Challenge #9: Ride the Ferris Wheel with a Stranger

It’s a beautiful time for Japan (at least it was a month ago when I shot this video). The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and there was  awesome night time flower viewing festival at a theme park near my house (check out my Instagram to see what I’m talking about!)

So for today’s challenge, I decided I’d go to that theme park and try to get a stranger(s) to ride the Ferris wheel with me.

Okay, I was really excited about trying this challenge. I really really wanted to succeed. Why? Because I felt challenged by the task of getting a strangers compliance to ride the Ferris wheel with me, yet, it’s a task that I imagined I might be able to succeed at.

There was also one more element to this challenge that made it particularly difficult: the fear of succeeding. Because succeeding and getting someone to ride the Ferris wheel with me means facing the potential risk of an awkward 15 minute ride with a stranger.

Sorry to say, I failed this one =(

Well, I succeeded in actually putting myself outside my comfort-zone and actually trying. But I failed to achieve what I set out to do, and I’m okay with that. I was happy that I actually had something that I wanted to succeed at enough.  Obviously, if we don’t care about a desired outcome so much, then we feel less fear. But If we want to succeed at something bad enough, there will be that extra pressure (fear) to challenge.

I was happy I got the chance to face that fear today.

What went well with this challenge:

  • I Stuck out the fear, besides the awkwardness of the challenge. This challenge felt very awkward. Not only because I felt like a weirdo waltzing up to strangers and asking them to ride the big wheel with me, but because it was a small theme park, so I was paranoid about being noticed by others around me. So I was happy I stuck it out and at least got a handful of approaches in.

 

  • I had a fun time and enjoyed the beautiful day — enjoying the beauty of the sakura (Japan’s famous cherry blossoms) as well as the atmosphere of the theme park and festival. It reminded me that fun and enjoyment should be apart of every endeavor, no matter how tough that endeavor is.

What I would like to do differently next time:

  • Push harder. I feel like with some of the interactions there was a potential to have them accept my offer, had I had pushed harder. I gave up too easily at one point, when it seemed like there was gonna be a taker, but then they backed out.

 

  • Act faster. Obviously, the nervousness to talk to strangers sets in, and it becomes harder and harder as time passes. The only way to halt that effect is to jump in and challenge the fear as soon as possible. I felt like with this challenges (and many others) I took along time “preparing” to talk to the first person, and that caused my nervousness to intensify and it took longer to finally get that first approach in.

 


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One Easy Exercise to Help Stop Seeking Money as a Means to an End and Focus on Your True Passions

Do what you love and the money will follow.

-Dr. Marsha Sinetar, author of Do what you love and the money will follow

We’ve all heard it and are sick of hearing it. One of the overused quotes that’s been touted over and over again by law of attraction fans since the new age boom. Or so is our image.

But I think there is truth to the quote if applied in a practical way. Let me explain.

The problem with how we frame money in our lives

We humans tend to look at money way as an end goal, rather than a means to achieving a goal. We think that getting money is what makes us happy, rather than the wonderful things that we can do with that money.

The sad consequence of this truth is that rather than using the creative and resourceful tool of our minds for maximizing the achievement of the things we want in life, we focus too much on “how can I get more money?” when we should really be asking “what do I really want in life?”

The act of merely receiving money doesn’t actually bring more happiness — except for the game of getting money itself (which can be quite fun, but can eventually burn us out if it doesn’t come with a deeper context of living our lives in a fulfilling way).

This is why I love Tim Ferriss’s Dreamline exercise. The Dreamline exercise is a quick activity to first decide all the things you want/goals you want to achieve in the short term, then determine how much money it will take to achieve them. Once you know what you want and how much it will cost, you can come up with a specific plan for getting the money needed to achieve those goals.

But many of us have it backwards. We think, “after I make X amount of money, THEN I will be able to travel“(replace travel with that thing(s) you want to do but are putting off doing). But the time, energy, and money never come because we waste our creative energy on figuring out how to make money, rather than utilizing our creative energy to do the thing we want (like travel, learn a new hobby, etc.).

Valuing your life over money does not mean living like a monk!

Lately, we read “if you want to be successful, sell your stuff! Move to a smaller, cheaper apartment! Live frugally!”

While I do believe minimizing distractions and streamlining your life is important, I don’t agree with the asceticism that people sometimes equate with personal development. For some people, minimizing money spent on possessions allows them to spend that money on other things they value more, like travel for instance. Others, might value owning a nice car or owning a nice house, more than they value traveling. For those people, getting rid of those things or avoiding pursuing them would actually hurt them, as they would be resisting what it is they truly want.

