“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Neale Donald Walsch
In February of 2016, I had my biggest breakthrough as I learned to challenge my assumptions and beliefs. It was also one of my most fun weeks to date.
Because I’m very much into personal development, I invested in a coaching program that targeted men in improving success at home and the workplace. The process leading up to the decision wasn’t easy because it involved thousands of dollars and a weeklong commitment.
But the free value I have received from the podcast episodes and articles were transformative and beneficial after I applied those practical advices.
In addition, I believed in myself that I would get out of my comfort zone to learn and grow. As I finalized my decision during a hike in Santa Barbara, I remember asking myself this question.
“How much better can I be?”
The answer extremely excited me! The enthusiam was so high that I accidentally arrived at the program one day earlier than the scheduled date.
On the first day, I met most of the men enrolled in the program. And unsurprisingly they were all committed to improving themselves. We broke the ice by introducing ourselves to the group and the instructors. But because of the value I received within minutes of the program, my skepticism instantly disappeared.
Master Your Fundamentals
After learning the fundamentals of social dynamics, I had to implement the information with a hired female actor.
Everyone had to go “meet” her one at a time while focusing on five fundamental areas:
Talking to women is already something I do on a weekly basis. But with the extra men watching, I was feeling a bit more nervous than usual. By my third attempt, I was in my zone and started with a banter line,
“Hey! You look like trouble!”
The entire third interaction was also recorded and analyzed later in class.
First I had to watch my interactions without audio – based on purely nonverbal communication of body language and facial expression. I could barely watch since I’m not used to watching myself on video.
But the worst came afterward was when I saw it with sound!
Listening to my voice was like hearing the sound of fingernails scratching against the chalkboard!
But the experience was invaluable as I saw areas of weakness that I want to work on, such as giving less eye contact when I’m not speaking to lessen the pressure on the woman.
These fundamental social skills are subtle but effective in my daily interactions. They include:
Building rapport with other men
Creating attraction for women
Deepening connections with family and friends
As I practice more, they become second nature.
Recording myself was invaluable as it gave important information about my strengths and weaknesses. It’s a powerful tool to help me grow and become a more powerful and effective communicator.
Later that night, we went to a local saloon bar. As soon I walked in, I signed up for my favorite karaoke song – “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.
When it was our turn, my friend and I went up to the stage and started singing. Moments later, another friend joined us and we became a band of a trio.
Soon after, everyone in the bar started singing along as the song brought back memories. It turned out that some of the women our friends were talking to stopped their conversations because they wanted to sing along with us.
As the the night progressed, I carried the fun momentum and tried mechanical bull-riding for the first time. Barely holding on for ten seconds, I flipped in midair and landed on my back. That night, I was doing things I never thought were possible.
Being self-amused, we was having a lot of fun and it was contagious. As a result, all of us loosened up, talked to more people, and enjoyed themselves. We gave each other high fives to build each other up. Everyone in the saloon saw that, especially women.
Therefore when I initiated conversation with some of them, they were extremely receptive because they witnessed what I had done. They either saw me sing, rode the mechanical bull, or entertained with my friends.
Everyone, including women, want to have fun when they go out. Others naturally gravitate towards those who are amusing and interesting.
I learned to be the life of my own party by being outcome-independent wherever I go.
Become an Active Listener
The next day, I took some improv classes with the instructors. These are super fun as they have many interesting “games.” The great thing about it is this:
If you don’t know what to do during a scene, just say that!
You can throw your hands up in the air and say: “I don’t know what to do! Someone help me!”
Everyone will rush to help you because improv is about working together and building up the scene. By far, my favorite improv game is the “pocket line.” Before the scene, I pick a piece of paper with a pre-written line that I put in my pocket. Despite not knowing what the line says, I must read it randomly during the play.
It started with me wandering around the bookstore. As an affectionate man, I was looking for a romance novel. And shortly after conversing with the clerk, I took out the pocket line and said: “I like the way water feels on my skin.”
For clarification, I immediately followed it up with “I’m a romantic guy. I like to kiss in the rain.”
Among other lessons, improv classes taught me to become a better listener by actively paying attention to what the other person is saying. That allowed me to put the focus on them and not be stuck in my own head. Doing so, I don’t need to think about what to say next. They’re giving me everything that I need to formulate a response.
Improv classes is a continual practice as they improve my spontaneity, humor, and communication skills.
Add Value to Everyone
The next day I had to walk through busy Hollywood Boulevard to ask for signatures. Initially, I thought this was going to be easy because I believed most people are kind-hearted.
But this unfortunately wasn’t the case.
The first seven people who I talked to weren’t willing to help. Some of them were even afraid to make eye contact and ran away before I got close. But despite the “rejections,” I used it as feedback for change and modified my strategy for initiating conversation. Instead of focusing on what I want, I shifted the focus onto them.
Smiling with confident body language, I walked up to strangers on the street and said “Hi! How are you doing?” The rate of positive responses improved dramatically as I was genuinely interested in them.
