The Humble Blueberry

May 31 2014 Portland, Oregon

The bright blue sky offers a welcoming entrance to the setting. The sun is also determined to send out vibrant radiance.

It’s a comfortable day to be comfortable and share that comfort with others.

She automatically tells me that I would find more interesting people around than her.

“It’s definitely a city where you’ll find a bunch of interesting characters.”

I quickly tell her that the most interesting people tend to be the ones that don’t overstate it through their attire and appearance.

She smiles amidst a background of green. The green leaves and the green grass listen in intently. Some leaves arrive by traveling with the wind. They come pouring in from all directions to hear the conversation.

She told me a story about the time she went to Spain. One of the days she had no plans. Her group wanted to get lost on purpose. That day ended being her favorite out of the whole trip because it was unpredictable. They found their own magical exploration.

That’s what life is about. If everything is linear all the time then you can’t find fun, random variables that makes life really shine through.

She calmly reaches into her bag to grab her lunch. Her lunch is twenty or so blueberries piled together in a plastic container.

While reaching for a blueberry, she asks me about my writing and what I plan to do with it.

I contemplate for a quick second before stating, “If aliens came around to visit I’d like to share my interactions with people to show the best side of humanity in a little storybook.”

She laughs and nods her head in approval.

(It’s crazy to think that I found out my elevator pitch and sidebar description through answering this fantastic question).

She lets me remember why I enjoy these little microscopic interactions in an indifferent universe. It gives me joy to share a moment with someone I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s a tiny, respectful way of finding great reflections within another person’s kind soul.

The blueberry on top of the whole thing is that I’m marveling at how charming it is to have twenty blueberries for lunch. It’s ridiculously simple.

You never know when someone is going to humble you with their grace.

You Need to Know About the Mirror

“Nobody really wants to know about you, they just want to know what about you they can relate to themselves.”

All mirrors reflect an image back to you that enables an identical or modified version of what the mirror sees. If you hold a cat up to the mirror, it’ll always show a cat. This mirror image allows everyone to see themselves.

Imagine fixing your hair or putting on makeup without the help of a mirror. It would be nearly impossible to visualize our own image without its help.

The human mirror

Now imagine this mirror captures your ideas, thoughts, passions, and values. This is the human mirror.

People want to relate to other people that share similar reflections. This creates rapport and a sense of validation within two individuals or many in a group. These reflections help create bonds that may last many years or in a single moment.

The only thing that the mirror demands is that you project an image it can reflect back.

If you enjoy a healthy conversation about Skyrim, then you must understand its vast winter world to really appreciate the image. If you don’t then you either allow yourself to learn new knowledge to project this mirror or you don’t reflect anything back.

You can use that metaphor for any interest.

It can be risky to try and mirror everything because there is only so much everyone can know about each individual interest. However a basic knowledge about most topics can allow the other person to reflect a more sophisticated and detailed explanation about their mastered interest.

The best example came a few months ago when I was talking about the idea of attachment and how that is a great cause of many frustrations. The other person was going through a moment where individuality mattered more and therefore attachment conflicted with it. So I shared my own thoughts about attachment and how limiting it can become when someone gets overly attached to another. The other person agreed profusely and had that look of passion which confirmed that individuality mattered more.

The mirror image had been completed. Taking an idea and reflecting it back in similar thoughts creates connections.

If I started talking about the stock market and the other person had no image of that idea then the mirror fails. They cannot reflect the image because it doesn’t exist in that particular person’s thoughts. If they’re close enough or curious enough they will be open to learning about it but that isn’t always the case.

Usually when I start sharing ideas that the other person cannot relate to that is when the conversation goes stale and the rapport starts breaking down. The mirror starts fading away because the image doesn’t appear in the other person.

It is important to keep reflecting things within that particular person’s mirror or understand how open they are to new perspectives.

It is why I try my best to understand as many interests and concepts in order to see their mirrors.

It’s a chance worth taking. Everyone is made of the same stardust after all.


