Who Is Assertive?
Assertiveness involves effectively communicating one’s needs, opinions, and boundaries without being aggressive or passive. Assertive individuals can express themselves clearly, stand up for their rights, and maintain a healthy level of self-confidence and respect for others. They are often able to negotiate and resolve conflicts constructively and respectfully.
Passive people tend to avoid confrontation or conflict, agree with others even when they disagree, and fail to stand up for themselves. They often prioritize others’ needs over theirs and lack decisiveness. They also have difficulty expressing their needs or opinions and may avoid difficult conversations or situations altogether.
On the other hand, aggressive behavior involves disregarding others’ rights and using confrontational or hostile behavior. Aggressive individuals communicate without respect for others’ needs and opinions, expressing their own views aggressively. They also have poor listening skills and a win-lose mentality.
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- Who Is Assertive?
- Daily Challenges Delivered to Your Inbox.
- Five Parts of Assertiveness.
- The Rules.
- The Challenge.
- Day 1: Honesty I.
- Day 2: Boldness I.
- Day 3: Respect I.
- Day 4: Deliberation I.
- Day 5: Decisiveness I.
- Day 6: Honesty II.
- Day 7: Boldness II.
- Day 8: Respect II.
- Day 9: Deliberation II.
- Day 10: Decisiveness II.
- Day 11: Honesty III.
- Day 12: Boldness III.
- Day 13: Respect III.
- Day 14: Deliberation III.
- Day 15: Decisiveness III.
- Day 16: Honesty IV
- Day 17: Boldness IV
- Day 18: Respect IV.
- Day 19: Deliberation IV.
- Day 20: Decisiveness IV.
- Day 21: Honesty V.
- Day 22: Boldness V.
- Day 23: Respect V.
- Day 24: Deliberation V.
- Day 25: Decisiveness V.
- Day 26: Honesty VI.
- Day 27: Boldness VI.
- Day 28: Respect VI.
- Day 29: Deliberation VI.
- Day 30: Decisiveness VI.
- Before You Go.
Five Parts of Assertiveness.
This challenge will be based on a model I call the “five-part assertiveness model”. Not fancy enough, I know.
Each day’s task will be based on these parts, and there will be six levels for each of them. Starting with level I for the first five days and leading to level VI for the last five days. Here are the five parts of assertiveness, please go through them in detail:
Honesty: This is the most important component of assertiveness and will bring the most results. People struggle with this one the most, as they’ve formed a habit of making excuses & when they can’t come up with one, they end up agreeing to do something they didn’t want to. Another reason for dishonesty is to avoid hurting others’ feelings. And this problem is harder to solve.
Honest excuses & opinions will solve both problems, but you’ll have to learn to say them in a way that causes the least amount of offense to others. You’ll be exposed to situations where you’ll have to reject something while sharing the honest reason for your rejection and ones where you’ll have to offer critical opinions (sometimes without being asked to).
Boldness: Being bold means having the courage to take risks and speak up, even in situations that may be uncomfortable or challenging. This is an important part of assertiveness & sometimes people even confuse boldness with assertiveness.
Do you know who isn’t bold? A passive person, who in this context is the one who lets things happen to them rather than taking (or at least trying to) charge of the happenings around them. A passive person will avoid confrontation and conflict and may end up agreeing with others even when they don’t, failing to stand up for themselves.
Here are some examples:
- A passive person won’t ask for a different plate in a restaurant if he isn’t satisfied with the one he’s been given, while a bold person will.
- If a passive person believes the cash note they have is torn, they are unlikely to request a replacement.
- A passive person will give in to the other person’s opinions even if they disagree with it, while a bold person may stand their ground and make a case for their perspective.
To make you bolder, you’ll be tasked to speak up or initiate something.
Respect: Without the emphasis on this part, two things happen:
- Assertiveness turns into aggression. I’ve seen this happen with many people trying to speak up, they often do that with an offensive or rude tone. Which is counterproductive to your goal of being more assertive. Reactions to passivity & aggression are different, but both are undesirable. Aggression damages your relationships, making people avoid engaging with you. It also makes people defensive, which can escalate the situation & make it difficult to resolve.
