Facebook: 5-Minute Limit Experiment

I’m against deleting Facebook or any other social media outlet I’m on. I want to reach as many people as possible. There are people who I haven’t talked to for months at a time that I end up catching up with by sending them a quick message on Facebook.

I also talk to many people online and Facebook is one of the best ways to send them a quick message, rather than an e-mail.

I want to keep the line open on as many fronts as possible.

I would be contradicting myself and the whole idea of this blog if I were to delete myself from websites.

Instead, it’s a test of self-discipline.

The Five-Minute Facebook Experiment:

For one month, I could only stay on Facebook for five minutes per day. I only had five minutes to update myself what was going on with my friends and reply to people who left me messages there.

I also put many limits. I closed my wall off to anyone else. I also post things that I feel will be useful to other people on my friend’s list.

I also hid the feeds of people who were giving out noise only, so I could have a better chance of finding quality content shared by other people.

Result: I didn’t feel a difference when I decided to limit myself to five minutes. I never really got any withdrawal or desire to sign onto Facebook. It helped me optimize my time by replying to any messages that I received from the previous day and to send messages to anyone else I needed to communicate with.

Then I signed off.

Analysis: It proved to me how efficient I could spend my time by limiting myself on Facebook. However, I feel that it has many strong points that make it such a valuable tool for blogging and connecting with people. So it’s about limiting yourself rather than eliminating it altogether.

-Connect with those who initiate conversation with you.
-Send messages to the people you do want to connect with.
-Skim through the news feed for a couple of minutes if anything good is there.
-Then get off it!

On Shallowness: Why I’m Somewhat Shallow

*Used with e-mail permission. Other pictures on user’s site may be NSFW.

“We hold onto the good enough apartment, the good enough job, the good enough relationship…all the while truly believing that this is only temporary. We think we’re playing it safe. We think we’re getting the best of both worlds. We think this can’t possibly hurt.
-We couldn’t be more wrong. There are no safety nets in life. No backups. No just in cases. These are all illusions. To think otherwise is to set ourselves up for failure.
-You only get one shot to be you. One shot to fill your life with everything you’ve ever dreamed of. This one shot is your lifetime. Make it count.” – Stella from Bucket360.

(Warning: This gets very opinionated. Enter at your own risk.)

There’s no point in being politically correct if, like Stella says, “You only get one shot to be you.”

So here goes: When it comes to relationships. I am somewhat shallow initially.

The reason for this is that I had a relationship back in 2009 (that I may write more about in a future post) that was just “good enough”. I thought I was happy with it but in reality it was a false safety net. On paper it looked like we matched but my attraction level wasn’t there. The vibe didn’t feel right and I was trying to grind through some imaginary tunnel.

Maybe I even wanted to prove that I wasn’t shallow. I wanted to prove that I could fall for someone without being attracted to them so much in the first place. Well, that didn’t work out.

I’m not saying you can’t talk to someone based on how they look. I’m a connector. I love meeting people. I love gaining perspective, insights, and ideas.

But when it comes to relationships, I know I have to be initially attracted to them. Then if their mind is amazing, then maybe the chemicals in my brain will be impressed.

I have one life. I can’t always be politically correct. I’m too tired to be the guy who does everything “right”.

It reminds me of what JK Allen said in his most recent post: “I’m the type of person who’d like to live in a world where looks don’t matter. But, like you, I live in a world where looks do in fact matter.”

Will it cost me intimate relationships? No doubt.

But I’m extremely tired of hearing people say, “I got with someone because he/she was good enough. I was satisfied with him/her. The person is adequate. The person keeps me from being alone. Or the clincher: I got with the person because the person was the best I could get.”

-Would you constantly go to a restaurant because it has adequate service and adequate quality? No. You would want to go to a place where the quality is exceedingly good.
-Would you want to do an okay job of training for a marathon? No. You would want to train to be the best you could be.

I don’t want to settle for okay. I don’t want to settle for passing.

I want someone to blow my mind into a spectacular confetti like celebration.

If I risk missing out on “satisfactory” relationships, then it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

In a world of absurdity, my purpose is trying to find something immensely beautiful at the risk of losing out on anything that could be deemed “the best I could get.”

With my past experience, the flame doesn’t expand. The flame either hits you hard during a moment where you least expect it or it never comes. You can’t plan when that crazy feeling arrives. It just does.

