Hey guys what’s up??? Sorry for going silent on you this past month. I just finished my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course here in Vietnam.
I wanted to develop a greater understanding of how we learn languages and indeed I did. Even more than that, however, I learned a lot about the psychology of students in general.
The concepts I’m going to share with you are useful far beyond teaching English in the classroom. If you apply them in your own life you’ll become a far better teacher and conversationalist.
1) Cater Your Speech to Your Audience’s Interest
This concept here is key. While it’s true that passion is contagious, it’s only true to a certain extent. If you’re super passionate about wine you can draw me into your reality for a while with talk about the slight differences you can perceive in exotic wines, but even in IDEAL scenarios you’re still going to lose me (a non-drinker) before too long. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about wine with me, however.
It just means you need to make a slight adjustment to make the subject relatable. If instead of talking about the flavor of different wines you instead talked about how your passion for wine developed and how you believe others can find or develop hobbies they’re passionate about you’re much more likely to keep me engaged. Why? Because I see that the conversation is relevant to me, you’re able to relate with me, and because there may be some practical value I can extract from the conversation.
The same goes with even this blog post. Why am I talking to you in general concepts and relating them to improving your conversational skills rather than focusing on teaching English? Because you’ve probably never taught English and thus are unlikely able to relate or be in a position to find that information to have much practical value.
Catering your speech to the interest of your audience will make it much more likely they’ll take something away from their conversation with you. It also makes them more likely to engage and insert their input into the conversation, which makes things more interesting for both of you!
Are you the kind of person that thinks small talk is pointless and just wants to get to the point? I don’t blame you. I was like that growing up too. Especially in business conversations I never understood why they’d ask me about the town I grew up in or what sports I enjoyed playing in high school? I always thought it was totally inauthentic. Shut the fuck up. We both know why we’re here. Let’s put together a deal and make some fucking money.
What I’ve since come to learn, however, is that even in business or educational settings people need time to get comfortable with you. When you jump straight into your speech without addressing and acknowledging the other person without some level of small talk beforehand it has the potential to cause more difficulty for you for one BIG reason.
It doesn’t give the other person time to feel comfortable and open up to you. Remember when you were a kid and your dad would yell at you to swing the bat differently or your mom would scream at you to clean your room? You likely closed yourself off to them emotionally because you felt they didn’t understand you, and even if their advice was valid you didn’t heed it to the extent you would’ve if they’d asked nicely.
The reality is that just not being mean doesn’t prevent a conversation from dying. Showing the other person that you care about them, and value them as a human being and not just a business or social commodity is HUGE.
When you make someone feel that you care about them they begin to care about you as a person as well AND they become infinitely more receptive to any material you may be attempting to convey to them. Apply this concept in your life alone and you’ll drastically increase the interest others take in you even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly interesting person. Being interested in others is one of the best ways to be seen as interesting yourself.
3) Explain New Concepts Based On Existing Points of Reference
Imagine you’re learning English. Someone tells you to meet them on their front porch. You ask, “What does front porch mean?”
They reply, “Well you know, it’s just like the back porch, but it’s in the front of my house.”
Would that help you? Not really, you’d know a front porch wasn’t in the back of the house, but you still wouldn’t know what the word porch meant. Why was your friend’s explanation unhelpful? Because they tried to explain a concept to you using a point of reality you’d never established.
Language is a great example of this concept because we intuitively understand that if someone doesn’t understand a word that we shouldn’t use that word in a definition for itself. Instead, we’re more likely to offer that person examples, show them pictures, or simply give them a definition using other words that they already know.
The same applies to all teaching. You can only expand others’ realities by building upon points of reference they’ve already established. Understanding this concept is perhaps THE biggest differentiator between poor teachers and great ones.
Poor teachers lose their students by answering questions with tangents that exist outside the student’s knowledge base while great teachers relate new information to old information that the student already understands. The great teacher and poor teacher can both have the same level of knowledge themselves, but only the great teacher leverages their knowledge in a way that allows students to absorb it.
Hey, hope you enjoyed the post! It’s something that’s really boiled inside of me over these past few weeks as I dove deep into the psychology of the teacher-student dynamic. I’ve got some SEO work for a client that I gotta hit hard so I’m gonna shoot out now. Subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss out on KICKASS posts in the future, and feel free to check out my books on Amazon until next time. Peace!
If you’re at all well-versed in self-development you’ve no doubt heard things like; It’s about the journey not the destination, or it’s all about enjoying the process. I’ve always agreed with these statements and did my best to live by them. Dan Millman made a nuanced point during his interview, however, that was an absolute paradigm shifter for me.
These aren’t exact quotes, but to paraphrase Dan he said something like this, “Sure, the journey is important. It’s important to enjoy the journey, however, recognize that the journey does not exist without a destination!”
Again, he put things much more elegantly in comparison to my botched quote from memory, but you get the point.
Having a destination in mind doesn’t detract from your journey and ability to enjoy the processes of your daily life. Having goals and a direction you’re attempting to move toward actually creates the journey.
Without goals, or a destination in mind you’re completely susceptible to blowing aimlessly like a leaf in the wind.
Without goals what would incentivize you to go on your journey? Without a destination what would you use as leverage to persevere through the difficult moments of the journey?
When you’re working a shitty job, or having to take boring classes to further your future how are you supposed to enjoy yourself?
My suggestion is focusing on whatever small elements of the task you do enjoy doing (stereotypical advice on enjoying the process), but also recognizing and appreciating that the tasks are bringing you closer towards your goals and the destination you desire.
Having goals is what’ll allow you to maintain an upbeat attitude despite the various encounters you’ll have with adversity during your life.
Having goals is often the difference between someone that sees a shitty job or difficult period of their life optimistically as a stepping stone and challenge to overcome rather than someone who is negative and exists only to complain about their existence.
Something that isn’t frequently discussed but has been on my mind a lot recently is the fact that seriously pursuing self-development from a young age has a significant chance of causing you to feel extremely insecure and unhappy at times for a period of several years. You could actually argue that self-development temporarily decreases the quality of your life at the beginning of your journey.
For example, if you opt to skip college and immediately enter the work force or go into business you’re likely to feel insecure about your circumstances for some period of time simply because the trajectory of your life is completely uncertain for several years until you’ve finally gotten yourself somewhat established.
Conversely, it’s extremely easy to feel comfortable in university simply because you’re doing almost the exact same thing as the previous twelve years of your life.
That’s not to say that going to university is an unintelligent or irresponsible decision. It may be for some people, but attending university can be a good choice for many people as well.
However, it’s undeniable that one of the reasons university is so appealing is that having the responsibility of figuring our your role as a contributing member to society temporarily deferred helps significantly in maintaining peace of mind, at least for the time being.
Of course, going to university with the self-development mindset and building for the future can cause significant stress as well. While others are majoring in fun but unmarketable degrees like sociology because it’s their “passion,” you’re grinding it out in a difficult major that’ll actually land you a solid career after school.
You’re hitting the books hard in your business classes while trying to get internships so that you can get a decent gig on Wall Street after school.