- People confuse civility with passivity. In most situations, people should prefer civility to confrontation, without leaning towards passivity. You could confront a stranger in an elevator about a strong smell that you find unpleasant, which will create an awkward and uncomfortable environment in the elevator, and the stranger might feel embarrassed or attacked. Instead, you should be civil and position yourself away from the stranger to reduce your exposure to the smell.
You’ll be challenged to express your needs and opinions without being aggressive. Actively working to express yourself with an easy tone.
Deliberation: People often overlook this crucial aspect of assertiveness. In situations where you have to express your needs or opinions, non-assertive people tend to rush through, aiming to check off the “I was assertive” box and move on with life. It’s a sign of anxiety and discomfort when faced with such situations. Unfortunately, all we end up with is the feeling that we were assertive.
By not taking our time in such situations, we make hasty decisions that we later regret. Instead, we should carefully consider each action and word that comes to mind, taking the time to make thoughtful decisions while embracing the awkwardness of the moment. Actively practicing being unhurried until it becomes a part of your personality is what you will be tasked with in this course.
Decisiveness: Indecisiveness is a typical trait of passive folks. Unlike assertive people who make quick decisions, earning their reliability badge, passive individuals dodge the responsibility of choosing where to eat by saying, “I’m cool with whatever you decide.” They fear rejection and mistake decisiveness for being pushy. But, it’s not about imposing your will; it’s about sharing options, even if others disagree. It’s quite attractive. If your choice isn’t liked, keep throwing ideas until (1) they agree or (2) they come up with something you like.
Sometimes, decisiveness is a prerequisite for assertiveness, as you need to make decisions while considering others’ needs. It’s a bit of problem-solving, not the easiest part to learn. Bad decisions have consequences, so you need to distinguish between the long-term important ones and the trivial ones. How? Well, you’ll refine your decision-making skills by making quick choices. You’ll ask yourself “Will this decision matter in a week?”, and if the answer is “no” you’ll go ahead and express what you genuinely want. If they disagree, you’ll share your second preference and keep at it until you find common ground.
Now, if the decision is important and requires some more thinking, we’ll provide you with more tools to make decisions like a computer.
- If you’ll miss any day’s challenge for some reason, note the day(s), and when the course ends, do the missed challenges.
- Be kind to yourself. It’s important to keep you going. Not being able to complete a task shouldn’t stop you from moving forward.
- Try going out more these days. The more the people, the more you can practice being assertive.
Day 1: Honesty I.
To begin, you’ll be doing an exercise at home today. Grab something to write on and jot down 10 things you’ve been lying to yourself about and 10 things that make you angry. This exercise can be challenging, since facing reality is always difficult. So, you’ll need to think deeply and question everything you know.
For the first part, ask yourself which truths you’re currently resisting and allow yourself to accept harsh realities. In the second part, you’ll realize that some items on your list of 10 shouldn’t make you angry. The remaining ones will show you how you’re allowing others to take advantage of you. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to allow the answers to surface:
- Were you truly kind, or were you simply scared?
- Did you argue that point because you genuinely believed in it, or did you just say it to win?
- Do you genuinely enjoy hanging out with that person?
- Are you holding onto a belief solely because you’ve believed in it for a long time?
- Are you intentionally avoiding exposure to perspectives you don’t want to agree with?
- Could you have inquired further?
- Do you rush things?
- Were you able to effectively convey your point?
Day 2: Boldness I.
Head outside to make a purchase and when engaging with the salesperson or shopkeeper, speak in a volume that allows someone other than them to overhear your conversation. If you don’t intend to make a purchase, strike up a conversation with a stranger in any social setting, ensuring that another unfamiliar person can listen in. Make sure your conversation lasts for at least five sentences.
Passive people tend to make sure no one hears what they’re saying. This exercise asks you to behave the opposite way a passive person will.
Day 3: Respect I.
