When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents used to call me kim chwee (golden mouth), meaning to say that I'm so quiet and hardly open my mouth... like as if there's a block of gold in it.
I do admit that I was one of the quiet ones in my class. I only started opening up when I was in high school, but also after getting to know my peers better. Yes... I take long to warm up.
I barely made any friends during my first two years at university. Thank God I went on a trip organized by the International Student Service (ISS) and made some friends there... friends who now form a crazy bunch that I hang out with regularly... there's never a dull moment with SLB!
Oh... and I found my soulmate from ISS as well... *wink*
At work, the usual comment at my performance reviews is to improve on my social presence. Like I said, I take a LONG time to warm up and I guess that after working with these people for more than 2.5 years now... I STILL have yet to warm up to them.
But this is going to change...
A book lent to me by my dad (thanks, dad!)... talks about how to improve your thinking and hence, become a more successful person... in a nut shell.
At first, I found the book a bit long whinded... kept on repeating the same thing... and wishy washy... using anecdotal examples from the U.S. which seemed unique to theindividuals mentioned and therefore, irrelevant.
But soon I found myself practising what it preached... the bits on getting to know people better... how to make your presence felt... by becoming a better communicator... and hence, a more likable character. (I'll work on the bits on contributing more to your work organization later :P one step at a time lah...)
Three examples of how this book has magically influenced me...
1. During Friday drinks, we had some new joiners in our division. Normally, I would just mingle with my usual group and never got to know anyone new. But this time round, I introduced myself to a bloke who just joined us from a small accounting firm... and later got to know that he was into swimming... and still holds the under 13 years old 100m freestyle record! Now, I'm pretty sure we would have more interesting conversations to come... and I have made myself a new friend.
2. Yesterday, while I was doing my groceries, I saw my swim coach shopping for some swimwear. I didn't think she noticed me. Usually, I would just walk past, hoping she REALLY didn't notice me (yes, I am THAT shy). But I went up and called her... found out that she was going for a holiday in Rottnest Island this coming week. I'm glad I spoke to her... now, I no longer appeared to be the OLD guy (I train with her squad... which are all high school kids) who comes and go without saying a word.
3. Just a while ago, I noticed my flatmate's digital camera being soaked in water. My flatmate and myself hardly talk... we live our own lives and only communicate when it's time to pay the rent or clean up the unit. So normally, I would not comment or mention of such things. But I went on asking him about his camera... and he said that it can be used underwater and... in fact, he just came back from snorkelling... he saw a large stingray and an octopus! See, just by asking him a simple question about his camera... lets him know I take a bit of interest in the things he does and not just knock on his door when I want my rental money or the unit cleaned.
I don't usually make resolutions. I'm a very comfortable being... and not a big fan of changes.
But for 2008, THOU SHALT SPEAKETH MORE!