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Impress: Time to Put That Word in the Dump

by Diane Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | August 23rd, 2012

Our Opinion/ Whatever you do, do it for yourselves

True to form, Christopher Gabriel made a quick and poignant point one Thursday, passing on some psychological research while delivering his radio program ever so effortlessly, confidently and fluently. It went something like this: People are less likely to enjoy a vacation if they take it to impress others, rather than for their own well-being.

According to Gabriel, I glared at him at that moment. His comment apparently stirred me. The comment, spouted with such nonchalance, means a helluva lot more than why someone chooses to road trip through the Rockies versus see Europe from a fancy boat.

The same motivational principle applies if a person were to buy the coolest jean jacket on the market -- or a fancy SUV, the smoothest red wine, etc. -- to prove what spectacular wealth and tastes they have. Basing decisions on others’ perceptions essentially gives them control over our lives.

To one degree or another, we all do this. But most fundamentally, if we don’t know how to please ourselves first, we will never be able to truly please others.

Impressing others makes us feel good, but it’s a temporary solution to a bigger problem.

It’s like intimidating a person to keep them quiet and scared. It’s like eating candy to calm our nerves.

How do we get someone to think we’re cool beans? Tell them how many times we’ve been to Europe? Or overload them with all the knowledge we know about a celebrity we got to meet and hang out with?

Nope. That’s not how at all. That’s called trying too hard (which, by the way, is way uncool).

Simon Cowell, famous for being a the most blunt and confident judge on the TV show American Idol, had some great advice from his father on this matter: put an imaginary sign above people’s heads that states, “Make me feel important,” in huge letters.

It’s that easy.

Know why many people walked home feeling unfulfilled after the Bob Dylan concert last Sunday? He didn’t make his fans feel important. It was not all because of his 71 year old-ness. Or his even-older-sounding-still voice. Although, him just showing up, of course, did quite a bit for fans, and to be in the presence of genius is pretty sweet.

But for us, the non-god-like figures in the world, to truly get a person to think we matter, we must let them know they matter to us, regardless of social status.

Everyone is unique, sometimes in the smallest ways possible. Everyone wants to be recognized for it. So make it happen.

The Streets Are Alive Again

If you are trying to losing weight to impress others, stop and change your motivation, otherwise you won’t get far. We must learn to get healthy not because we want others to envy our bodies, but because we want to feel better, mentally and physically. Great results are more probable when our inspiration stems from worthy causes – not from “I need to look good in a bathing suit.”

The Cass Clay Healthy People Initiative’s creation of the Fargo Moorhead StreetsAlive! has proven to be one of the most important events in our community to promote healthy lifestyles. Studies show that people are more apt to engage in a healthy lifestyle if the people surrounding them are also partaking in healthy activities and making healthy choices.

With that knowledge in mind, the Healthy People Initiative is set to “help change our culture to make active living the status quo,” according to its website.

Join thousands of active individuals of all ages breaking a sweat on the streets of central Fargo and Moorhead on Aug. 26 from 12 to 5 p.m. Start from anywhere on the course and do as many passes on the 3-mile loop as you’d like.

Beware, you may get tempted off the course to hula hoop, do zumba or yoga, eat some veggies from the Farmer’s Market or watch elite athletes perform inspiring acts of athleticism.

But whatever you do, do it for yourselves -- because it truly is good for you -- and not just to be the trendy kid who is into organic foods and bikes just because he thinks others respect him more for it.

For more information about StreetsAlive!, visit

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