Today, your task is to actively engage in respectful online disagreement. We will soon transition this exercise offline. Begin by finding a YouTube video on a topic you hold strong opinions about. After watching the video, proceed to read the comments and locate one with which you disagree. Craft a response to that comment, keeping the following points in mind:
- Utilize “I” statements: Instead of stating, for example, “Lex Fridman is right,” opt for, “I think Lex Fridman is right.” By using “I” statements, you avoid coming across as overly confident or insulting towards the other person.
- Avoid ad hominem attacks: Ad hominem responses target the individual rather than their argument, criticizing their personality or character. For instance, if disagreeing with a comment about anti-aging, a respectful disagreement could be “I believe x would be a better option than y because, according to the latest study, y presents these problems…”. An ad hominem attack, on the other hand, would be something like “You’re a fool for thinking that” or “Your IQ must be incredibly low.” Remember to respond as if the argument and the person making it are separate.
- Steelman the argument: Practice steelmanning, which involves addressing the strongest form of the other person’s argument. Instead of intentionally weakening it and then “destroying” it, present the argument as if you are making a case for it, and then respond to it.
Let’s take this exercise as an opportunity to engage in respectful and constructive discussions.
Day 4: Deliberation I.
Today, you’ll slow down in moments when non-assertive people tend to rush. Head outside to purchase something from a small shop or store. While interacting with the salesperson, shopkeeper, or employee, ask for an item that you know they don’t have. Take your time describing it. During the conversation, pause for 2–3 seconds before responding to anything they say. Speak and move slowly.
For instance, you could visit a sports equipment store and inquire about the availability of a Tib Bar (equipment for working out the tibialis muscle). Most stores don’t have it. Describe the item even if they don’t ask, doing so at a leisurely pace while remembering to pause.
Purchase anything at a shop and take extra time to pay for the item. For example, slowly retrieve cash from your pocket, flatten it, and take your time handing it to the employee or owner. Move as if you’re underwater, with a deliberate and unhurried manner. If you use your smartphone for payment, take your time removing it from your pocket, opening the payment app, entering the amount, and scanning. Use it as if you’re an old man who’s bad with technology.
Day 5: Decisiveness I.
Today, you’ll practice the rule of thumb discussed above in detail: when faced with a decision, ask yourself, “Will this decision matter in a week?” For now, focus on applying this rule to decisions concerning yourself, not involving other people. Make use of this rule of thumb for five decisions throughout the day.
For example, when contemplating whether to go for a walk or do yoga at home, ask yourself the question. If the decision likely won’t have significance after a week (answering “no” to yourself), decide within the next 3 seconds. If the answer is “yes”, take your time. Repeat this process five times today.
Even if you didn’t thoroughly enjoy your walk, the negative consequences are minimal. Additionally, your decisiveness skills are improving.
Here are some additional examples of situations where you can apply this question:
- Deciding what movie or TV show to watch.
- Choosing between watching a sports match or a movie.
- Deciding whether to buy the blue or red flavor of those chips.
- Contemplating whether to purchase a chocolate or an ice cream.
- Choosing between a gray or black T-shirt.
Day 6: Honesty II.
Today, you’ll practice the technique of noting. Each time you tell a lie, regardless of its size, make a mental note by gently saying “lie” or “lying” to yourself. You must note this five times to complete today’s challenge. This exercise aims to raise your awareness of your tendency to lie, setting the stage for long-term change. Over time, you’ll naturally pause before attempting to lie, then it’ll be a choice whether to lie or to think about what the truth is and tell it. This process will make you more aware and, as a result, may induce a sense of guilt.
Day 7: Boldness II.
Today, you’ll continue using the technique of noting. You’ll make a mental note of five instances when you could’ve been bolder (right after not being bold). These situations could include moments when you could have spoken up, asked for what you wanted, been clearer in your communication, spoken louder, criticized someone, stopped someone, or said “no.” Don’t be too hard on yourself for not being bold in those instances; remember that awareness is the first step toward change.
Day 8: Respect II.