Otherwise maybe you’re building crazy things in your computer science classes while also getting paid absolute shite (or even nothing) to code for a start-up on the side that’s providing you with an awesome educational opportunity and connections.
Regardless of whether you find Wall Street or computer science rewarding it’s undeniable that there’s aspects of every career that suck.
You may enjoy 80% of your work if you picked an appropriate major for yourself, but that still leaves 20% of your work as shit you’re going to have to sling your way through even if you want to rip your eyes out in the process.
Part of being a young man that wants to establish himself quickly also means that you’re going to be working LONG hours, and this phase of your life with a poor work-life balance will likely last many years. This is a prime example of deferred gratification and at least in part sacrificing the present for a better future.
Whether you’ve chosen to go to university or not you’re again playing for deferred gains. I’m sure you’ve heard the Napoleon Hill quote, “The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.”
This is great; when you’re the guy being paid for more than he does. For now, however, you’re going to be the little guy in the dirt that society does not yet value. In addition to lacking professional status you’re also working harder than your superiors (who you may even be more intelligent than), but your income is only a fraction of theirs.
Quick advancements up the corporate ladder, or the success of your independent endeavors usually require that at least initially you work a TON of hours and take on lots of shitty projects nobody else wants to touch.
Long hours, demanding work conditions, and poor compensation that results in shitty living conditions. Sounds like fun!
Your value as a man on the dating market isn’t going to hit its prime until your mid-30’s. Although it’s obviously possible to date attractive women while you’re young it’s significantly more difficult to do so.
You’ve likely only had a couple experiences with women (if you’re really young or had social anxiety growing up perhaps none) in your young life thus far. Therefore, you likely lack the charisma and social skills necessary to get with the most desirable women. In addition women simply don’t like to date younger men.
Let’s not forget that you’re working extremely hard which is likely to result in you being more stressed than the guys who just chill, plus the fact that you don’t have access to significantly more resources than the guys who have taken the path of least-resistance and refused to put themselves in environments that stress and challenge them.
You’ll certainly have more value than these men in the dating market in a decade, but very few women have a wide enough perspective to see that (nor should they as it’s not their duty to take themselves off the market when they’re most valuable to date a guy that is years away from having comparable value).
As a result the guys who have less cortisol running through their body (from not putting themselves through the fire at work), and that have a greater ability to be chill with women because they’ve spent their whole lives doing so get the best girls over you. Shucky darn darn!
By seriously pursuing self-development and being the type of person who would read this blog you’re likely weeeeeird. I’m not saying that you lack basic social skills and are afraid to talk to the cashier when you go to the grocery store (though that could certainly be possible as difficulty socializing and the pain of social rejection drives a lot of men looking for a solution into self-development).
Rather what I’m saying is that by taking the “red-pill” so to speak you likely lack compatibility with most people. If you don’t watch sports, you don’t play beer-pong, and you don’t gossip at work, well god man what do you do? That’s the perspective of the masses.
However, let’s say you’re not shouting your non-conformity to the world. Let’s say that most people just see you as a hard-worker and aren’t aware of your bizarre “red-pill” world-view and the extent of your aspirations. Let’s even say that most people like you because you’re a generally positive person who is actively trying to give more to them than you take.
The reality is that it’s still lonely at times. Sure, you’ve got your dreams and goals and they’re coming more into focus with every passing month, every passing year. You love that.
The discouraging reality, however, is that there’s still a huge gap that needs to be closed before you achieve them and in the meantime you’re stuck trying to interact with people you have difficult relating with on anything but the most superficial of levels.
It’s not nice to say, but the truth is it’s difficult to have meaningful conversations with most people because you’re forced to parrot their own beliefs back to them.
If you say anything that threatens their current beliefs they become defensive and if you expose the various inaccurate assumptions in their belief-system you’re more likely to lose a friend because you were “being mean,” than to help them form an improved set of beliefs that better serve them.
It’s also difficult for you to find other driven people you can connect with. Why? First because driven people capable of having intellectually stimulating conversations and willing to go on crazy adventures with you are extremely rare.
I left my comfortable home in the small town of Racine, Wisconsin and skipped the well-trodden path of a four-year degree to move to Vietnam and join the digital nomad scene here at age 18. Do you know how impossible of a task it would’ve been to find someone from my high school to come with me?
So Steve I know you’re going to college to become an electrician, but I got an idea. Why don’t you save every penny you earn working at the bowling alley for the next year, tell your girlfriend you’re skipping junior prom to save money, and graduate high school a semester early with me to go and have an uncertain chance of building a location-independent business in Vietnam together?
Even just writing this caused me to literally laugh out loud. You could actually try saying that, and it’d be an awesome joke for your self-amusement because it would be so far out of the average teenager’s reality that they wouldn’t even know how to respond.
The chance of stumbling upon people you can form legitimate connections with and not have to dumb yourself down is essentially nonexistent. Especially in your teenage years; you’re basically crossing your fingers and praying you’ll meet someone that has a brain… and you’re unlikely to if you’re not proactive in your search.
The only realistic paths to meeting other driven people are to:
Go to prestigious universities or join high level athletic teams (The discipline it takes to attend Yale or become a college athlete means the average person you’re surrounded by is far above average.
There’s likely many book-smart people that are useless outside the classroom or meatheads useless off the court, but at least being in these environments gives you a better ratio of future-successful peers and attracts some of the other truly intelligent people our age.
Become highly successful in business (which is unlikely to occur for a number of years until you develop the skill-sets and knowledge for success).
Pay for mentorship, do grunt work for a mentor, or otherwise provide value or luck into a relationship with a driven person that’s achieved success.
Move to Chiang Mai, Saigon, or some other city where other nonconventional thinkers and freelancers/business owners congregate.
Perhaps I’ve overlooked something but the point is this; until you get into a position where you’re bringing lots of value to society and your peer group organically improves you’re going to have difficultly and have to be extremely proactive if you want to find people you can relate with.
The reality is that most young people on our path simply don’t make enough of an effort to find others to relate with and are as a result are at least somewhat lonely. Perhaps something that could help you if you’re in this camp is getting a girlfriend (which is ironic because we just discussed why doing so can be somewhat difficult).
She almost certainly won’t be able to relate with you on an intellectual level (of course like we just said most guys can’t either). However, At least you’ll be relate and share pleasurable energy by being romantic and sweet with each other as well as connecting on a sexual level.
I’ve done a lot of diagnosing of problems in this post, but have done little in the form of offering solutions. The reason is that I’m just another guy like you trying to figure things out. Maybe in a decade I’ll be able to authoritatively say do this, this, and this.
For the time being, however, I’m working more on solving these problems in my life before I become the guru for others. With that being said there are a few insights I have had that you may find useful.
The first is that it’s normal to feel insecure and unhappy for much of your teenage years and early twenties. This is in part because you’re working hard, and deferring your gratification to the future.
Unfortunately you haven’t yet spent enough time working hard that you have high-quality life circumstances and past deferred gratification to rely on. Because of that you’re forced to go through a painful period of time when you’re working harder than your peers but experiencing the same or even fewer rewards than them.