-When I get rejected, the rejection is coming from their worldview (their tastes/preferences), so I don’t take offense.
For example, I can’t erase my race. So when someone I was attracted to put me into “friend zone” right away because I’m Asian, I didn’t take offense. Remember, that’s her worldview.
-When an Adonis/Aphrodite type character comes along to swoop the person, don’t take offense.
There’s no point in controlling that.

Let more opportunities happen and eventually you’ll be the Adonis/Aphrodite to the eye of the beholder.

I understand preferences, tastes, and weird things that make people fall for one another. Much of the time, logic goes out the door.

So it’s time to begin being unapologetic for being attracted to whom I’m attracted to.

You also have a right to be unapologetic to whomever you end up being attracted to as well.

Would some people call it being picky? Sure. I call it walking through all the static of everyone else’s opinion and dating whomever I want.

That’s what I aim for. I hope you aim for that too.

The best part about all of it is, the absolute best can mean huge variables to each single person.

So maybe for someone else, there needs to be a comfortable vibe at first. For another person, there needs to be a great connection first. For others, maybe it’s identical, opposing, or a mixture of interests.

But for me, I’ll keep my right to be somewhat shallow initially.


So I ask you, is it right to be somewhat shallow initially or not?


How I Made 50 Friends in One Month

I’m not huge on crowds, so how did I make 50 friends in one month? My example is below.

As the years with the internet has progressed, it has made it easier to meet people online. People can find potential dates, people can sell things to one another, people can Couchsurf to make travel cheaper, etc.

As you know I’m a connector. I want to meet as many people as I possibly can.

Since I’m not the type to go to parties, I’m grateful for the internet.

The reason for this is that I like conversations with ridiculous amount of depth.

There are three types of conversation levels:
1. Small talk. When you talk to a stranger or have to talk to someone politely (just imagine that relative you aren’t close to.), then you have this. You ask them “How’s the weather?” or “How’s it going?” I don’t like going through it often because it’s boring and not that rewarding.
2. Interests. When you find a common interest, then the conversation gets better. If they like blogs and you do too, then you can talk about your favorite blogs, their favorite blogs, what type of blogs both of you like, etc. It’s nice to relate to someone but not quite where I’d like to be.
3. Passions, life-goals, visions, metaphysics, crazy relationship stuff that no one shares with anyone anymore. Now this is where I’d like to land with people because this is the most satisfying type of conversation. It can be difficult to reach this level when you’re not already close with someone but that’s what I strive to reach. I feel that the internet makes it easier for that when you’re just focusing on someone’s words rather than all the outside influence of clothes, appearances, and other activities.

All I did was find a site where there were thousands of people. You can do this with a forum or any other online site. Then I personally sent them messages based on their taste (music, movies, books, philosophy).

The 90-9-1 rule (by Sebastian Marshall*) applied here in a different way.
-Around 90% of people I talked to didn’t click. They wouldn’t reply or either party would stop replying after a couple of exchanges.
-9% of people I ended up talking to about interests, their culture, anything that caused good conversation. I still talk to them to this day.
-The magical 1% wavelength are those few people where you have free reign. There are almost no limits as to what you two can talk about because you have the same type of humor and a huge depth of commonality that nothing is taboo. These are the people I look for.

But that’s 1%. It holds true. Here’s my personal example:

During March 2010, I sent messages to around 400 people. I already knew that the percentages would end up being 90-9-1.
Around half replied to me. Then I replied back to them.
-Around another half replied to me. After a few rounds of talking to people I came down to around 50 people. I was about to connect with that many through many rounds of messages. They’re great to talk to about passions and interests. (It held true that around 9% of people will connect with you in a great way.) This is my definition of an awesome friend.
-However, out of those 50, I’ve only had the magical 1% wavelength with 4 people. So it goes to show how many people I had to initiate contact with in order to find the people who I could really connect with. This is the type of interaction I look for ideally because there are no limits. You can almost free flow to the person about what you’re feeling and thinking.

Of course, there are pros and cons to meeting people online.

-For people who can’t take rejection well, it’s somewhere easy to start.
If someone doesn’t reply to you, then it’s totally fine to take. I like being able to find people with similar tastes on forums, twitter, and other websites very quickly.
-People are able to past through the waste of time that is ‘small talk’ extremely quickly. It makes it easier for me to get through to someone’s passion right away.
-You can talk to someone’s mind (see their words visually) rather than having to see their outer appearance visually. You can see their interests in text (through profiles, blogs, social media, etc.), rather than have to cold guess when you’re meeting a stranger in the real world.
-You can analyze what someone said and give more thought to how you want to reply. It isn’t awkward to be a bit more introspective and give more time between replies when you do reply.