Today, you’ll ask a stranger for a favor while emphasizing a respectful tone without resorting to lying. Simply let them know that you need their assistance. The favor doesn’t have to be significant, but it should be a genuine request. For example, you could ask for a free carry bag at a store, request some change for a dollar, ask to use a stranger’s phone to make a call (leaving your phone at home), or ask for directions. If the situation becomes too awkward, you’re allowed to use a polite excuse if necessary.
To achieve a friendlier tone, use upward inflection in your voice (the pitch gets higher at the end of your sentence, often used in questions). Remember to express your appreciation and let them know why you need their help after making the favor request. The challenge is considered complete either if someone assists you or if you ask different people five times.
Day 9: Deliberation II.
Slow down once again! Your task for today is to consciously slow down your movements. Unassertive individuals often rely on habit rather than thoughtful consideration, defaulting to hurried and impulsive actions.
Today, act as if you’re comfortable in all situations by deliberately slowing down your movements throughout the day. When someone calls you, turn your head towards them slowly and deliberately. When extending your hand for a handshake, raise it as if your speed is set to 0.75x. Walk and stand up slowly (you can even exaggerate the slowness). Speak at a slower pace as well. Imagine that you are moving as if underwater to determine the appropriate slowness. Aim to consciously do this at least 10 times today, although you can maintain this deliberate slowness for the entire day if possible.
Day 10: Decisiveness II.
During your interactions with anyone, whether familiar or unfamiliar, offer quick decisions using the question: “Will this decision matter in a week?” You can even state it out loud to persuade others, saying something like, “Let’s not waste time on such an insignificant decision. Would this decision matter in a week? No, right? So, let’s just go with x”. Ensure that your decision is made promptly and efficiently. You only need to complete this task once today.
Day 11: Honesty III.
Today, you’re going to be honest. Whenever you’re asked a question or need to tell something, take a moment to pause and think about what the truth actually is before speaking. Do this at least three times to complete the challenge.
Day 12: Boldness III.
“Which option scares you more socially?” This is the question you’ll keep in your mind throughout the day. Whenever we have something to do, there are multiple ways to approach it, and there’s always one option that makes you feel more socially uncomfortable. For example, I’ve often taken alternative routes to my destinations just to avoid interacting with people who know me because I disliked talking to them. You can hypothesize about the underlying reasons later, but for now, focus on becoming aware of this tendency. The aforementioned question will help you recognize it, and you should challenge yourself to choose the option that scares or makes you uncomfortable three times to complete the challenge. Here are some additional examples:
- Texting someone vs. calling them.
- Calling someone vs. video calling them.
- Buying something online vs. going outside to buy it.
- Choosing a corner table vs. a center table at a restaurant.
- Talking to a male receptionist vs. a female receptionist (as a heterosexual man).
Day 13: Respect III.
Assertiveness doesn’t always mean being direct. While being direct is important in certain situations, such as giving instructions or addressing important issues, it can also make the listener feel attacked.
Being indirect doesn’t mean being confusing; it simply means being respectful of others. When you’re asking a waiter for an extra fork, you act as if you’re asking, even though you’re actually telling them to give it to you. However, you wouldn’t tell them directly, would you? Instead, you would ask, “Can I have an extra fork?” rather than saying, “Give me an extra fork.”
Indirect communication is often the preferred method when finesse, tact, or cultural sensitivity are crucial. It’s like a strategic approach to maintaining relationships, navigating different cultural norms, and skillfully avoiding conflicts. Instead of being direct, you can embrace the subtlety and artfulness of indirect communication to navigate social situations with grace and understanding.
Today, your task is to observe five instances where your communication was either direct or indirect. It doesn’t matter who you’re conversing with; even if you’re asking your kid to close the door, take note of your communication style. Afterward, reflect on whether your approach was appropriate. Were you too direct, or perhaps should you have been less indirect? Asking yourself these questions may be a bit challenging, but it will certainly level up your “social skills” attribute.
Day 14: Deliberation III.
