What gives certain people that “it” factor? (And how can you get some of “it” for yourself?)
by Jonathan Mead
What do Johnny Cash and Tito Ortiz have in common? They have the elusive “it” factor. There’s just something about them that naturally draws people to them. They’re magnetic, enigmatic and charismatic (and any other kinds of -matics). Something just makes you want to know them, be like them and follow them. Imagine you walk into an elevator; everyone greets you. Everyone seems to be paying attention to you, looking at you and wondering what you’re doing.
When you get off the elevator, you go into an important meeting. When you walk in, everyone at the table stands up to greet you and or shake your hand. During the meeting, you’re constantly asked for your opinion. “What do you think about this?” they ask. “How do you feel about the direction we’re going in; what could we do differently?”
As you leave, everyone wants to talk to you. They smile and wait patiently for their turn. You’re cool and collected while they vie for your attention.
Imagine you walk out of the building and a hail a taxi, but instead a limo pulls up. You go to your favorite restaurant around the corner, and your table is already reserved. Hell, when you go to sleep, your butler would try to brush your teeth if you didn’t insist that it wasn’t necessary.
That’s what it’s like to have the “it” factor. Your confidence and assurance seem to make people gravitate toward you. You don’t think much of it, because that’s just they way you are. It’s how you’ve always been.
Some people seem to just be born with an “it” factor. Muhammed Ali certainly had it. Einstein had it. Johnny Cash had it. Oprah certainly has it. While this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone likes you. It does mean people are talking about you. They pay attention.
I think some people are born with the “it” factor, but I think it’s something that can be learned as well.
So, what is “it”? What makes these people so enigmatic?
I’ve found that people with the “it” factor have some common characteristics:
- They accept their magnetism. People with the”it” factor fully accept their identity as a charismatic enigma. They know that being an enigmatic person means that some people will like them, while others won’t. That’s just part of being in the spotlight.
- They’re authentic. While a lot of people with the “it” factor may seem to exaggerate and stretch things a bit, that’s simply a part of being who they are. The ones that people really look up to—such as Einstein, Oprah, Gandhi, Lincoln, Thoreau, etc.—tend to be more authentic. They accept their position and don’t let other people’s criticism and negativity effect their character. They are unabashedly authentic and willing to accept the price that comes with it.
- They’re compelling. Their authenticity and fearless acceptance of their identity makes them compelling. They are not timid egos, but big egos. People are naturally drawn to them because they are so rooted, so sure of what they believe in. It’s not necessarily that their beliefs are compelling, but the amount of faith behind them that makes them alluring.
- They’re not afraid to step outside the box. Their unshakable acceptance of themselves makes them comfortable stepping outside of the box beyond social norms. Popular opinion doesn’t matter much to them. They know that sometimes controversy is a good thing. It makes people think.
- They are confident. Above all, those with the “it” factor are confident. They rarely question themselves, having an almost abnormal amount of self-assurance. Sometimes people can confuse this unusual amount of confidence with egotism. But “it” factor people simply know who they are and what they want, and they’re unwilling to compromise that at any cost.
- They have the ability to connect. Despite their seeming egotism and sometimes off-putting amount of self-assurance, people with “it” know how to connect. Their confidence and charisma inspire others to live to their fullest potential.
Some people may be born with the elusive “it” factor. But I think many of these traits can be practiced and learned.
Here are some suggestions to boost your charisma:
- Let go of unnecessary fear. If you want to be enigmatic, you’re going to have to drop all irrational fear. That doesn’t mean you won’t get scared if someone comes at you with a knife. It just means if your life isn’t in any real or perceived danger, you don’t flinch.
- Be yourself. It sounds overly simplified: “Just be yourself!” Most people, though, try to put on a facade that they’re something they’re not. People with the “it” factor really don’t care what other people think. Try to practice not giving a s*** what other people think. Trust me, it’s refreshing.
- Go for broke. Have the courage to only do what you love and what makes you feel most alive. If you love it, you’ll naturally be enthusiastic about it. Even if you’re not that great, your enthusiasm will attract people’s attention.
- Don’t be afraid to be controversial. Don’t be afraid to say what other people are afraid to say or do what most people want to do, but are afraid to. Don’t be afraid to be controversial, but don’t just do it intentionally. Controversy gets people thinking, and that’s a good thing.
- Be personal. The ability to get personal and be authentic with people is the ability to connect. The more you can connect deeply with others, the more you can gain their trust and leverage it.
- Live unabashedly. Have you ever noticed how many people are willing to follow another person just because they seem 100 percent sure of what they’re doing? If you communicate confidence, you’ll naturally get people’s attention.
Developing magnetism and charisma is something I think anyone could benefit from.
After all, I think there’s room for another Johnny Cash or two in the world.