo: Matthew Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Credit: Paramount Pictures