Paying It Forward

The ideas and vision behind the blog initially started out as a way to overcome personal setbacks. However, looking back on it now the vision to meet 1000 people started out with the first person on my past approaches list.

Jason Shen was one of the original participants in Rejection Therapy. I was intrigued by the San Francisco Chronicle article telling his story about how he passed out Halloween candy to strangers. I e-mailed him and a few months later ended up meeting him in person.

May 2011

We decided to meet for lunch at a diner in San Francisco. It was a awhile back so I don’t recall the name of the place.

All I remember was the foggy atmosphere and the nerves of my 2011 self. We met outside the diner and walked into a cozy setting full of coffee-inducing warmth. Jason said “Two” and the waitress quickly gave us the table closest to the door.

He went on to talk about his plans for an interesting startup that would work in tune with how people went to and from Burning Man. He also spoke about his gymnastic experiences, the reward of winning, and the amazing feeling of camaraderie between his teammates and himself. Then he asked me about my plans at the time.

“What are you studying and what do you plan to do?”

I told about Psychology and how I wanted to use that creatively. I still wasn’t sure where to go. He automatically offered me his best connections for opportunities relating to Psychology. He was already optimizing what he could do to best help me.

Ask yourself what you can do for the person sitting across the table.

Running was another big topic discussed and aided me in rekindling my passion for running. It also built momentum for him towards running as he would end up running many events in 2012.

Ask yourself what topics can capture interest in the person sitting across the table.

After finishing our meal I was about to take my card out but Jason was adamant in paying for the whole bill. He said to me, “I know how it was in college. Just pass this forward.”

I never really forgot that day because it helped me understand to pass forward good energy to everybody that I have met and will meet.

I asked myself what I could do to pay it forward that day. I gave my leftovers to a hungry homeless person.

I asked myself what I could do to pay it forward that month. I concentrated on getting back to running.

I asked myself what I could do to pay it forward that year. I concentrated on learning how to flirt, accepting that we’re all stardust, and continuing to meet amazing people.

Jason’s small act of kindness created inspiration to be able to be in the position to pay it forward too. I’m continuing on that path.

[You can find more about Jason Shen at his blog.]

On Momentum

[Thank you for MLK for all that he did. Monday was a holiday that celebrated him in the United States, so I decided to write for Tuesday this week.]

After my success with directness, I used momentum to build it into success. I was fully confident in myself during these couple of days so I truly believed goodness would come out of it.

April 6th 2012, 1:00PM.

I saw an attractive girl on the bus with me right before I was headed to the grocery. I hopped off the bus when I was going to the grocery store and it so happened that she was going there as well. After a few minutes shopping around, I caught her on the way out walking towards my apartment complex. I told her, “Hey. It seems you’ve been going with me around on the bus and to the grocery.” I delivered that in the most sarcastic and light-hearted tone as possible.

She laughed a lot and seemed really interested at this point. We talked a bit about our majors and interests before she headed to another part of the apartment complex. I told her she was really fun to talk to so I’d like to continue it some other time. She agreed and handed me her phone to put my number in. When you’re feeling the magic, let the magic happen. This proved to me that I made a positive impact in her day by making it fun.

April 6th 2012, 4:30PM.

I just finished one of my classes and I was heading home towards the bus. In the corner of my eye, I see another extremely attractive girl that raises my vitals. I trust myself to be extremely honest with her. I say “Hi” and smile. She smiles back. Everything felt honest so I said everything how it was.

“Rather than regretting letting the opportunity to talk to you go by, I decided to take this one moment that I may run into you and talk to you.” She blushed heavily and lit up. We talked for five minutes about multiculturalism in California through stories and her Spanish major. It seemed like both of us enjoyed the interaction so I asked her to hang out again and she agreed.

The momentum helped me because I trusted myself and had the courage to talk to whom I wanted to talk to.

Momentum takes discipline because you can’t be content with one positive interaction. You have to keep going to show different people what you’re offering. In my case, I’m offering fun and a good conversation in the middle of the day to defy the boredom of routine. If this went well, I wanted to hang out again. In these two cases, it happened that way. In other cases, I talked with whomever, male, female, two or three people, and let the conversation flow for however long it was without any need for a certain outcome to happen.

[Disclosure: Many of my latest posts describe my interactions with women in March and April of 2012 because it was something I did to respect myself and to understand that all people are polite enough to talk to, so it was up to me to personally see how it went. I want to share this with everyone to show how to talk to anybody you want to respectfully and honestly.]

Directness (Or Finding Magical Connection)

Back in March 2012, I flirted with many girls to systematically desensitize my fear of talking and flirting with strangers I’m attracted to.