Another cause for insecurity and unhappiness is that there’s a large gap between the person you want to be and who you are today. Feeling hungry and motivated by this fact is good.
Beating yourself up over it is unintelligent because you can’t change your past actions nor is being too harsh with yourself going to be productive for your ability to create a better future.
For that reason, you should acknowledge where you’ve come short in the past and where you can do better in the future, but then let go and not feel the need to kill your self-esteem in the process.
Of course this is easier said than done. It’s difficult to change the way you feel about this contrast. Do your best though.
In our discussion about women we said that you’re probably at least a decade away from reaching your prime as a man on the dating market. What’s important to realize, however, is that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date.
I don’t advocate chasing endless tail and throwing every night of your life at women like most partying guys our age are doing, but I do believe there’s a lot of self-growth that can occur from interacting with women.
Dating women is also nice because it’s the exact opposite of working. After being in your head in a logical mood all day you can joke around with girls, stimulate and connect with your emotional side, let go and refresh from work, and manage your natural need as a man to release without porn fucking up your brain.
The women also benefits from your relationship as well because you’re likely a far better influence on her life than most guys your age would’ve been.
Let’s not forget that women can also provide significant motivation for you to excel in life as well. When a girl you really like doesn’t want to be in a relationship or sleep with you it’s possible to use that as leverage to hit the gym, or work on your social skills.
Of course, women can also be destructive if you date the wrong ones or don’t properly channel motivation from them. This is something you’ll improve at with time.
Ultimately, even though you’re likely going through some insecurity and unhappiness at this stage of your life that doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.
This doesn’t mean everyday should be a painful struggle and hellish nightmare you debate whether it’s worth crawling through. There’s a balance, but you’re smart enough to know that.
It’s also important to acknowledge that there is a long-term payoff for going through this period and that even though you’re on the grind there’s still a lot of great things going on in your life.
There’s many reasons for you to still be happy most of the time, and if you’re managing your life real intelligently you can even be happier than the masses despite being in the midst of the most painful and emotionally challenging period of your life.
Take pleasure in the little things each day; the high off of endorphins you get after hitting the gym, the abundant energy you have as a result of being in your youth and eating a healthy diet, intellectual growth you experience through reading self-development and other educational material, seeing your dreams come closer and the circumstances of your life improving everyday.
When you’re feeling insecure about your future don’t hope for a better tomorrow. Take massive action to create it and realize there’s so much to be grateful for and your position is so much more enviable than someone who’s just coasting and is going to spend the rest of their life paying for their refusal to build a solid foundation in their early years.
Going on this path of serious self-development and deferring much of your gratification to the future can be extremely difficult at times, but both the person you’ll become as a result of this challenge and the circumstances you’ll eventually find yourself in will ultimately have made your efforts worth it ten times over.
One day you’ll look back fondly on this period of your life, the struggles you overcame, the adventures you went on, and you’ll be forever grateful you made the decision to keep pushing forward.
My just released book How to Get Your First Girlfriend is currently free. If you’re looking to improve your dating life or learn how to create a romantic relationship for yourself check it out!
(First picture is a magazine stand in Tokyo. Second picture is the Tokyo Dome. Both pictures taken in Japan last month.)
My flight from Dallas to Tokyo went great. Well, as great as one could ask a 13 hour flight to go. I touched down at Narita airport in Japan around 4:30 P.M. After getting through immigrations an hour later I was unsure of where I was going to go.
I’m comfortable enough with traveling at this point that I don’t care to do excessive research and planning beforehand. I prefer to simply show up and explore once I’m there. There were dozens of potential destinations I could visit from the train in Narita, but as I had booked a hotel in Asakusa I decided I’d head there and explore the rest of Tokyo the following days.
I got to Asakusa just over an hour later. It’s perhaps 7:30 P.M. I’ve dealt with severely rationed airline food for the last 24 hours so I decide I’ll get dinner. I walk around Asakusa looking for a place to eat. I see Denny’s. No thank you. I see a few other westerners eating inside, however, and I’m amused that they’d go to the effort of traveling to the other side of the world only to eat the same food we have back home. It’s something I’ve never understood.
I walk down the street, however, taking a couple turns as I explore. I eventually stumble to an inexpensive, yet authentic looking Japanese restaurant. I sit down, and being conscious of the fact I’m no longer accustomed to Asian foods, I order a simple cashew chicken dish.
I sit back in my chair, relaxing. Feeling grateful to finally have the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the nomad lifestyle again after working a lot and living a fast-paced lifestyle this summer. My food arrives and it’s delicious. Yum. I’ve missed you Asian food.
I pay the bill, head out and decide I’ll start looking for my hotel. It’s just after 8 P.M. I head back the way I came, remembering that the Denny’s I passed was in the background of the picture I’d seen online of my hotel. I get back to Denny’s and begin my search. I cross the street, because it appeared from the picture online that the hotel was on the other side of the street.
I look around, however, and am unable to find my hotel. I pull up the Maps app on my phone, but without internet access I’m unable to find anything. I continue to search, looking for a pretty slummy place as my hotel was only $16 for the night. After walking through several alleys and being unable to find my hotel I conclude that perhaps I’m just looking on the wrong side of the street.
I explore the other side of the street and find a nice hotel with Asakusa in it’s name. That’s too luxurious to be mine I think, but it’s been an hour of searching already so I silently pray. I walk through the doors of the hotel and ask the front desk if I’m at the right hotel. I’m not. Damn it.
Fortunately, the Japanese are known for being among the most helpful people on Earth and I can say that they without exception lived up to their reputation. The receptionist at the front desk not only points me in the general direction of my hotel, but she also prints out a map for me, marks where I am and where I need to go, and she even finds a picture of my hotel online for me.
I’m grateful for all of this, but I can’t help but nervously laugh as she shows me a picture of my hotel in a new light. Hehehe. I’d expected my hotel to have shitty beds or lack modern toilets. I thought non-private rooms and poor amenities was a fair compromise in exchange for $16/night in a good location. Maybe not. My hotel was a ghetto brick building with graffiti sprayed over the front of the building. Maybe my brother was right. Maybe I am staying at a prostitution house.
As formal and polite as the Japanese are I can’t help but sense the sweet receptionist wants to unleash a laugh of pity at my accommodation for the night. I don’t blame her.
“Ummm thank you.”
I head out and go back to the other side of the street again searching the various alleys for hours. I asked countless people if they knew where my hotel was. Everyone tried to help. They’d all look at my map and point me into a different neighborhood, but my hotel was elusive.
By about 1:00 A.M. I all but gave up finding my hotel. I thought about walking into another hotel and getting a room, but decided against it. For one doing so is expensive, but I also thought I was in the midst of a cool adventure and I thought that if I kept going I’d at least have a cool story to tell.