Bonus: -Half the adrenaline rush is trying to figure out how to meet them in real life.
*I’ll get more into this soon in a future post.

-People can easily fake their identity. You can filter out many of the fakes by the general rule, “If it’s too good to be true, then it’s definitely a fake.” You can also feel the pushy atmosphere and something about them is off. I block those people quickly because they don’t deserve the time.
-People you meet can be far away. The only other unfortunate situation is if people you meet are far away. I’ve had this happen to me a lot of the time. Luckily, Skype makes it possible to get close to the real-life depth of talking to someone face to face.

The internet gives another option on being able to meet people. That’s the genius behind it. All ways of meeting people are great (offline, online, online – offline) but meeting people online breaks the location barrier, breaks the group influence barrier, and creates a way to go around the small talk.

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*Here’s Sebastian Marshall’s post on the 90-9-1 rule.

The Easiest Way to Quit Bad Habits

After my first round fight with fear, I know I have two cognitive distortions that enhance my anxiety: Mind reading and over-generalizations.

Mind reading is a cognitive distortion where the person (in this case, me) automatically assumes what the other person is thinking about them. My brain says, “Well I’m sure that she doesn’t approve of that comment.” before she even stated her opinion.

Over-generalization is using one specific situation and making it apply to make a wide generalization about something.

It probably stemmed from having some tough experiences in my past. Then, I realized that it really became a powerful anxiety monster that creeps up whenever I speak to people, especially strangers.

So in order to stop these two habits, I decided on creating an experiment that would help me stop that way of thinking.

The 30-day Quitting Bad Habits Experiment

For one month, I’ll put a quarter in a jar in two instances.
-Every time I say something that overgeneralizes certain things I will put a quarter in the jar.
-Every time my brain exclaims an assumption to someone else’s thoughts, I’ll put a quarter in the jar.
At the end of the month, I’ll donate it to charity.

You could adapt this to any bad habit.

-If you wanted to stop eating badly, then you could force yourself to put a dollar (or any monetary amount you think it fair) in the jar for every time you eat something that has sugar in it.
-If you wanted to stop being shy around people, you could put a dollar in the jar everyday you don’t talk to someone for a minute or so each day.

The easiest way to quit is to penalize yourself with money to get you motivated to actually quit those bad habits.

As of midnight, I’ll have started the experiment. I’ll give you an update when the month is up.

If anyone else wants to stop their bad habits with me, leave a comment below to have mutual accountability. Or if you’d rather share it with me privately, e-mail me at 30vanquish [at] gmail [dot] com or give me a direct message on twitter.

Match of the Year: Me Versus Fear (Round 1)

Welcome to the main event.

I put myself in a corner where I had nowhere to turn back to. Fear is now my main opponent and there are no safe escape routes. All escape routes would make me obtain a label of “hypocrite” or “chickening out” at the last second. I’m in the corner where I see fear across from me.

Before the fight with fear, I ended up meeting @JasonShen because he was featured in the SFGate article that would tell me about Rejection Therapy. Therefore, that article has brought me to this fight with fear eight months later.

We talked about why we both did Rejection Therapy, our mindset to being detached to an outcome, and other topics that came and went. I had some awesome French Toast to get me going.

On top of that I took the leftovers.

After that, he went off to do his own thing and I went off to start fighting the fear.

I walked for half an hour to where the mall is to find more people. There were hundreds of people in the mall’s food plaza! Then I realized, I totally forgot to bring the sketchpad, which was going to be used in this bout with fear.

I could’ve either left right then and there or could’ve changed it up. I decided to change it up.

I took a train to San Francisco’s Mission District. San Francisco is one of those cities that has different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own type of people, own type of style, and own type of feel to it. Within the Mission District, there’s a lot of different neighborhoods in there too.

For this round, I decided to walk from 16th and Valencia St. to 26th and Valencia St., where my favorite cookie place was.

Along the way, I would attempt as many Random Acts of Courage as my body would allow.

This area isn’t the most populated area.
The funny breakdown would probably be 75% hipster, 25% older folks, and a guy named Matt as the only Asian guy in sight. (There were actually a few but it was few and far between when I personally went there today.)

I chose this area because it was sparse enough to start the fight with fear but not an empty lot where I would have a hard time finding people.

So there’s the backdrop of Round 1.
(The numbered list is 1-50 taken mostly from the Random Acts of Courage website).
I’ll count all of the failures and successes. If it’s a failure, I’ll try it again in the next round.