I think most people value a balance of material possessions and world experiences. I’m currently saving up for a new car,  AND getting ready to challenge my fears and go skydiving for the first time!

Find out what YOU want, and go for it.

An Exercise to Put Your Career and Earnings into Perspective

Sit down with a pen and a pad (or an open word processor if that’s your dealio). At the top, write “What Would I do if I already had all the money I needed? How Would I live my day to day life? ” Alternatively, you could write “How would I spend a billion dollars?” Don’t worry about calculating prices at this point. The point of the exercise is to figure out what things you would do in your life if you already had all the money you could ever want.

It’s a very simple exercise. From here, list out everything that comes to your mind. Just move your pen and don’t stop writing no matter how silly the ideas that come out might sound. As your thoughts flow, and you get those “silly ideas” out of the way, strong insights about what you really want to do, begin to pour out. I like to set a timer (10, 15, or 20 minutes) just to give the activity a concrete beginning and finish.

When you’re finished, go back through the list and read all of your ideas. You can then go through with a pen and circle or star all the best ideas.

What would I do if I had all the money I ever needed? And how would I live my day to day life?/How would I spend a billion dollars?

  • Eat all organic whole foods, every day.
  • Go skydiving.
  • Travel to Italy.
  • Buy a convertible.
  • Travel to Guam.
  • Learn Chinese
  • Learn a martial art like Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
  • Fly a plane.
  • Lie on a hammock in the Maldives.
  • Perform a solo guitar concert in front of 100 people.
  • Take first in a breakdance competition.
  • Learn how to corkscrew.
  • Eat fugu (blowfish).
  • DJ at a beach party
  • Go to France.
  • Learn how to cook 10 kinds of pasta.
  • By a motorcycle.
  • Release 25 videos on my YouTube channel.
  • Write 50 blog articles.
  • Live in South America for one year.
This is a quick sample exercise to help give you an idea of what I’m talking about. For visibility purposes, I went back and highlighted all the ideas that I really liked want to do (rather than adding a star or check as mentioned in the article).  Note this list is probably much shorter than the list you will actually make, as you will be continuously writing for a set amount of time like ten or twenty minutes.

This tool is a basic awareness exercise help you become aware of what it is you truly want. There are a few options for what you can do with those realizations after this exercise. Most of these exercises really deserve their own separate articles to explain explain them in full. But I will briefly describe the ideas here in order to give you a direction.

Once you are aware of what you would do/how you would live your life if you had a billion dollars

You need to integrate those desires into your life in way that you’ll stay focused on them every moment of the day, regardless of your moods or circumstances. You need to make sure you never forget what you are working toward.

The Dreamline

If you haven’t read The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss yet, I highly recommend you read it. It was the book that finally opened my eyes to the concept that you don’t need to be rich to live your dreams, you just need to first focus on what you want to do in life and then you can figure how much money you need to fulfill that.

After having done the exercise outlined in the article you are reading now, you can use those ideas to create your own Dreamline. For more information on exactly how to do the Dreamline exercise, check out this page on Tim Ferriss’s blog (or read The 4 Hour Work Week for a more in-depth explanation). He also offers this nifty blank Dreamline template here.

Basically, you are taking your ideas you gathered from doing the activity in this current article and are forming them into concrete goals with a time frame. Then you determine the required amount of money to do accomplish these goals. Also by making a concrete goal, you are picking the thing you want to do the most (the thing you want to work on right away) and making it a top priority in your life.

For example: “What would I do if you had a billion dollars?” If one of your items was “Go skydiving,” then this would be on your Dreamline:

Go skydiving….. by August 2016…… $400.

By getting really specific about what it is you want, how much it costs to do it and when you will do it, your brain will figure out what you need to do to come up with that money. Also you will feel the drive to make that money so that you can achieve that goal.

Another purpose of the Dreamline is to turn your more general goals into refined concrete ones. So if you want to “live an adventurous life,” the Dreamline then helps you break that down into a concrete goal, which can then be achieved by doable actions. What does “live an adventurous life mean?” Maybe you want to skydive like me. Maybe you want to travel to Africa. Whatever it is, make it into a specific, actionable goal.

The Vision Board

I’m a big fan of the Vision Board, also known as a Goal Board. It is a large (usually made of cork) board that you hang in the place in your house where you spend the most time every day. On this board you display your goals in a combination of words and pictures. It’s a powerful way to constantly be reminded every day of what you want. And keeps you focused.