I needed a break though. Five hours of walking while carrying a backpack with your entire life in it gets tiring. I walk down several streets looking for a suitable rest place; eventually finding a closed restaurant or perhaps it was a coffee shop. I’m unsure. Regardless it has tables outside so I take a seat. I use wi-fi from the hotel connected to the restaurant as they’ve left it unprotected.
I begin texting my girlfriend. She lives in Vietnam (where I’d lived for 2.5 months earlier this year) and it’s difficult to describe how excited we are. We still have several days before we see each other, and we’re still two time zones apart, but just knowing that we’re no longer on opposite sides of the world is comforting.
Being as transparent as I am, I admit to her that I’ve been unable to find my hotel and am wandering the streets. Maybe it would’ve been better not to tell her that, but I just have this urge to tell people the truth regardless.
She panics and to comfort her I say, “Hey, why don’t you video chat me? That way you know I’m ok.”
She does and I’m incredibly excited to see her face again. While we’re talking I notice two men who appear to be homeless walking past. One continues walking down the street and I don’t see him again. The other homeless man decides to camp out and lays down on the bench 30 feet in front of me.
I continue talking to my girlfriend thinking nothing of him. After a few minutes, however, he stands up and begins walking towards me. He stops perhaps 10 feet from me with only the short metal fence of the restaurant separating us. He stares at me, seemingly annoyed and my girlfriend notices a change in my facial expression.
“What’s wrong baby?”
She turns her head and squints her eyes. I know this look. The game is over. She knows there’s more to the story.
“Umm… there’s a homeless man by me. I think he’s mad because we were talking too loud and woke him up.”
I can’t remember her response, because I was focused on trying to read this man to see if there was any real danger. I couldn’t sense any, but I identified the whereabouts of my backpack on the chair next to me, and grabbed my computer in case I needed to run.
As I predicted, however, after continuing to ignore him while keeping my girlfriend calm he walked away and left me alone with the entire street to myself.
My girlfriend and I continued to chat for another 30 minutes; continually having to reconnect as the wi-fi I was grabbing from the hotel was quite spotty. We eventually finished talking and being the caring, protective girlfriend she is said,
“Cam be careful.”
I decide to rest for a few more minutes. I take advantage of the wi-fi and read several self-development articles on my phone.
It’s past 3 A.M. by this point. I’m supposed to check out of my hotel by 10 A.M. Any chance of a full night’s sleep is dead by this point, but I decide to head back across the street and search the neighborhood my hotel is supposed to be in one last time.
I search for 30 minutes unsuccessfully. I’m not surprised that I’m unable to find it. I’ve already been down most of the streets and alleys in this neighborhood a half-dozen times. However, when walking down one the narrow streets I notice something I hadn’t seen before. It’s a hotel with Asakusa in it’s name!
To be fair, the part of Tokyo I’m in is called Asakusa so many of the hotels have Asakusa in their name. Since arriving I’d already been to 3-4 hotels that I thought could’ve been mine but weren’t. Therefore, I’m not sure if this is my hotel. It’s in the same general area but I can’t seem to spot the sketchy graffiti it’s supposed to have. I don’t think it’s my hotel.
Regardless I try to enter through the front doors. Damn it they’re locked. I read some instructions, however, and they say if you arrive past 2 A.M. you can still enter through the back doors. I walk around the block and climb some stairs to get to the back doors. They’re unlocked. I’m in.
I find it incredibly bizarre that I’ve somehow made it to the second floor of the hotel without checking in and without anyone aware of my presence. I find some stairs and walk down to the first floor hoping to find someone to check me in. Instead I’m greeted by a few slightly drunk backpackers getting ready to get in the elevator.
“Hey mate what’re ya doing?”
“Looking for the front desk to check-in.”
“I don’t think anyone’s around anymore. But hey, there’s a nice chair in the lobby. It’s got some nice cushions. You can probably grab a good nap there.”
I take their advice. I lay in the cushioned chair. It’s 3:45 A.M. I don’t think this is my hotel and I’m made slightly nervous by the 10,000 yen trespassing fee sign they’ve hung on the wall. I decide that I’ve got a map and a good alibi though if worst comes to worst. To be on the safe side I’ll just take a quick nap as well so that I’m able to get out of here before the morning staff is up.
I set an alarm for 4:30. For the next 45 minutes I enter a blur of semi-consciousness. I’m awake enough to know I’m not asleep, but I’m asleep enough to not perceive much of anything around me.
My alarm wakes me through my headphones and I’m surprised that I’m not feeling tired. I am slightly delirious; at least I think I am. Maybe I’m too delirious to tell. I can’t find a place to leave on the first floor so I head back to where I’d entered on the second floor. Upon preparing to open the door I notice another sign, however.
If opened this door will sound an emergency alarm.
Shitttt. I debate whether I should just give up and go back to sleep on the cushy chair downstairs, but I decide against it. As I get ready to open the door I mentally prepare myself for the events I’m anticipating. I vividly imagine a thunderous alarm sounding and having to run out of the building Hollywood style as I seek to make my escape into one of the nearby dark alleys.
I reach out, bracing myself as I turn the door handle. I clench my teeth as I bend my arm pulling the door towards me. I’m pleasantly surprised. No alarm is perceptible to me. I’ve not noticed any change. I still head out quickly as I feel I’ve overstayed my visit.
I walk briskly through the various alleys; taking several turns and attempting to put as much distance between me and the hotel as possible. I escape back to the main street through a side alley. I cross the street heading back to the neighborhood where I’d poached wi-fi from the hotel and met the homeless man.
I head back to the table I was sitting at, collapse onto the chair, and stare blankly into the sky as the sun preps itself to rise. I’m in disbelief at the strange sequence of events my homeless night in Tokyo entailed, but I’m amazed by the adventure it brought and I can’t wait to tell others my story. For that reason, and not knowing what else to do I decide to record a video (the one at the top of this blog post) on a very jet lagged 45 minutes of sleep.
My night made me realize something. You can improve at story-telling by developing your public speaking skills or by learning the technical elements of how to tell a story. I don’t deny that and I don’t think anyone would. If you care to tell better stories you certainly should do those things.
There’s another thing you can do as well, however, that I think less people cover. You can say YES. When you try to talk to a girl and she’s mean to you at first don’t stop there. See if you can flip things around. When you’re a writer and you only have two days before vacation don’t use that as an excuse not to write. Finish an ENTIRE ebook in those two days so you’ll know you EARNED your vacation. When you can’t find your hotel don’t give up looking. Take the opportunity to experience being homeless.
Be smart about things (A big reason I was willing to go homeless for the night is that I was in one of the safest countries in the world) but say YES. Put yourself in circumstances where you’ll experience CRAZY things, experience things that will ignite TREMENDOUS personal growth, and I guarantee you’ll make AMAZING memories for yourself, and always have THE BEST stories.
After a few more days in Tokyo I moved back to Saigon, Vietnam at the beginning of August. I’ve finished a few writing projects during that time, one of them being a new ebook on how to get your first girlfriend.
I just got back from the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within event in Chicago. Although it’d be impossible to give you every life enhancing lesson I learned at the seminar I thought it’d be beneficial for you if we quickly covered a few of the most important things I learned.
