Your Main Feature

When you buy a new TV, you buy it mostly for the screen. What distinguishes that screen from the others? Maybe it’s a curved one, the one with the highest-ever resolution, or the first one using OLED technology.

Whatever attribute you care about most, there’s a main feature – a feature that makes all the others mere add-ons. Sure, good sound and extra HDMI ports are nice, but you’d never upgrade your TV for those alone.

If someone contemplated whether to buy “a dose of you” and add it to their life, what would be the main feature? What’s the trait they’ll be intrigued (or turned off) by? The one that stands out above the others? It could be a past accomplishment, a skill, or your behavioral default – something you do more (and maybe better) than most of the people you know.

If you’re “the bestselling author of X,” that might get me to buy into you, but how long will it last? Like TV technology, your past success will become dated. You’ll have to do something new to stay in my living room.

If your main feature is a behavior, it better be a good one. “Patty? The one who always complains?” That’s not the kind of credibility you want.

The best main features are skills. Connection is a skill. Sometimes, it’ll look like yapping, ranting, or gossiping, but if the outcome is connection, each word will have been in service. Is the laughter annoying or genuine? Tune in, and you will see. Identifying main features isn’t much harder than watching TV.

Every main feature has its price. As best as I can tell, my main feature is to think. It means I am thoughtful – but also that I overthink. There are no two-for-one deals when shopping for relationships.

One word I think a lot about lately is “noise.” Noise might be the worst main feature. There’s already so much of it. Noise in the literal sense – do you think before you talk? are you in meetings just to meet? – but also the figurative one – do you consume just to consume, both information and stuff? will your reaching out benefit me, or is it just more noise in my already loud life?

What’s your main feature?

You are not a TV, of course. If you look in the mirror and don’t like your strongest suit, change it! Wear another one. Weave it if you have to. Building new habits, achievements, and skills takes time, but it doesn’t take forever.

There’s another way life’s different from the electronics store: The goal is not to sell out. It is to make your main feature one worth not discounting. You are priceless. Act like it.