Once you have your list of things that you would do with one billion dollars, go ahead and load up your Vision Board with those things! You can print out a list of those things and pin it up there. Also, pictures plant themselves deep inside your brain. For example, if your goal is to go skydiving, pin up a picture of a skydiver! If you want to play cello, pin up a picture of a cello! The powerful impact the pictures have on our physiology will keep us focused and motivated.

Pick one thing you want to do and expand it in your journal

Once you have came up with a list of things you would like to do with a billion dollars, a great exercise is to pick one and expand it! Free-write about it. Ask yourself and answer these questions: Why do I want this? What will I feel when I achieve it? What will I feel if I don’t achieve it? How will I achieve it?

These are just the questions I ask myself. Feel free to explore your own questions, or your own method of journaling.

Prayer

I don’t subscribe to any faith. But I use “prayer” as a means of setting my intentions of what I want to work toward every day. I will explain this in detail in a future post, but every night before bed (you could do it in the morning, or both) I tell “God” or “the Universe” exactly what it is that I want. My exact goals. And I ask for the focus and strength to tackle them.
I think prayer works because It allows us to cut through all of our negative beliefs about what is possible, and focus on exactly what we want. And when we ask ourselves what we want and think about it enough (no matter how large or far away the goal may seem), our brains begin to determine what actions we need to take to achieve them. Prayer in this way changes our own psychology and beliefs about what is possible, and gives us a good attitude for achieving our desired goals.

In short, “pray” or ask the universe for what you want. Even if you aren’t religious (I’m not) and even if you think it’s a stupid idea and won’t work (I did, but am continuously surprised when I keep achieving things that I once thought were impossible for me).

Give it a try. The worst thing you could do is be closed-minded to something that would otherwise serve as a powerful tool to helping you achieve the life you want.

Of course like all advice, take these exercises/tools with a huge grain of salt. Try out many things and drop what isn’t useful for you.


So that’s it for today. Don’t focus so much on how to make money. Rather, focus on how to do the things you want to do in life (money is only one component of the “how”). If you do so, you will more efficiently use your resources to come up with the money you need, in order to do the things you want. And asking yourself “What would I do if I had a billion dollars?” is one exercise you can do to figure out what you want, and put life and money in perspective.

This simple paradigm shift could change your entire way of looking at life.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started now.

 

Learn Japanese with Japanese Hip-hop

 Click here to return to The Unorthodox Guide to Learning Japanese >Table of Contents

You like hip-hop and rap music do ya? Well I do too. You’re also learning Japanese? Ditto.

Did you know the two can be combined into the awesome holy grail of studying — a blend of fun, repetition and intrigue?

This has been my experience with learning Japanese and listening to Japanese hip-hop. I wrote this article to share the insights I’ve had with using Japanese hip-hop as a tool for learning Japanese.

This article also stands as an introduction for anyone who has a love for hip-hop music, but has no idea where to start looking for good Japanese hip-hop.

This should help get you started =)


Why is Japanese hip-hop an awesome tool for learning Japanese?

It makes your Japanese pronunciation awesome

Rapping to hip-hop music is a lot like reciting tongue twisters, only to music. The music is often so catchy you’ll find yourself singing and repeating the same verses all day. Without even realizing it, you are doing speed drills for your pronunciation.

Your Japanese pronunciation, speed, intonation, rhythm, and cadence will all improve dramatically with the rapid, bullet-fire repetition that hip-hop music has to offer. And the best part is that it all happens effortlessly, while you just sit back and enjoy the good music.

Listening to Japanese hip-hop solidifies vocabulary and grammar in an interesting way

We’ve all heard repetition is the mother of all learning. But seriously, repetition is the mother of all learning.

Hip-hop music contains many repeating parts. When we listen to Japanese hip-hop, we hear vocabulary repeated over and over in context. Every time a word is heard, it is reinforced in your mind. If you listen to that song and hear that word enough times, you will not forget that word.

When you listen to and learn to sing Japanese hip-hop music, not only do you get the reinforcement of that much needed vocabulary, but also the reinforcement of grammar patterns. After hearing these patterns over and over again, you’ll find yourself using (speaking) them correctly and effortlessly in the middle of conversation. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to rap music. But again, the volume of repetition that rap music provides often causes you to accidentally memorize the Japanese grammar.

Let’s lay down a quick example using English to further explain this point.

Let’s imagine you are learning English. Let’s also imagine you like Eminem’s music and you especially love the song My name is.