The first insight I’d offer you is that reading blog posts and watching free videos online isn’t enough for you to develop yourself at the fastest rate possible.
I say that not because I’m trying to sell you something, but because if you’re financially minimalistic as I am it’s incredibly easy to think that attending live events isn’t worth it. After all, most of the information you’ll get at the events could be found online for free if you were willing to search long enough for it.
However, with that being, you’ll likely save a significant amount of time by attending a live event because most of the crud has already been filtered out and you’l be learning only the most powerful methods of changing your life.
Beyond that, realize that the acquisition of new information often isn’t the most important reason for you to attend an event. If you’ve been an avid reader of my blog the past few years you’d have already “known” more than 90% of the material covered at the Tony Robbins seminar I attended.
If you’re reading this blog post you probably already understand that the internet’s greatest strength is that it allows you to quickly gain an overview of a broad set of ideas. However, this is also the internet’s greatest weakness.
Because it’s so easy for you to read blog posts or watch free videos online it’s incredibly easy to take the information you learn for granted. If you’ve been consuming works of self-development for a few years you probably already understand almost every key concept on an intellectual level. You could probably explain the 80/20 rule, the pain vs pleasure principle, etc, to someone else fairly easily.
Yet, why are so many people able to learn about these things while continuing to stagnate in their life? It’s very simple. If you know what you should be doing in life, but you’re not putting it into action you don’t actually “know” what you are supposed to be doing.
I’m not saying that you lack the knowledge to intellectually understand what needs to be done. Rather, the reason you’re failing to change your behavior is because you lack the emotional anchors necessary to do so.
This is why attending seminars can be extremely beneficial. When you listen to a speaker live you’re going to experience a greater emotional response and thus have the potential to develop a greater emotional anchor to the concepts they’re offering to you vs when you read a blog post they’ve written.
This is partially because you’ve paid for the privilege of attending the event and thus your brain emotionally rationalizes to itself that the information must be worth more than a free blog post.
However, it’s also because you’re in an immersive environment where hundreds or thousands of other people are focused intently on the person speaking on stage. This social proof again reinforces for your brain that the information is extremely important and thus you’re more likely to develop an emotional anchor to the concept and actually apply and embody it.
Of course, the ultimate emotional anchors come from real life experiences. The most powerful learning and behavioral change occurs when you recognize that doing something brought you pleasure or failing to do something brought you pain.
Key Insights From Tony Robbins’ UPW Event
Of course, although simply discussing the value of attending live events could have been a blog post in itself I also think you’d benefit from reading about some of the important concepts I learned this weekend.
Your Beliefs Have Ripple Effects
Whether you think you’re too young to travel, you believe that you’re unable to start a business because you lack an MBA, or you feel that money is evil, everyone has limiting beliefs. Regardless of what limiting beliefs you hold it’s important to make a very important distinction.
Understand that your limiting beliefs don’t hold you back from success only in a specific area of your life. A limiting belief actually causes you to have more difficulty attaining success in every area of your life.
Feeling that money is evil is a rationalization often formed as an excuse not to continually grow and face the larger challenges in life that inevitably accompany generating a larger income. Thus, feeling money is evil not only damages your finances, but it also can limit your ability to pursue personal growth.
In addition, having tight finances can also limit your ability to support your family, friends, charity, etc, and thus reduce your ability to feel as if you’re contributing to the world. This can make you feel less significant. Lacking disposable income can also limit you from purchasing healthy foods which damages your health.
We could go on and on, but the point is that a limiting belief causes damage far beyond what you may expect. You could be upset by this because it means even one significant limiting belief could greatly reduce the quality of your life, but I’d actually encourage you to feel the opposite.
You should feel grateful because now that you’re aware of this concept you’ll have even more leverage to remove your limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering beliefs that can cause an upward spiral in your quality of life.
Physiology & Emotions State Shifts
You probably already aware that your physiology affects your psychology. The way you walk, talk, and move matters because doing these things in different ways causes different brain chemicals to be released. These brain chemicals change how you think and feel and thus change the actions you take and eventually shape the life you create for yourself.
If you sit with poor posture you’re going to feel worse, have less energy, and struggle to produce optimal results. You already know that changing the way you sit would improve your results. What you may not know is just how quickly and dramatically changing your physiology can change the way you feel.
If you’re slouched over watching television, jump up, scream yes five times, bang your chest, and let out the loudest battle cry of your life for 15 seconds.
If you make a genuine attempt at this there’s no way you won’t dramatically improve your emotional state and thus increase the likelihood you’ll feel more able to take positive actions.
Even better is that as you practice changing your physiology to shift your emotional state you’ll become more adept at changing the way you feel.
Changing your physiology isn’t a magic pill solution that’ll allow you to effortlessly coast through life while still attaining massive success, but you’d be surprised at how able you are to instantly change the way you feel.
At first you’ll feel strange beating your chest, and screaming. You may even feel inauthentic and as if you’re trying to be something that you are not.
This is simply your body’s resistance to you changing your physiology because it is so familiar and comfortable with whatever emotional states you currently experience most frequently.
Keep practicing, and changing your physiology soon won’t be so uncomfortable for you and your default emotional state will be of a much higher quality.
Picture is from the Tony Robbins July 2015 Chicago Unleash the Power Within event.
You choose a goal for yourself. You research the best way to go about achieving that goal. You begin taking action towards your goal. You see very little in terms of results. You give up.
Don’t bullshit me. You know this has happened to you. You probably wrote off your strategy as being the reason you were unsuccessful in your endeavor. “I didn’t succeed because I didn’t have the right plan.” I get what you’re saying. I’ve said the same thing hundreds of times.
Like you, I’ve failed at many things. I’ve failed to kiss girls when I knew it was the right thing to do, I’ve failed to make enough money to sustain myself (without taking money from my savings) my first time abroad in Asia, and in many regards I’ve failed at being a good family member.
We all fail. Often we fail and it’s the end of the story. But it doesn’t have to be. One kid gets cut from his middle school basketball basketball team and decides to quit. Another kid gets cut from the team and practices several hours per day for an entire year so that he’s able to join the team next season. Through the boy’s persistence and consistency he’s able to will his way towards a spot on the court.
At age 13 that boy has already learned something most people haven’t. He’s learned the most important ingredient to making progress in any endeavor — sticking to it.
In today’s society we’re “heady” people. We like to plan, we like to analyze, and we like to discuss strategy. Those are all wonderful things, but the reality is that they’re irrelevant if you fail to apply them. A job well planned has no value until it’s begun the process of becoming a job well done.
That’s not to say shortcuts don’t exist. You may think you need to be a retired rich person to travel. Nope, totally unneccessary. Instead of traveling western Europe or Australia splurging tourist style for $4,000+/month instead travel Southeast Asia like a local for $400-800. Boom. In one small shift to your strategy you were able to decrease your expenses by 80%.
Can’t scrounge together $800/month to travel Asia? It’s ok. If you want you can always learn to be a digital nomad and create an online income for yourself later. In the meantime, however, there’s no excuse not to travel if that’s your dream. Money does not need to be a barrier.