I reflected upon what I needed to improve.

The problem in those interactions was that I had a mental block. I didn’t allow myself to directly offer whatever I wanted. I would use context and converse with people extremely well but I would never state my intentions.

I never directly told them what I wanted, whether it was to be friends with them or date them. I never told them how long I’d stay around in the conversation and was unsure where I wanted to bring the successful interactions. This left a degree of ambiguity in the interactions.

Have you ever had that feeling of ambiguity in a certain situation? You feel as if the person is present with you and the conversation is going well but there is this nagging feeling that they are hiding something from you.

I knew that learning directness was the next step in my progress to become a risk-taker and somebody who could go into the uncharted lands outside of the comfort zone.

The first direct attempt

April 2nd 2012 3:00PM

I’ve been walking around nervously for half an hour trying to be brave enough to chat with a girl in a way that directly states my intention.

All of a sudden in front of me, a beautiful girl walked to her bike undoing her bike lock. I initially walked by her because I was too afraid.

Fear does not ever take a rest.

I took a deep breath and turned around and spoke up.

I said nervously, “Hi, you’re easily the prettiest girl I’ve seen all day. I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes.”

Mind you, I was incredibly nervous at this point, I could barely burt it out.

The girl blushed uncontrollably and smiled at me, “Wow thank you. I’m Claire, what’s your name?”

“I’m Matt”

“Anyways Matt, I have to get going and I have a boyfriend but thank you for making my day.”

I smiled back and went on my way.

Throughout that day, I had a few other attempts that were miserable, terrible, and downright awkward piles of hilarity.

I had a blonde girl look at me like I was a waste of existence through my nervousness and told me “Look I’m going to class, I have a boyfriend from LA, please go.” Another girl looked at me like I was messing around with her and she couldn’t believe what I was saying.

I also had a polite conversation with another girl for a few minutes before she told me, “I’m sorry. I don’t hand out my phone number to strangers outside of my dorm.”

It shocked me but some people need that systematic way to meet people, that’s fine for those who need it. We’re incompatible.

No problem.

——

The magical direct attempt

This would lead me to one of the most successful interactions I’ve ever had with a person to this date. This person made me learn a lot about myself and what I had to offer the world. She changed my idea of what it meant to approach the people that move you.

April 5th 2012 4:31PM

At this point I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn’t mind the rejection but I felt as though I wasn’t delivering my directness correctly.

I was walking towards the bus station to go back to my apartment when suddenly a stunning girl registered in the corner of my eye.

This was different. This was definitely different. I truly felt there was a magical vibe when she walked by for that split second. The feeling of wonderment and awe shook my soul into action. I had to talk to her and at least give myself a chance. I briskly walked towards the cafeteria to locate her. Luckily, she stopped at the cookie section in order to order a cookie.

I made eye contact with her and it was incredibly powerful. I could feel her welcoming gaze. I said to her absolutely confidently, “I saw you walk by and I found you way too interesting, so I had to come chat for a minute.” She smiled so wide and laughed with joy for many seconds. She couldn’t believe what just happened but I could sense her spirit woke up from the dreaded routine that washer day.

I asked her what she was listening to and she told me Flying Lotus. She took off one of her earphones and made me listen to it for a whole minute. She told me right off the bat she was allergic to peanuts so she obviously couldn’t get a cookie with that. I laughed and told her, “So you told me something right away that I could use against you?” We both laughed quite hard for a while.

That’s when I knew I finally found somebody I could really click with.

She ended up buying a snickerdoodle and halving it with me.

We walked toward her class that was about to start at 5PM while chatting about metaphysical ideas about the world like being able to give clean water to the rest of the world or being able to share mircochange into the world to make a difference. We both smiled, laughed, and had a magical connection.

After about five more minutes she had to get to class, so she put her number in my phone and told me we’d hang soon.

We did but we’ll get to that soon.

All this happened because I took the time and had the courage to say “I found you interesting.”

Why does directness work?

It forces the other person to polarize as a reaction. It increases their chance to be direct back towards you. There is no ambiguity because everything is truthful and upfront.

While it increases the chance for people to say no for any number of reasons, some in my control [like how I deliver myself and present myself], and others out of my control [boyfriend, not into my look, race, too short, bad mood], it enhances the intensity of interactions that are successful.

It makes them more magical.

——

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Rejection Therapy Saved My Soul

Back in 2011, I participated in the 30 day Rejection Therapy challenge. In the past couple of months, it has gotten publicity.

I wanted to write about it one final time because its incredible concept changed my life for good.

Before, I used to be like many frustrated people unsure of how to meet people. Should I go to house parties? Should I join a hobby group? Meeting people confused me.