Well, “My name is So-and-so.” is a very basic English grammar pattern. And incidentally, it appears in the song “My name is” many, many times. Do you know how many times? Go ahead, stop reading and take a guess. Then scroll down when your ready to check your answer.

Ready for it?

24 times.

24 times the grammatical phrase “My name is” is repeated.

That means if you listen to the song 10 times, you will hear this grammar pattern delivered with proper pronunciation and in context, 240 times.

If you listen to the song 20 times, that’s 480 times hearing the grammar point. And if you listened to the song 100 times, well, you get the point…

You can imagine the person who has listened and sang along to this song 10+ times will have no problem producing the phrase “My name is So-and-so.” right? Probably even effortlessly. Of course, they’ll have to learn to swap out “Slim Shady” with their own name, but that becomes a cinch once the grammatical phrase has been repeated so many times.

Now, I spit an example using a very basic phrase in English to prove a point. But what happens when you get the same amount of repetition listening to a Japanese song with less familiar grammar patterns? Yep. That sheer repetition causes you to produce those phrases naturally and effortlessly, with proper pronunciation.

Next, lets talk about how to take a frustrating experience that we all have with listening to music, and turn it into an experience that will cause you to learn Japanese on autopilot:

The song-stuck-in-your-head phenomenon

The catchy nature of hip-hop music will often cause a song to get “stuck in your head.” I’m sure everyone knows the feeling of getting a song stuck in their head right? You suddenly find yourself singing the song over and over. You can’t forget the song no matter how hard you try.

Well what if you could use that to your advantage? What if that song that you can’t stop hearing in your head and singing was in Japanese?

You would be constantly drilling those grammar patterns and vocabulary into your brain, despite whether you felt like studying or not.

This is a natural bi-product of listening to Japanese hip-hop.

Next, let’s talk about how listening to Japanese hip-hop changes your psychology.

Listening to Japanese hip-hop associates the feeling of fun with learning Japanese

Most people associate learning Japanese with frustration, determination, will power, and trying really hard. To an an extent, feeling those feelings is probably unavoidable when it comes to taking on a long-term project such as learning Japanese.

However, you can instead attach the feeling of fun to learning Japanese, so that when you think about learning Japanese, you feel good. It’s actually really easy to do.

Let’s briefly review the old psychological principle of classical conditioning. Pavlov trained his dog to salivate when he heard the ring of a bell. Pavlov did this by giving the dog a steak while simultaneously ringing a bell. He did this every day for a period of time. Then eventually, he stopped giving the dog steaks, but when he rang the bell his dog continued to salivate upon hearing the bell, even in the absence of the steak.

Well you can train your self to “salivate”(have the positive feeling of fun) at the ring of a bell (the thought of learning Japanese). If you incorporate more fun activities into your learning regimen. I personally don’t consider listening to hip-hop “studying.” I just do it for fun, and the benefits ensue.

Conversely, if you only do boring things, you train yourself to associate pain and boredom with Japanese, which makes you want to avoid doing what it takes to learn it.

Discipline is an important skill for taking on a long-term goal. Sometimes, for the sake of consistency, you might even need to study, despite the feeling of not wanting to. But don’t make it your main mode. Make it as fun as possible and you will sincerely enjoy the process of learning of Japanese.

Another fun bi-product of listening to Japanese hip-hop music is…

You will learn slang

Dude, who doesn’t wanna learn slang? Nam sayin’ dawg.

Learning slang is a fun part of studying Japanese. Once you learn a new slang word, you hear it everywhere. And being able to bust it out naturally and appropriately in conversation will certainly feel awesome, and make you sound awesome.

Listening to Japanese hip-hop will expose you to new slang, and give you an appropriate context for it. Hearing slang in it’s natural environment is much better than learning it from some random example sentence from some random website made for learners of Japanese.

Although I wouldn’t recommend mindlessly repeating everything you hear in hip-hop music, the mere exposure to the slang will help you become more aware of the pop-culture of words. Then if you happen to hear that same word or phrase being used in real life by Japanese native speakers, you can start to consider using it yourself.

Learning Japanese hip-hop allows you bragging rights

A final reason for listening to Japanese hip-hop is to learn to sing it, and go show it off in karaoke! (especially if you live in Japan). Your Japanese friends will be impressed by the fact you know and can sing some of their favorite Japanese songs. This will create a closer connection with them. In this case, I’d recommend Def Tech, or Kreva, as these Japanese hip-hop artists have been around for a while and are known by almost everyone. Especially, I get a lot of good reactions from singing Def Tech’s My Way in karaoke.