Why? Because you’ve got a good strategy. You realize that although it would be nice to have 1,000s of dollars of passive income every month that those simply aren’t yet the circumstances of your life. For the moment you’re dealing with the broke hand in life.
You only have $2,000 but you want to travel around the world for a year. What do you do? One possibility is you could use a website such as Helpx or Workaway.info. In exchange for a few hours of help on an organic farm, in a hostel, teaching English, etc. per day you’re able to have accomodation covered by your host and you’re able to receive a more authentic view into the culture of the place you’re visiting. Voluntourism is an amazing solution that you can only come to if you’re willing to spend time and energy thinking outside the box.
Intelligent planning is important because it allows you to find shortcuts and the optimal strategy (or at least the best strategy you’re capable of identifying), but there’s still more to than that to making progress in something. In the end, the result you produce in any endeavor is roughly equivalent to the effectiveness of your strategy times your ability to remain consistent in applying that strategy.
Effectiveness of your strategy times consistency equals your result.
Therefore, if you want to make signficant progress towards a goal you need to do two things.
(A.) Spend time analyzing your situation and goal to determine the optimal strategy for the pursuit of that goal for someone in your unique circumstances.
(B) Remain consistent in carrying out tasks in alignment with your strategy.
People glorify strategy rather than implementation because strategy is sexier. But of course, progress cannot be made without the implementation of your strategies. You may have heard this before, but even if not, you’re surely able to understand this concept upon having it brought to your attention.
The truth about making progress towards your goals is that although short cuts may exist for some of them, in most cases you’re going to have to work a long time for what you want.
If you want to become more fit your results lay mainly in your ability to consistently get to the gym. If you want to become a skilled writer you needs to write thousands of pages. If you want to be a better comedian you need to perform in lots of shows.
However, the one nuanced point most people fail to mention is that the best way to make progress isn’t to rely on a perfect strategy upfront (that delays your project an infinite amount of time as you procrastinate in search of it) or to simply remain consistent in the implementation of your intial strategy.
The ultimate strategy for any nonfatal endeavor is to start quickly and remain consistent, receive lots of real-world feedback based upon the implemention of your initial strategy, use that feedback to refine your strategy, and to consistently apply your new strategy as you remain introspective and continue to look for ways you can further refine your strategy.
Again, that’s the secret. Consistently show up, refine your strategy, show up, further refine your strategy, and continue being a consistent action taker that is able to be introspective in identifying the flaws in your strategy. DO THIS over a long period of time and YOU WILL MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS and guarantee your success.
Note: Of course sometimes you don’t need to consistently do something and stick to it because it’s truly not the right thing for you. Having the ability to accurately assess and be honest with yourself in what you should pursue is another difficult to acquire trait but something that will have tremendous value regardless of what you want from life.
Bonus: Watch the video below to see an example of showing up over a long period of time. I’ve included a clip from the first vlog I ever recorded in 2013 to show what a dramatic difference a couple years can make when you’re consistently taking action toward your goal (which in my case was recording videos to become a better public speaker). Compare the video below to the video at the beginning of this post or any of my videos from 2015 and you’ll see a DRAMATIC difference in the way I carry myself and my ability to deliver speeches.
Maybe it’s premature of me to write this post. I’m admittedly still making tons of mistakes and learning how to effectively navigate through life myself, but I’d like to offer you some things I’ve found useful in determining what choice to make when you’ve got a life altering decision before you. Whether you’re deciding if you want to go to college, quit your job, end a relationship, or travel the world, here are some things I’d recommend you consider.
Call To Adventure
The first criteria which you must evaluate when making a life changing decision, especially as a young man is if something is your call to adventure. This was a concept introduced to me by Elliott Hulse. The idea is that during tribal times young men often had to go through some type of initiation process to transition from adolescence to adulthood.
These days, however, your family probably isn’t too keen to send you off on a quest to kill a lion. Therefore, the responsibility now lies completely in your hands to create a challenge which you must face and overcome. You can choose to shy away from your call to adventure, but this inevitably leads to prolonged adolescence as a result of refusing to mature and accept additional responsibilities. Worse than that, however, ignoring the calling of your heart leads you to resent yourself (and those around you).
Almost everyone around you has given up on their dreams at some point. This is why when you walk down the street people look beaten down by life. Most people do not live by their values (or even know what their values are) and thus use television and other stimulants in an attempt to alleviate the negative emotions they experience as a result of not being the person they want to be.
When you’re making a decision involving your call to adventure it will usually take a form similar to this, “I can do option ‘A’ (obtain college degree out of obligation rather than as a necessary prerequisite for the career you’d love to have, take the well-trodden path to success your parents have laid out for you, etc) and I’m likely to be ‘successful’ (or at least what society labels as successful). If I choose this path my life is almost certain to turn out ‘OK’.”
“Alternatively, I can do option ‘B’ (travel the world for a year via voluntourism, attempt to make a living as a freelance writer online, etc). This is what I feel drawn to do, but I’m just not sure about it. This option is daunting and just doesn’t seem as ‘practical’ to me.”
You already know which option I’m going to tell you to take. Don’t ignore the calling of your heart. Have confidence in your ability to structure your life in a way that allows you to be adventurous and do that which you are drawn towards. This leads us into the next principle…
It’s Not About What You Get
One of the arguments people often have regarding ventures perceived as risky is that they may not give you the same material gains. This is actually an accurate assesment. While following the calling of your heart can sometimes produce lucrative returns, often doing so won’t make you rich initially, if ever. This is ok.
Money isn’t at all evil (the flow of cash is actually a representation that you’ve provided society with a product/service it perceives to be valuable). However, what is important to note is that you probably need a lot less money than you think to be happy. True happiness is derived much more from loving the things you do and being the person you want to be than material goods.
Think Principles, Not Emotions
This is the biggest key to making good decisions. Understand that following your heart is actually somewhat of a paradox because sometimes you’ll feel emotional resistance to that which you know is best for you.
I can remember experiencing fear a few months ago at the thought of leaving Wisconsin and everything I knew back home to come to Asia. I can even remember sitting in the O’Hare Airport in Chicago a few months ago wondering what would happen if I “accidentally” missed my flight.
I can remember the first time me and this cute Vietnamese girl (who would eventually become my girlfriend) were alone. I knew that kissing her was the right thing to do. I was attracted to her and knew that this was as good of a time as any to kiss her, but I still felt resistance. Why?
Because we have emotional momentum. We don’t want to be successful. Sure, we all say we want to be successful, but on another level we don’t. With every success you achieve comes an added level of responsibility. Perhaps even more emotionally jarring than that is your unconscious understanding that every success you achieve will fundamentally change you.
For that reason, your feelings won’t serve you to take actions that will produce real change. Biologically the purpose of your emotions are to keep you alive, not to assist you on some quest of self-actualization and spiritual fulfillment.