After building rapport, they asked what I was doing. Then that’s when I shared my story and asked for their first impressions of me. Fortunately, they all had positive things to say such as:
Among the positive response rates, I still vividly remember that one hesitant encounter. At the corner of my eye, I saw an African-American man wearing a hoodie sitting at the bus stop.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have conversed with him in a million years because I have been conditioned to believe the negative generalization and stereotypical stories of African-Americans. But because I was in the mood for getting out of my comfort zone, I went up to him and started a conversation.
After an hour-long conversation listening to his life story filled with jokes, I learned that he was a comedian and liked to the ride the bus to get ideas for his writing. I would have never found that out if I didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt based on his looks.
Once I met up with my friends, we were now in groups of two. My objective was to talk to anyone that my friend wanted me to. This forced me to be outside of my head even further and view the world through my friend’s eyes. As a result, I spoke to people whom I normally wouldn’t talk to and nullified any decision-making.
Even when the exercise ended, I still talked to some people who were waiting for their food at the restaurant. We met a UPS driver had lunch together.
This powerful exercise taught me to be social with all.
Regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, everyone has value to offer. Opportunities are out there and I’m responsible for creating those connections.
Speaking to strangers is a continual daily practice as I talk to everyone everywhere I go. No one and nowhere is off-limits as I talk to the man in the sauna, that older woman at the grocery store, or that attractive woman at the gym.
It’s a healthy habit to add value to other’s lives and be social. It prepares me when the right people shows up in my life. I won’t hesitate in taking the first step to creating a genuine and lasting connection. Because of that one person, my life will be changed forever!
The Power of Storytelling
On the last day, I learned the art and impact of a well-told story.
To show why and what I do professionally, I dug into the roots. My inspiration came from my parents.
In front of those eight men who I have only known for four days, I felt safe because they all have my trust. They were my band of brothers who have fought with me in the trenches.
Lowering the shield and dropping the sword, I was ready to be 100% vulnerable. As I was telling my story of moving to the U.S., tears started pouring down my face.
My parents’ unselfishness of leaving their parents, friends, and country behind for a better future inspired me to do something similar. Witnessing the sacrifices they have made for my brother and me, I was determined to make a positive contribution to the world.
That’s why I help biotechnologies companies improve their products so they can help preserve planet Earth by reducing their carbon footprint.
My story moved everyone in the room emotionally because they’re all human. They were able to relate to my compassion for my parents even though they didn’t go through my exact experience. But because they all have loved their parents or other people in the past, they can connect to my story.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to bond with others on surface level things like common interests. But since everyone has emotions, we can easily unite with them based on that.
Telling a personal story that encompasses a full spectrum of emotions, our chances of connecting with others dramatically increases.
Learn to be vulnerable in our stories presents our genuine and authentic self. That’s a powerful way create meaningful connections with others.
Challenge Your Beliefs
Of all the lessons I learned that week, the most powerful of them all was this:
I learned to challenge my own assumptions and beliefs.
To challenge my beliefs, I had to ask myself the following questions:
“What stories and narratives am I telling myself?”
“Are my beliefs allowing me to achieve my goals?”
“Are they allowing me to become the person I want to be?”
Questioning my beliefs, I was able to identify the ones that didn’t serve me. As a result, I started the subtractive process of removing self-limiting beliefs that I have developed since I was a child.
This process is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time until I get to the core – my true self.
As a result, I changed the stories and narratives I told myself.
That yes, I can become a great speaker!
Yes, I can start my business!
Yes, I can talk to that attractive woman!
Believing that I can that was the first step. I still had to do the work to become a great speaker, to start a business, and learn about male and female interaction.
To apply what I’ve learned, I joined Toastmasters and practiced speaking, took small steps in building a business, and talked to lots of women.
As a result, I’m slowly becoming a better speaker. I get to impact thousands of men with my articles, videos, book, and conversations. And now I have an abundant dating life.
The simple change in my beliefs made it all possible.
Fear and doubt are what kept me from going after what I truly wanted. Change can be scary and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary for growth.
Your greatest achievements and dream life is yours for the taking. But you must be courageous and live out your destiny.
The first step begins with your mindset. It’s time for you to do some introspective work. Ask yourself:
“What stories and narratives am I telling myself?”
“Are they allowing me to achieve my goals?”
“Are they enabling me to become the man I want to be?”
If not, then it’s time to challenge them!
Know that your beliefs developed somewhere in your past. Recognize where they came from and identify the ones that no longer serve you. Eliminate your false self and find your true self – one that has an honest, compassionate and functional relationship with yourself.
Once you achieve that, you can do the same with others. I know for a fact that you want to become a more powerful version of yourself, or else you wouldn’t be reading this.
Maybe you don’t think you can have a healthy body, start your business, or deserve an attractive woman.
What do you believe?
It’s just like Henry Ford said.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t. You’re right.”
― Henry Ford
Your thoughts become your beliefs. Your beliefs become your reality. Change your beliefs and you will change your life!
I am on a mission to help 1,000,000 people, but I can’t do that without your help. Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.
Thank you very much! I greatly appreciate it!
Do you want to live purposefully and become the most powerful version of yourself? If so, start with your free gift down below.