August 2011, Milpitas CA


I walk into a Starbucks neatly attached to the side of a mall to meet Peter.

He patiently waits at one of the few tables in the smaller, cozier environment. After ordering my small coffee, I take a seat across from him. The first thing we talk about is the Beltran trade that the San Francisco Giants executed during that 2011 midseason. In hindsight it didn’t really work out for them but both of us agreed during that moment that it was a reasonable trade. It seemed like they were one trade away from repeating as champions.

His posture holds stoic confidence as he laughs about his own blog. He has a couple of posts about his own dealings with poker and traveling through some shadier areas of a couple of Asian countries.

We stroll the mall to change the scenery as he speaks to me about my newly discovered courage.

“So tell me what gave you the courage to randomly chat up people offline and online because talking to people in broad daylight is something that makes me a bit nervous.”

I told him that, “It actually didn’t come naturally to me but I continued to take my less than stellar experiences and learn from them in order to make future ones feel more natural. As time goes along you can learn to converse with anyone. You do things slowly by taking systematic baby steps to get things going like saying hi then asking ‘how are you?’ then having a real conversation with someone.”

He gladly grins back at me and tells me he would write that in his own blog.


For a naturally social person like him to say, “You’re good. Everyone is a bit nervous at first. You’re talking to me like a natural.” was an important boost to knowing I had the skills.

Almost any skill can be learned if you trust your progress. Peter helped me trust in that progress when it was still in its infancy.

[You can find more about Peter at Peter J Lu.]

The Crossroads

March 2012

The bright grey gloom around me felt overwhelming in its juxtaposition. The notorious San Francisco fog was hovering and lingering for this day. Many tourists, locals, and waves of people were filtering around the Ferry Building looking at all of the independent shops within its components. I waited around until Andrew Caldwell popped out of nowhere in this dizzying wave of colors, emotions, and movements.


We both seem to be playing a Where’s Waldo? game because it takes us a couple of minutes to find one another. It isn’t easy when neither one of us is wearing a striped red and white shirt.

We enter the Peet’s coffee inside the Ferry Building because coffee is a beautiful remedy.

Andrew laughs and tells me how ridiculous Americans are with their addiction to coffee. I laugh and tell him, “It’s one amazing addiction.” A kind gesture occurs where he pays for my coffee and I figure that’s just his vacation money budget.

Cheers mate!

Afterwards we end up hanging around the area where you have a grand view of the lesser known Bay Bridge. The one that connects San Francisco to Oakland. It is interesting when a couple of girls come by to ask Andrew to take their picture with Instagram. Who knew 6’5 and an Australian accent would help me figure out that this Instagram app would become a big hit.

He talks about figuring out what city he could build a potential startup in. He just so happened to find himself in San Francisco as his first international city in his trip that would end up spanning multiple months across four different continents and crazy adventures.

The rest of the interaction becomes a walking tour of the Mission District where we shared ideas and thoughts about our near futures. I talk to him about my blog being a means to gather my ideas on paper to figure out the next course of action. He speaks about his past experiences in the working world and his recent trip across Australia. He wants to see many cities around the world to try out the traveler lifestyle and figure out if he would want to reside in any of the cities he would travel to.

He also tells me about the blogging community and the bloggers that he wants to meet. I agree with him about the type of bloggers that seem authentic. At this point in the thick, atmospheric fog he uses his cynical wit to help me understand the motivations behind people and what determines success. It all seems a bit vague but delivery is just as important as authenticity.

This would be a crossroads for my personal blog because this interaction would slowly change my mission towards meeting people. This would be a crossroads for him as he would figure out his own conclusions about traveling through the months.

A small interaction at two people’s crossroads can change things for the better, even if it is absolutely tiny. At the very least it helps me write around 500 interesting, vivid words and at best I find moments to discover.

Right before the interaction ends and the BART train hums and echoes through the underground station, Andrew tells me that “You’re beyond your years.” I thank him as he disappears through the closing doors of the train.

[Note: You can find Andrew Caldwell at his about me and Twitter.]

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.]