Part of being deliberate is avoiding speaking too quickly. People often talk fast to swiftly exit social situations, and I used to do the same. I’d act as if I had a pot of milk boiling on the stove. It was a frantic race to finish before the milk spills over! As if I was calculating every second, thinking, “I’ve got to save that milk!”
However, do you know what had the greatest impact on slowing down my speech and making it more deliberate? Gestures. That’s your task for today. Today, you will incorporate wide gestures into 10 conversations. Remember to keep your body and elbows apart when using gestures, making them “wide”. Any conversation that lasts approximately one minute or longer will count as one.
You can even take on this challenge while talking on the phone, or pretend to have a conversation while recording it using a camera. Mix it up! Start by reading a brief introduction on gestures for beginners, which includes 20 examples to imitate. Then, record yourself using gestures for a few minutes, make a call and use gestures while speaking, or go out and use gestures while passionately explaining to your friend why cricket is better than baseball. The choice is yours!
Day 15: Decisiveness III.
You’ve made some quick decisions, but not all decisions are the same. Some require more thought. Consider the consequences of your choices. If you can’t make decisions, people will stop relying on you. And if you make bad decisions, it’s even worse.
So, assertive people solve this problem by taking the time to think things through alone or in their heads. By being proactive. Let’s say tomorrow is your school’s foundation day. If you haven’t decided what to wear, when to leave, how to travel, or who to go with, you’ll have to make all those decisions on the spot when you wake up. That will take a long time. But if you’ve already planned everything in your head or on paper, the decisions are already made for you. This is how you become decisive, by planning ahead. That’s why people schedule and use to-do apps.
Your task today is to visualize three future events and imagine the decisions you (or others) will have to make. Think about the most effective choices, compare different options, and be prepared with a backup plan in case of disagreement. Remember, your goal is to offer quick decisions and make a case for them, whether they’re accepted or rejected. If you don’t have any planned interactions with others, make decisions for yourself beforehand, even for things you don’t usually plan. Here are some examples:
- What snacks to buy?
- What to eat at a restaurant?
- Which route to take to go to x?
- Which store to buy x from?
- When to leave to do x?
With time, you’ll become better and quicker at this skill.
Day 16: Honesty IV
Today, you will politely decline something you genuinely don’t want to do and honestly explain your reasons for rejecting it. You don’t have to use the word “no” directly; you can simply state your genuine reason. For instance, if your friend asks you to go for a drive, and you don’t want to, you can honestly say, “I prefer staying in right now and watching a movie.” If your friend manages to convince you, you can reconsider. The key is not to say no just for the sake of it.
If you feel guilty after saying “no” to someone, here’s what to do.
If you don’t get an opportunity to decline someone today, your backup task is to offer genuine praise to someone or something they own. Find something you genuinely like, express your appreciation, and ask a few questions about it. Be sincere in your responses.
Day 17: Boldness IV
Today, you will have to confront someone or discuss a difficult topic with someone. Identify an unresolved matter that requires a challenging conversation and make that conversation happen. Face-to-face interaction is preferred, but a call can also suffice. Avoid using texts and emails. Here are some examples:
- Share something with your parents that you’ve wanted to tell them for a long time.
- Ask your friend to return your book.
- Offer constructive criticism about your friend’s behavior that has been bothering you.
- Request the return of your money from someone.
- Express a desired change to your partner.
- Ask your boss for a raise.
- Lodge a complaint with your school/college dean about an issue that is bothering you.
Remember, “difficult conversations” are subjective, and this is not the time to compare yourself with others. Everyone has different challenges.
Day 18: Respect IV.
Interrupting others while they are speaking is a common habit, but today we’ll focus on preventing ourselves from doing it (we’ll try preventing others from doing it later). It’s not just about staying silent when someone else is talking; it’s about recognizing when it’s disrespectful to interrupt. Cutting someone off mid-sentence or thought is disrespectful, but there is room to jump in and speak when there is a pause.
Today, while engaging in conversations, be mindful and avoid interrupting until the other person finishes their thought. If you have something to say, wait for them to complete their sentence or thought before chiming in. By doing this, you are more likely to be heard as well. Practice this task three times today.
