CAN'T MISS: Interesting finding about people we meet

I recently read an article in the magazine Psychology Today that discusses a phenomenon in social perception called the Doppelgänger Bias

For starters, a doppelgänger is a non-biologically related look-alike or double of a living person. In books and movies, it is sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal apparition and usually deemed a harbinger of bad luck.

Our prior knowledge of a person -- whether he/she has treated you well or poorly -- determines how you act toward that individual in the future. But research suggests that a person's track record may also affect how you treat people who look like the person in question.

In studies headed by Brown University neuroscientist Oriel FeldmanHall, participants played a money-sharing game with several "male partners" whose headshots appeared onscreen. (Players were lead to believe they were dealing with actual people, but the partners were virtual.)

As the study participants played, they discovered these partners were very trustworthy, somewhat trustworthy, or not trustworthy at all. Afterward, participants selected from among new faces for a second round of play. Little did they know the headshots had been digitally altered to range in their resemblance to those of the first partners.

The more a new partner looked like one who had been trustworthy, the more likely he was to be picked. And the more he resembled an untrustworthy partner, the more he was rejected.

What this study shows is that it's possible to elicit a template in your brain that makes it easy to categorize a person almost in knee-jerk fashion. So, if you happen to meet a guy at the gym tomorrow who physically resembles your reliable friend Tony, you may more apt to trust him. Or, on the flip side, you might bump into a woman at the mall who looks like your flake of a neighbor and not trust her to hold your place in line for you.

Researchers familiar with the studies speculate that other shared identifiers including names or professions may also play a role in steering our judgments.

True strength comes from THIS

True strength comes not from what you do, but from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't.

Whether it's thinking that learning a new language is too difficult, that a better job is out of reach, or that leaving an abusive relationship is near impossible, we can overcome these mental roadblocks we set for ourselves by:

  •  Believing in ourselves
  •  Adopting a positive mindset
  •  Working hard to reach our goal
  •  Accepting that occasional setbacks are normal
  •  Never giving up
You can do anything you set your heart and mind to. It may not happen exactly when and how you want it to, but you must never lose hope if you wish to prevail. 

And achieving success sometimes involves taking difficult steps, like reaching out to others for help, reworking our whole strategy if not starting all over from scratch, putting up with people who may try to get in our way, and sacrificing ample resources (whether mental, financial, or time-oriented). 

But the biggest stumbling blocks to success may be our own negative thoughts -- the ones that tell us we can't do something, that we're likely to fail. 

If people had always given in to such thoughts over the ages, we wouldn't have found cures for certain diseases, built architectural wonders, or come up with inventions that have revolutionized the world.

As Thomas Edison once said, "I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't worked. The renowned inventor also quipped, "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration," suggesting that hard work plays a tremendous role on the often-rocky road to success.

Don't let the fear of failure paralyze you. Rather than allow yourself to be consumed by what can go wrong, why not think about what can go right? Redirect your thoughts so that you can imagine yourself defying the odds rather than falling short.

Let positive thoughts cancel out the negative ones. Come out of your comfort zone and work toward a better life for yourself. With hard work, patience, and persistence, anything is possible.

You can do it! 

People should like you for who you are

People should like you for who you are rather than for who they'd like you to be.

Maybe your partner wishes that you shared their love of travel, art museums, and classical music.

Perhaps you have a friend who'd love for you to be into shooting ranges, ACC football, Fox News, and scubadiving like they are.

While there's no harm in suggesting you be open to trying new activities, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

If you're constantly being pushed to do things you have little or no interest in, perhaps you and your friend or partner are less compatible than you thought.

Maybe they're not as accepting of the "real you" as they seemed at one point, or they've only now gotten to know the real you and aren't impressed.

And that's okay. If changing the way you are is the only way to placate the other person, the relationship just isn't meant to last. There are plenty of other people out there who share your interests and values.

You are not the problem -- they are -- which is why you should change the company in your life rather than alter things about yourself -- your traits, your goals, your passions -- that don't need any changing.

