IT HAS been said that success is getting what you want, but happiness is wanting what you get.

Or to put it another way: Perspective, next to money, is the easiest thing to lose.

So, by all means, seek to increase your charisma. Try to become the most effective person you can be. Work at making a good first impression and projecting a positive image - but also try to retain self-awareness.

Look around you. Think of how you appear to others.

Be alert to the impression you are creating, or trying to create. If you try too hard to impress, or make a big to-do of the grand gesture, or come on too strong or too insensitively, you will often end up creating a negative impression.

Making the best impression and the surest way to charisma often just means putting others first.

It has been reported that one New York cab driver, for example, makes $30,000 more a year in tips alone than other cabbies.

Why? It is because he offers passengers a choice of several newspapers, cold drinks or fresh fruit. He asks them what kind of music they prefer, and otherwise does his best to make his customers comfortable. In hectic, brusque Manhattan, his small acts of decency make him stand out.

Thus, people with the most effective images often are those who are the least obtrusive about it.

In fact, sometimes it is a simple act or gesture of courtesy - like announcing your first and last name when you see someone who may possibly have forgotten them - that burnishes your image and sets you pleasantly apart.

Maybe it is a short note of thanks for some favour someone did for you, or saying something nice and genuine about someone in front of his boss.

If never made, these gestures probably would not be missed. That is why they are so obvious when you make them.

In other words, being a genuinely good person who cares about others and who does things because they are the right things to do may be the ultimate key to increasing your personal magnetism or charisma.

Always do right because, as Mark Twain said, that will gratify some people and astonish the rest.