#2 Say hello to five strangers as you pass them on the street.
1. (To a redhead female): Hello, how’s it going? Her: (very muted) good, how are you? Me: Good.
2. (To a gentleman outside of his car): Hello, have a good one!
3. (To someone walking his dog): *Nods* Hello.
4. (To another girl at the crosswalk, both stopped): Hey, how’s it going? Her: Good. *silence* Me: So why do you have two bags? Her: went to the gym. *silence*Me: So are you from here? Her: Yes. *silence* Then I let it go. More on that in a bit.
5. (To someone walking towards me): Hello. *no response* I laughed after.

#3 Make eye contact with a stranger and don’t look away until they do first.
-I attempted this 32 times and only 7 people made eye contact with me. I looked them directly in the eye until they looked away. I wonder if it’s the California culture where people are more relaxed or if it’s just people walking around not looking at me.

#4 Convince a stranger to have their photo taken with you.
-There was a girl with purple hair that was walking on the other side of the street. I decided to talk to her and ask her if I could be in a photo with her. You could laugh at how awkward it was. She wanted to say no but couldn’t, so I told her, “It’s alright. Have a good one!” and I went off to more walking.
Failure because she was creeped out.

#10 Strike up a conversation with a homeless person.
-Remember those leftovers I had? I gave it to a homeless person and started to strike up a conversation. “Hello, would you like French Toast?” She didn’t reply. She simply made sure the food was okay and took it. Then she steered away from me. I didn’t think it was rude because she seemed to be hungry.
Failure but at least I made good use of those leftovers.

#13 Have a 2-minute conversation with an imaginary friend in public.
-I kept talking to two people who were both trying to encourage me to do my best. “Hey, how’s it going Matt?” “Good you?” “Good, you just gotta do your best here because this fear shit sucks alright?” “Most definitely” A few people walked by and didn’t care. It just proves they don’t give a damn.

#14 Wave and smile at someone you don’t know.
-No response because they weren’t sure if it was to them.

#23 Haggle over the price of something.
-I went to a shop that I’ve always liked but was way overpriced. So I wanted to buy a $4 notepad but asked them to lower it to $2. They said they couldn’t lower it beyond $4, so I decided to leave the item and went on my way.
Success. I haggled.

#28 Ask for a freebie at a store or coffee shop.
-I went into a coffee shop (I can’t quite recall the name, as it wasn’t Starbucks) and they said they couldn’t do that. Twice. So I just paid for a small coffee.
Success. I asked for a freebie.

#39 Give a stranger a genuine, elaborate compliment.
-There was a guy who was wearing an Electric Wizard (a sludge doom/stoner band) vest and I complimented that it was awesome because there was a cool contrast of red and black going on.
-A couple of people were sitting on the bench and I told them “nice shades, liking the blue and black, you two match.”
Total success.

#49 Random Act of Kindness
-I also asked a group of people if they wanted their photo all together as a group but they declined.

I finished ten tasks and was successful on seven of them.

I had a couple of missed opportunities that I didn’t do because I wasn’t damned or because the fear had me. This wasn’t going to be an easy fight.

I’m pretty sure I ended up doing ten of the easiest tasks, but this is Round 1. I gave fear a few jabs and it gave me a few back.

After I got my cookies, I walked back to the train station and went home. I had a huge headache, my body was in full fatigue mode (the introvert nature was kicking in), and I was to the point where sleepiness would get in the way.

I noticed three issues that I need to overcome in Round 2 and beyond.

-I have a much tougher time speaking to people if it’s more than 1 person (pretty much any group). I’ll work on that next time. (E.g. I was going to do #9 Ask for a phone number and #29 Ask a person you’re attracted to out on a date but the only girls I were attracted to were talking to another person or in the middle of a whole group.)

-I have the assumption mirror (made that up on the spot). It’s one of the worse habits you can ever have. An assumption mirror is when you’re not worried about yourself but worried for the person you’re speaking to, too much. It’s pretty much taking empathy to the wrong extreme. Me: “I think I’ll stop the talk here because I don’t want her to be totally creeped out.” It’s bad assumptions that are in my internal thinking and this needs to go away.

-I have to remember to not mind the static of looking different from this neighborhood of people; Even if the chances are reduced of success due to that, I’m not here just for success. I just want to get rid of the false comfort of doing nothing spectacular.

The bell rung.

Here’s your chance to leave a comment.

-If you were my boxing corner coach, what advice would you give me to help me finish the rest of the Random Acts of Courage?

Give me the helping hand before Round 2 starts. Stay tuned.