I write a lot about how people have to be likeable to get what they want in life. I get so frustrated, though, because everyone thinks they are likeable. Maybe to their dog, yes, but in my experience most people are not nearly as likeable as they think they are.

I thought of this because I was reading a list of five tips to be likeable:

1. Be positive
2. Control your insecurities
3. Provide value
4. Eliminate all judgments
5. Become a person of conviction

And I thought, this is a great list. I should put it on my blog. Then I thought, forget it. People will read the list and think they have all these qualities and then move on. But don’t do that.

The problem is that the most unlikeable people are the most clueless so they are the least able to become more likeable. Harvard Business Review ran a whole issue on incompetence (via Ben Casnocha) and the conclusion is, among other things, the incompetent don’t know they are incompetent.

So here’s an idea that can apply to likeable and unlikeable people while avoiding the uphill battle of getting the unlikeable to confess: Find the item on the list that is your weak point and force yourself to get better at it. No one is equally good at all five things. Improve on one. Taziana Cascario, professor at Harvard, does research in this area, and she told me that the biggest barrier to being likeable is not caring. So just pick something on the list and improve on it and stop analyzing whether or not people like you.

I am going to improve on number four by being less judgmental. After all, I just wrote a whole post about the misguided-and-unlikeable and how much they annoy me.