Day 19: Deliberation IV.
When people say something that is unclear or confusing, unassertive individuals tend to move on without seeking clarification. However, it is possible to seek clarification while remaining civil and respectful. Today, your task is to ask for clarification three times from different people when something someone says is unclear or confusing. It could be your friend’s reason for not answering a call or your teacher’s explanation for being late to class. Simply ask them to clarify respectfully, and if they avoid clarifying, let it go.
Day 20: Decisiveness IV.
When we ask people questions about different choices, we are essentially thinking together instead of individually. We can modify this approach to suit our goal of assertiveness. Instead of asking questions, make statements to think & express your preferences. Whether others agree or disagree, presenting options confidently and decisively shows dependability. Others will often go along with your decision, as delegating the mental burden of making decisions is the tendency. So, take charge and choose for others three times today.
For example, instead of asking, “Mutton, chicken, or veg pizza?” you can say, “Let’s order mutton pizza (because that’s what you want to eat).” If they agree, and it turns out to be bad, embrace the consequences of being the “assertive one.”
Day 21: Honesty V.
It’s easier to be honest and critical with others when you’re critical of yourself around them as well. So, for today’s exercise, own up to three mistakes around people. It’s as simple as apologizing for your mistake and then sharing a sentence or two about it. For example: “I’m sorry for making fun of your clothes. I shouldn’t have done it. It was very rude.”
Day 22: Boldness V.
While talking with people today, don’t allow them to interrupt you three times. How to do that? Keep these things in mind:
- Don’t talk fast. If possible, talk 5% slower. Rushing to finish your sentence defeats the purpose of this exercise.
- You can use gestures while talking, as you’ve already practiced. It makes people less likely to interrupt you.
- If someone interrupts you, raise your voice slightly and keep talking for a while. This gives others an indirect signal that you’re not finished. It works all the time for me and even for annoying TV debaters.
- Another way to stop an interruption in its tracks is to simply keep talking. I find this one harder but have used it several times. Just remember, you shouldn’t stop interruptions all the time. It’s pretty common. Just don’t let others do it over and over again.
- Use gestures right when someone starts to interrupt. Try it now. Pretend you’re talking to someone and they interrupt you. Start using hand gestures and continue talking.
These are some tactics you can use to prevent others from cutting you off mid-sentence.
Day 23: Respect V.
Today’s challenge is to give respectful feedback to a friend or family member. Just once. Throughout the day, look for moments when someone makes a mistake and indirectly let them know that you disapprove of it. By “indirectly,” I mean you have to pretend as if you’re talking to your professor rather than commenting on your least favorite politician’s YouTube video.
Instead of directly telling your professor, “You speak very softly in class, try speaking louder,” you would say, “Sir, I wasn’t able to hear you well in class today.” This is indirect feedback, asking your professor to speak louder. Some professors might reply, “Why? Are you facing hearing problems?” which would be your cue to be a little more direct: “No, I think you’re speaking too softly, sir,” which is still indirect.
Watch your tone while attempting this exercise.
Day 24: Deliberation V.
We’ve already used pauses to be less hurried and more honest. Today, let’s take it to the next step. While talking to people, think about the first sentence in your head before saying it out loud. Respond to different people like this five times today. This will lead to a 1-2 second pause before speaking, not more.
The rationale behind this exercise is that most of our unassertive utterances result from hurrying and not thinking before speaking. This exercise will put you in the shoes of an assertive person who is never impulsive.
Extra points if, while responding, you can look at people’s faces instead of looking away. I’m suggesting this addition so that the next deliberation exercise becomes easier.
For this exercise, you might have to cancel your plan of staying alone in your room all day. So, try going out.
Day 25: Decisiveness V.
Today, you will revisit Decisiveness III by thinking ahead of time about the decisions you and your friends/family will need to make today and prioritizing the best options. Identify five specific moments that you anticipate encountering today, and rank order different decisions for each of them. If you can’t think of any such moments, create them. For instance, invite friends to go somewhere and rank order the best places to visit in advance.