I understand making an effort to change detrimental characteristics and habits like laziness and profligacy. But anything having to do with your beliefs, values, career goals, and interests is out of bounds. These things make you who you are -- they comprise the core of your very being -- so why should you have to change them?

If their MO is to get you to be more like them, it speaks to their insecurities. Being unique is a great thing. It allows people to bring different perspectives to the table and teach one another new things, which keeps the relationship fresh and exciting. People don't have to like all the same things in order to get along. But if he or she chooses to set such parameters, the two of you are probably better off going your separate ways.

Love yourself and never apologize for it. (Not to be confused with what narcissists do; they think they're a gift to the world and look down on others.)

If someone presses you to change something about yourself, don't cave. Remain steadfast. Embrace your individuality. Set yourself apart from the pack. Some people will respect you more for it, while others will cut ties. At the end of the day, what matters is that you're happy with your life and yourself.

Don't be anyone's doormat

Don't allow anyone -- from your closest friend to your worst enemy -- to step all over you.

No matter the circumstance, you are as deserving of the other person's respect as they are of yours.

If you're in a relationship with someone who thinks they can run roughshod over you because you've spoiled them rotten, it's time to establish new ground rules or get out of the relationship. Otherwise, you'll continue to be taken for granted.

Similarly, if your friend seems to remember you exist only when they need something, make it clear to them that there is no such thing as a friendship built on selfishness. As with relationships, both people should reciprocate time and effort.

If your toxic boss is convinced you'll put up with anything just to keep your job, prove him or her wrong by arranging a closed-door conversation. Impress upon them that they have absolutely no right to treat you like garbage, and hint that you'll take your skills and experience elsewhere unless changes are put in place.

Unfortunately, many of us love giving and giving to the point where we never bother to ask for much in return. Opportunistic as they are, these individuals exploit our good nature for their own benefit.

Unless you stand up for yourself, people will eat you alive. Whether you're home or in the workplace, you have a voice -- and it deserves to be heard. If someone is out of line, call them out on it. You don't have to be rude or condescending to put your point across. Be tactful and firm at the same time.

Relationships --- both personal and professional -- can be beneficial in many ways, but the wrong ones can adversely affect our well-being. That's why it's imperative you communicate that you're not one to be trifled with. If that still doesn't change the dynamics of the relationship, you're better off finding a new job, friend, or partner.

No response from someone IS a response

Make no mistake about it: When you don't get a response from someone -- whether they fail to answer your texts or return your phone calls -- it is still a response, and a powerful one at that.

When a person fails to respond, it's a direct reflection of their interest -- or lack thereof -- in the relationship.

Few things are more aggravating than having to hound a partner, friend, or relative for some sort of reply after we've reached out to them.

Yes, we get busy from time to time, but that doesn't give anyone the right to leave the other person hanging. A terse text with something like "Been busy, will reach out soon" doesn't say much, but at least it shows some effort to bring the other person up to speed on why they've fallen off the radar.

Failing to provide a response for weeks -- if not months -- communicates that you are just not a priority, and that you'll have to wait your turn to get this individual's attention.

This is never the case in a rock-solid relationship, where nothing -- distance, work, kids -- can keep two people from touching base every so often. It's been said that you know a relationship is strong when two individuals can pick up right where they left off the last time they spoke to or saw one another.

As I've noted in recent posts, a relationship is an investment -- of time, of energy, of emotions. When someone fails to do their part, they're showing that they do not care enough to commit such resources. As a result, the relationship suffers because the other person feels like the only one making a conscious effort to keep the relationship afloat.

If the days keep passing and the other person hasn't bothered responding to you, don't harp on it. Move on. Focus on other people and interests in your life. Keep yourself occupied.

Hopefully, he or she will surprise you by coming around sooner or later. But don't hold your breath. Unfortunately, while some people have a penchant for flakiness, others suddenly pop up again when they need something from you.

Don't invest time in anything that isn't bearing any fruit. People make time for the things and people who really matter to them.