Therefore, you need to rely on principles which you act through. You can identify and develop your principles by evaluating that which you value in life as well as by studying the greats that have come before you and by adopting the principles they emphasized as being crucial to their own development.
Of course, you still need to grow a pair of cojones to actually execute on your principles, but having identified them can massively help in giving you the leverage to make difficult decisions.
Of course, if the principles you’ve identified still don’t give you enough leverage to take the proper course of action you have another tool available to you. You can burn your boats.
That’s what I did. I knew that taking my call to adventure and traveling Asia was what I needed at this point in my life. But to leave all I’d ever known behind was still something I found incredibly difficult. Like I said before, however, it’s usually in your best interest to act through your principles rather than your emotions.
Therefore I gave myself no option but to leave home. I dropped more than $1,000 on a handful of nonrefundable flights to, from, and within Asia. Once I’d obligated myself to a $1,000+ contract to carry out my journey it became significantly easier to do so.
Understand, however, that burning your boats does not entitle you to success. If you want to become an online entrepreneuer, dropping out of college won’t automatically make you successful. Dropping out of college is the easy part. The hard part is actually putting in the hustle needed for your vision to manifest. Dropping out can provide you with a stupendous amount of leverage, however, because if you don’t produce a result you’re fucked. There’s nothing to fall back on.
Therefore, the decision to burn the boats ultimately comes down to your willingness to hustle after doing so. If you’re going to hustle, then of course burn the boats because doing so will only give you additional fuel to your fire.
Common sense would then dictate that if you’re not willing to hustle you shouldn’t burn your boats. If I was writing to a mainstream audience I’d say that’s the perfect conclusion. Even for most of you reading this it’s probably the “right” thing to do.
What I’ve always done for myself, however, and what I recommend you consider is being aggresive in your willingness to burn the boats. This will result in one of two things:
(A.) You’ll benefit from burning your boats because doing so gave you the leverage to put in the hustle necessary to attain success. You’ll also experience significant growth because you were forced to expand to the increased demands you had to put on yourself in order to attain that success.
(B.) You don’t hustle and your life turns to rubbish. Unfortunately, despite this option being very painful, it is what many of us need in order to rid ourselves of complacency. Fortunately on the other hand, even if burning your boats didn’t give you enough leverage to take the proper actions to improve your life, often adversity will because your life circumstances force you to experience so much pain that they demand you to change!
I’m not perfect at making life changing decisions. With that being said, I’ve had to make enough of these decisions in the past year that I’ve grown fairly proficient at making them quickly and effectively. I hope if you’re going through adversity or have big decisions on the horizon that this post helps you make the right one.
As always, subscribe and we’ll be back with another post for you next week!
Note: I typically write a blog post and record the accompanying video within a day or so of each other. This blog post was written about a month before the video was recorded, however, because my last week in Asia (and Saigon especially) was so chaotic.
2nd Note: Did I kiss the Vietnamese girl despite feeling the resistance? Of course! She ended up becoming my amazing girlfriend as well. We gave each other the best 2.5 months of our lives, but we may never have had such an amazing relationship if I hadn’t kissed her and let her know how much I liked her that night. Now although I was uncomfortable that first time we were alone, the thought of us never being together is FAR worse.
3rd Note: If you’re reading this and there’s no place to subscribe it’s because my newsletter subscription box isn’t finished yet. I didn’t want to delay giving this blog post to you, however. Check back in 24 hours and you should be able to subscribe and no longer have to manually check the blog for updates.
Hey guys, sorry for going silent on you this past month! You wouldn’t even believe the sequence of events that recently occurred… But we’ll get to that another day. My long-term goal on this blog is to be as transparent as humanly possible, but for professional reasons and to respect the privacy of those close to me I’ll save those stories until enough time has passed.
Regardless, after graduating high school early to travel Asia I’m back in the U.S. now. Prior to this journey I’d never been to another city by myself let alone another country. I remember experiencing a modest amount of anxiety leading up to this three month journey, but as all the travelers I consulted prior to leaving said, “You’ll be fine. Everything will fall into place once you arrive. You just have to get on the plane.”
At the time I remember wanting to believe them, but still feeling uncomfortable with the uncertainty I knew lay on the horizon. Of course, they were right. Everything did turn out just fine and that’s why I’m bringing you today’s blog post. I want to share with you the lessons I’ve learned from traveling these past three months to help give you perspective on how you yourself may benefit from traveling.
The reasons you should consider traveling (even, and especially if you’re young) are:
(1.) You’re constantly being exposed to novelty. When you travel, simply taking a walk though the city can keep you off the autopilot you likely find yourself falling into at home. Learning to use public transportation, trying new foods, and laughing at yourself as you attempt to use chopsticks all help refresh you from the repetitiveness and daily grind that’s so easy to succumb to when you’re at home. In short, the novel situations you find yourself in each day abroad help stimulate your mind and keep you mentally fresh and engaged.
(2.) Traveling helps you learn about what you do and do not like. Part of this is because being abroad tends to help bring your adventurous side to the surface. You’re more likely to try new things while traveling even if many of them are things you could’ve tried in your home country (though there are obviously more new/unfamiliar options available to you when in a foreign culture). Traveling also helps you learn more about yourself in general. I never considered nature particularly important to me, however, once I’d lived in Saigon for a couple months (where there is almost no nature) I realized how much I took nature for granted and how much I actually cared being around it. Even if you don’t intend to travel on a permanent basis, the self-knowledge you acquire from traveling temporarily can be used going forward to structure your life back home in a way that allows you to be more effective and enjoy yourself more in the process.
(3.) Travel shows you there’s no one right way of doing things. You may notice that in the country you’re visiting they don’t talk much while eating. Being from the U.S. you may consider this to be strange, but you have to be open-minded and accept that there are pros and cons to this approach. Not talking while eating may result in less information being exchanged, but you’re more likely to sufficiently chew your food and thus digest it better. This could actually result in more energy for you to be social the rest of the day!
(4.) Traveling forces you to develop emotional resilience. Although travel will give you some of the greatest experiences of your life it will also expose you to copious amounts of bullshit. People will charge you more because you’re not a local. People will try to steal things from you. You’ll get lost. You’ll fall in love and then have to leave. But as painful as some of these experiences may be, the adversity you experience will contribute to your personal evolution and the development of your character. (Seriously, look at all the characteristics you most like about yourself. There’s a very good chance you developed those character traits during difficult times.) Working your way through the challenges you’re forced to face allows you to enjoy the most profound reward of all; a higher level of consciousness and being the person you want to be.
(5.) Travel helps you see the world as it is rather than as the fantasy it’s comfortable for you to imagine it being. Seeing the problems the world has doesn’t make you a pessimist. It makes you a realist — someone that’s in touch with reality. If seeing how the world works is painful enough for someone to the point they have to delude themselves, who really thinks the world is a bad place? In other words, yes, I’m saying realists ie. people who accept the world as it is are those with the most profound appreciation of life.