Day 26: Honesty VI.
Your challenge today is to mentally note when you’ve lied and immediately after lying or misrepresenting something make an effort to tell the truth to the best of your ability. Yes, very hard, I know, but these are the last days of this assertiveness course, so it’s important to push yourself.
You need to note and tell the truth three times today. If, for any reason, you’ve noted the lie but find it challenging to confess the truth afterward, give up, forgive yourself, and keep trying.
It can be as simple as saying, “I’m busy right now,” and then correcting yourself by saying, “Actually, I’m not busy, I’m just not in the mood to hang out today.” It might feel awkward, but it earns people’s respect and demonstrates your commitment to honesty. Not only that, but it’ll also make you think twice before lying in the future.
Day 27: Boldness VI.
One characteristic of agreeable people is that, during negotiations, they often prioritize the other person’s interests over their own. They feel hesitant or fearful about asking for more in a deal. Today, you will do the opposite: ask for more in a deal without giving anything in return in the short term. Your task is to ask five people for favors.
Make sure the favors you ask for are not too significant; request small ones like asking someone to recharge your phone, borrowing your friend’s wireless speaker for a day, or seeking step-by-step help with a math problem from your genius classmate.
Try to ask for favors that you genuinely want or benefit from. Remember, the rule is to communicate face-to-face or through calls/video calls only; texting isn’t allowed.
Day 28: Respect VI.
Today, you’ll utilize the technique of noting once again. While engaging in conversations today, take note of four moments when someone expresses an opinion that you disagree with. During two of these instances, simply listen and absorb their perspective without sharing your own thoughts, unless they specifically inquire. Take the opportunity to ask them why they hold that particular opinion.
For the other two instances, express your contrasting viewpoint without being confrontational. Utilize “I” statements to present your opinion. Instead of starting with “I disagree,” start with “I think.” Here’s an example:
Friend: Baseball is underrated. I don’t know why more countries play the game.
You: I think it’s not underrated. I think it’s a rather simplistic game. If you compare it to cricket, for example, it lacks the depth and complexity that cricket offers. People who watch cricket often find baseball to be too simplistic.
This approach can lead to an engaging and insightful conversation.
Day 29: Deliberation VI.
Use gestures and look at people’s face a little more while talking. Do it in five conversations with different people. I’ve already provided some basic guidelines for gestures. Here’s it again.
When it comes to looking at people’s faces while talking, keep the following points in mind:
- Making direct eye contact is not necessary.
- You don’t always have to look directly at their face while speaking. You can look at your hand movements as if you’re demonstrating something, you can pretend that you’re conversing with someone or look at an imaginary object you create with your hands. However, try to look at their face about half of the time.
- Try looking at the speaker’s face all the time when listening.
Remember that gestures are mostly used to explain something, so try not to use them for short statements like “yes” or “I’ll see what I can do.”
This exercise will increase your assertiveness by enhancing your deliberation in speech.
Day 30: Decisiveness VI.
Your challenge today is to make or suggest six decisions whenever the opportunity presents itself. Aim to offer these decisions within five seconds to complete the task. Feel free to use any of the tools mentioned earlier or any other tool you believe works well (tell us in the comments as well). Here are a few.
Remember, all decisions should be made in social situations, a decision you make for yourself only won’t count.
Before You Go.
Congratulations on completing the challenge, even if you’ve only done 70% of the tasks. The main idea behind this assertiveness model is to increase your awareness of moments when you’re unassertive and provide simple solutions for those situations. I came up with this five-part assertiveness model to make it easier to note how exactly was I unassertive, and I’ll continue to note for the rest of your life and so will you now that I’ve made you conscious. It’s important to be kind to yourself, even if you weren’t assertive at times (which is bound to happen). Simply take note and remind yourself to do better next time.
If you missed any of the challenges and have been noting them as I suggested, feel free to complete them starting today. I hope you found value in this assertiveness course. Stay tuned for more courses, tools, and unorthodox tactics in the future!
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