I hope my story will help you find a way to care less about what others think of you and allows you to request things that you’d want from others whether that is a date from a beautiful person or a job offer from a networking acquaintance.

——

Around mid 2010, a defining moment absolutely shocked my world. For the rest of my life, I felt as if I had to live with regret.

My mood was in a regretful heap of lost hope.

Then I was introduced by to Rejection Therapy. For 30 days you’re forced to get rejected once a day. It is a form of exposure therapy by systematic desensitization to rejection.

The concept seemed simple enough. I promised myself that I would lift myself up by creating this blog and blogging about my daily rejections. It took me a couple of days to gain the courage to partake in any sort of social challenge but it finally clicked.

On the first day, I asked the post office at my university for a free stamp. The cashier replied with saying that I could use my credit card to pay for it. At this time I laughed because I didn’t have it on me. It was literally the one day I didn’t bring it. I said if I could have it for free. He shrugged and there it was. I got my first rejection.

I continued with these simple rejections for six days. They really humbled me and realized I could ask for whatever I chose to ask for.

The first major rejection that really changed my life

On the seventh day I was sitting on the bus going back to my apartment. A beautiful redhead walked into the bus and had to sit next to me because the bus was crowded. My vitals were going absolutely off the charts.

Nobody in the bus really noticed except me so I thought to myself that I might as well talk to her. I took out my notebook and wrote on a piece of paper, “cute girl next to me, would you want to get coffee? Write your # if yes, give the paper back if no.”

I mustered up all my courage and handed it to her. She looked at it, blushed profusely and handed it back to me because she had a boyfriend. In hindsight, I could tell she wasn’t interested but nothing really bad happened. She smiled and we ended up conversing on the bus for a good five minutes before my stop arrived.

The expression itself held all the joy

My soul was elated with joy. Finally, I expressed myself to somebody else and nothing really bad happened. I got rejected and it didn’t matter. I expressed myself. The joy was in expressing myself. It was one of the most gratifying moments of my life.

Once I realized that joy came from expression itself versus any external outcome, I focused more on expressing myself. If I expressed what I wanted to, that was what I could control. I cannot control other’s reactions because there are too many outside variables but I can control my expression.

Other challenges had me asking for gum, chatting with people in my classes, asking people to study with me, and asking for discounts from coffee shops. Some of them seemed very simple like asking an old lady for a pen to use for studying when I forgot to bring one.

Others were more difficult. For example, when a girl with a blank canvas was swiftly walking to her class, I respectfully asked her, “What’s going on with the blank canvas?”

She smiled, lit up, and talked to me about her art project for a minute. I told her it would be awesome to continue this later on but she said she had a boyfriend.

I would get better with conversation later on with my later experiments but for now, I was understanding that rejection wasn’t such a big deal.

Allowing myself to feel uncomfortable

If I felt my ego hurt from some particular outcome, I allowed myself to feel all the icky, awkward emotions in my brain. I would then find solace by thinking on how to improve which also helped my mood. By allowing myself to feel uncomfortable, I came to learn that opportunities were always around me. I only had to grow the courage to take those opportunities.

Once Rejection Therapy showed me that it was possible to talk to all sorts of people in most situations, I continued the blog to meet interesting people and learn how to take more risks socially.

My blog wants to reach out and do good outside the comfort zone. Some of that has to do with adding choice in my personal dating world but another aspect of it is to add good feelings and gestures out into the world.

I wouldn’t be where I am without Rejection Therapy, so it truly saved my soul.

[Disclosure: I made this post by my own free will and nothing monetary wise was given to me for this post. You can find more information here]

Your Best Friend is Vulnerability

The theme of 2013 will be vulnerability.

Vulnerability is your best friend because it’ll allow you to meet your best friend. When you allow yourself to freely express what you are, then it gets easier to meet your kind of people.

Expression is mandatory to make a connection with someone. Any sort of expression takes vulnerability because expression can be shot down. Of course, expression can also be related with or expanded upon.

Friendships and relationships begin once rapport builds into a systematic mutual respect of each other’s expressions.

Vulnerability is what gave me immense improvement over the past 18 months of my life.

It made me meet my best friend. It helped me recontact old friends.

It allowed me to establish interactions with people to talk to them for a few minutes.

Sometimes, it got me hangouts and dates after the initial interaction.

Vulnerability allows confidence to express yourself freely.

When that happens, life really opens up and becomes a true adventure.

The best part about it is you can choose any adventure you want. Of course, keep things safe for yourself and others. Besides that, there are no set rules to your adventure, as it is yours to partake in.

Vulnerability makes your inner adventure a reality.