(6.) You’ll see that the world isn’t such a scary place. To be fair, I’ve only gone to six countries (Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia) so I can’t speak for the entire world, but from what I’ve experienced the overwhelming majority of fear most people have regarding travel is simply fear of the unknown amplified by the media’s sensationalism of the dangers abroad. Never having taken the time to explore a foriegn culture leaves you susceptible to this. It’s not hard to give someone false expectations of a place (ie. mainstream media foreign crime and danger sensationalism) if they’ve never been there. This is especially true if someone doesn’t even care enough to read books and educate themselves on the country nor is it inconceivable why mainstream media would take advantage of this (the ease of grabbing the average person’s attention and the potential monetary value of that attention).
(7.) The people that you meet while traveling are incredible! Especially if you visit a digital nomad hub such as Saigon, Vietnam or Chiang Mai, Thailand you’ll be amazed at the quality of conversations you’ll be able to hold. When was the last time you met your friends back home for lunch and were able to discuss with them how to become an effective copywriter, the health effects of msg, and what it’s actually like to date a crazy Columbian girl? Not every traveler you meet will be someone who lives in alignment with your values nor will every traveler be someone you aspire to be like. With that being said, however, it takes guts and mental exertion to leave your life back home and sustain yourself abroad so you can bet you’ll meet some damn interesting people. Of course, the locals are amazing as well. As long as you make reasonable efforts to respect the local culture you’ll be amazed at how friendly and welcoming people can be. Even with a language barrier, positive interactions are possible and it’s relatively easy to meet friends that speak English as well (if I found them in Vietnam, you’ve got a good shot at finding them wherever you go). Whether it’s motorbiking across town with a friend you met an hour ago, treating your new Vietnamese girlfriend to her first Mexican burrito, or cracking jokes with your girlfriend’s gay friend you’d be amazed at how quickly you can integrate into a different society. Sexual orientation, culture, or even language barriers needn’t be things that keep you from making friends.
(8.) Perhaps most importantly, traveling gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself! This is in part because you’ll learn to be more self-reliant (especially if you’re giving this a go at a young age). The other aspect of this is that you’ll no longer have a role others will expect you to conform to. If in your hometown you’re known at the quiet guy others may react negatively when you attempt to speak up or talk to girls. However, when you’re across the world nobody has a role which they’re trying to force you to play. You can’t be told to stay in your box when others have never had the chance to categorize you. When you travel you have the ability to choose who you want to be in each moment. There exists perhaps no better accelerator for your personal growth.
I went to bed at midnight. It’s currently 6:20 A.M. I’ve already meditated, recorded a video, walked to my favorite restaurant in Vietnam and am currently waiting for my order as I type this.
Anyway, I’m writing this post for you not because I wanted to skip sleep, but because I just couldn’t. I didn’t check the time when I woke up, but I estimate it was probably about 4:30 A.M. As strange as this sounds, while I was laying there alone in bed I gave enthused speeches on what it takes to be successful.
I delivered speech after speech as I imagined myself standing before an audience of other young hustlers clinging on to every word I offered. Now this may seem somewhat strange, but I didn’t have any resistance to it. I really enjoyed the strange rush of passion I experienced this morning, and being that it’s been so long since I gave you guys a new video I thought I’d record a quick one for you this morning.
In today’s video, being that I felt charismatic and passionate I thought I’d share a few quick tips and observations I’ve had on becoming more charismatic. This isn’t to say that I am the epitome of charisma. No, no, no. Very far from it. I am, however, significantly more charismatic than I was a few years ago, and you could easily observe that if you watch some of the first videosI ever recorded. These are just some thoughts from someone that’s going through the process alongside you.
If these ideas resonate with you then use them. If not, don’t. That’s part of being an educated consumer. Never blindly accept the things I, or anyone else tells you. Sure, it’s probably better to blindly follow what I say rather than to listen to the narrative mainstream media feeds you. At the end of the day, however, if you do that you’re still going to be a sheep incapable of making your own decisions.
Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s a quick summary of the ideas in the video:
First, how should we define charisma? To do that, I believe we first must define charisma’s opposite which I believe to be monotone. What is monotone? Failing to vary your vocal tonality. Why do people fail to vary their vocal tonality? They’re lazy and unconsciously recognize that doing so would require an extra exertion of effort.
I challenge you to do the opposite. Actively seek to exert more energy in your interactions. Of course, that’s not enough. We’ve all tried that before and come off as “try-hard” in the past. Why did we come off as try-hard? For exactly that reason. We tried too hard. We weren’t being natural about it.
See, aside from the exertion of energy the other element to charisma is congruence. You have your highest potential for charisma when you have an abundance of energy. But, at the same time we’ve all observed someone that was tired or in an unideal emotional state, but still been captivated by them. Why? Because they were at least congruent.
Just look at your social interactions. Ideally you’re in a great mood dishing out positive energy to all the people you interact with. That’s the highest value social behavior you can have. But, at the same time it’s unrealistic to expect you’re always going to be in an upbeat emotional state. Sure, optimize your lifestyle and emotions the best you can, but at times you’re just not going to feel that great. In those times, just be comfortable with who you are and most often people will still respond to you well.
Of course, these things are mostly theory. We’re just philosophizing here. It’s cool to ponder these thoughts, but how should you actually go about becoming charismatic?
My biggest suggestion to you is to face your fears. Do the things that scare you. As Elliott Hulse would say, “Live dangerously.”
You’ll find that two things happen when you face your fears. The first is that you’ll become energized. This happens regardless of whether or not you succeed in the face of fear. Even if the girl you find intimidating rejects you, you’ll still feel energized for having had to summon up the courage to talk to her.
The second thing you’ll find is that by leaning into your fears you’re naturally able to be more congruent. This happens as a result of you becoming more confident and comfortable with who you are as a person. As you begin to live in closer alignment with your values it’s easier to be congruent because you don’t feel as much of a need to filter yourself or present something that you’re not. When you like the person who you are it’s relatively easy to be authentic with others.
Finally, why you should you want to be charismatic? You’ll be a more interesting and dynamic person in your relationships, and charisma will also give you a greater ability to influence others and initiate positive change. Few people are actively trying to make the world a better place. You can never put people into a role they don’t want to play, but being charismatic can help you show them exactly why they should want to play that role.
Below is the Elliott Hulse video I referenced earlier on living dangerously. Some great thoughts here and things I’ve personally observed as well. Definitely make the time to check it out!
Hope you’re doing well on this mighty fine day! Have you ever wondered what it’s actually like to travel alone to a foreign country? I recently wrote a guest post on my first week in Saigon and adjusting to life here, meeting Connor Grooms (a digital nomad and awesome blogger in his own right), and how to learn to juggle within an hour (as well as improve more quickly at any skill). You can read the post on Connor’s blog.
Also, if my post has gotten you interested in juggling you NEED to check out the new course I’ve recently launched on juggling. It has more than 30 videos on how to go from being unable to juggle, to stringing together the 25 tricks you’ve learned in an exciting fashion to entertain any audience. Want more reasons you should learn to juggle and why I’ve invested an estimated 2,500 hours of my life into juggling? Check out my most recent blog post answering your questions here.