I can be so boring and predictable. I've asked myself why I'm not creating more conversations with the people that I want to be working with, and then find myself sitting in coffee shops and at parties, not talking to anyone. I sit there wondering to myself "Hey look, here's an opportunity to talk to someone, I wonder why you're not taking it?". Then I ruminate on that. Hmmm... Why might that be.
Do I just need more confidence? Maybe I'm just tired. Could it be that the way they are dressed is especially threatening to me?
All of this analysis, operating on top of the belief that it will somehow make it easier for me to start having those conversations with the people I want to talk to. You know what it really does?
It keeps me stuck.
See, information is useless unless you actually use it to transform.
Instead of simply acting, we ruminate and torture ourselves with the question "Why?".
- Why do I feel so scared right now?
- Why am I so bad with women?
- Why can't I find peace?
- Why aren't I willing to just ask those people for their business??
It's not that analysis is a bad thing — it's that we've created ourselves so that we can't act until we know the answers. Spiritual poison.
Understanding why you are nervous about going up and talking to women is a fascinating discussion to have, mostly because it keeps you from going up and talking to women. No amount of analysis is going to make you comfortable doing the thing that is currently uncomfortable.
(but you're welcome to keep trying and see if you can prove that wrong)
As babies, we don't question and torment ourselves by seeking the answer to why we fall down when we try to walk. We just get back up and try again.
One thing that is certain about information is that it's safe. We can gather information all day long without ever having to tackle that scary thing.
Does it really matter why I'm not talking to this guy in front of me? No! All that matters is that I'm not talking to him. No amount of me thinking about the "why" is going to change a damn thing. At the end of the day, there's still something uncomfortable for me to take on, and the way to actually change that is simple: Take the thing on.
I played a game where I had to strike up a conversation with every single person I was standing beside, and then ask them for their name.
It was uncomfortable as hell.
For the first day, I desperately wanted to go into analysis — but I knew I wasn't allowed — those weren't the rules of the game.
But all of that was off the table now, because I was playing a new game: have conversations, not thoughts.
So instead of analysis, I'd just start talking to them.
"Hey, the weather is nice isn't it?"
and then if they didn't respond to that...
"I like your shoes, where'd you get them?"
You know what was funny? After that first day, it started to get less uncomfortable. Pretty soon, I was just naturally talking to people standing beside me. Conversations became easy. comfortable. Simple.
All of the thought slipped away, because it no longer mattered. It didn't matter what people thought when someone struck up a conversation with them, because that was simply who I had become.
"Oh, Adam? He's just one of those people that can have a conversation with anyone."
Not because I'd figured out some kind of trick — because I'd just done what was uncomfortable. Again and again, until it stopped being uncomfortable.
That's the path to growth.