in Approaches, Coffee, Daily Post, Insights

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.]