Okay, so I said “bragging rights” but that’s only part of the whole truth 😉

What we’re really talking about here is connecting with Japanese people and the culture.

How to get the most out of Japanese hip-hop music for learning

Wait, wha-? Seriously? You just discovered another awesome, fun way to learn Japanese and you want to go ruin it with turning it into another form  of rigid study?

Just go listen to the music! Enjoy it. Don’t turn something fun like listening to music into another method of self-torture by making it into “study.”

What, you’re still here?

Okay, okay, okay…

If you want to utilize listening to Japanese hip-hop music in a way that will actually increase your enjoyment of it, read on.

A Simple Guide to Learning Japanese with Hip-hop

Step 1) Find good music you like, and listen to it.

Step 2) After listening to that song a few times, pull up the Japanese lyrics and have a read through them. Use the Rikaichan plugin  to quickly look up the words you don’t know.

Step 3) Sing along to the song, reading the Japanese lyrics as you listen to the song.

Step 4) Listen to the song on the go, in your car, or on your iPod — whenever and wherever. Personally, listening to the song a few times and reading along with the lyrics sheet will be enough so that when I listen to the song again with out the lyrics sheet, I will still be able to at least decipher the correct lyrics by ear. The repetition of listening to the song over and over will take take me to a point of having the song fully memorized, and with very little effort.

Listen to the song with the lyrics sheet as many times as you want/need/feel like.

Step 5) Do this step only if you really, really want to. And I mean, really want to (I almost never do it these days). Go through and take the words you had trouble with, or would like to encode into your memory forever, and add it(them) to your Anki (or other SRS app). I really mean it though. This step is not necessary, and should only be used if there is a word or phrase that you can’t live without having memorized.

Let’s keep the process of listening to Japanese music a sacred activity of fun, okay? 😉

Recommended Japanese hip-hop for those getting started

Lastly, I will leave you a list of my recommended Japanese hip-hop artists. It is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but it should get you started if you’re new to the world of Japanese hip-hop.

Note: I have left out links to the songs, as the nature of Japanese music (especially YouTube) is that the Japanese music industry is so strict that videos often go down just as fast as they go up. I’ll leave the Google-fu up to you 😉

Your small investment in finding good Japanese music will produce rewards ten-fold.

Kreva – My personal favorite. Kreva’s music has uplifting lyrics and always puts me in a good mood. From a learning Japanese standpoint, Kreva often uses yojijukugo (四字熟語) which are four character expressions in Japanese, and also kotowaza(諺) which are Japanese proverbs. Have a listen if you want to brush up your “scholarly” Japanese, while being inspired to live a kickass life!

Kick the Can Crew – A 90’s hip hop group featuring Kreva. Super catchy tunes. Check out Sayonara Sayonara, or 地球ブルーズ337.

Def Tech – Self-proclaimed “Jawaiian Reggae” artists. A blend of Japanese rap, and reggae with a tropical Hawaiian feel. My Way or Konomama (re-introducing RIZE) are good places to start.

Rip Slyme – Another catchy, upbeat summer-themed hip-hop group with a jazzy feel. They’ve got a ton of albums made, and with every album their music changes quite a bit. Besides Kreva, Rip Slyme is honestly my favorite Japanese hip-hop group. There is so many good Rip Slyme tracks out there, but I’d wet your chops with One, Under the Sun, or Rakuen Baby.

Dragon Ash – They started out a punk rock group, and turned hip-hop part way through their career. A must check out if you like that rap/rock Linkin Park feel.

Steady & Co. – A Hip-hop group from the early 2000’s. Check out Stay Gold or 春夏秋冬 if you like that classic hip-hop flavor.

M-flow – Another catchy hip-hop group that’s also been around a while. M-flow loves to collab with other popular artists. Check out M-flow loves Chemistry / Astrosexy.

Cream – A newer music duo that does covers of western hip-hop and R&B, done with Japanese lyrics. I like their cover of Omarion – Post To Be. They also do their own original music. Check out Money Money Money.

童子-T – Smooth hip-hop and R&B. I like Better Days (featuring 加藤ミリヤ and 田中ロウマ).

環roy (Tamaki Roy)– One of my favorite minor label hip-hop artists. Tamaki Roy Has a lot of  dope instrumental tracks. Check out 830 Morning and Breakboy in the Dream.

銀座DOPENESS (Ginza Dopeness)– A unique and catchy underground hip-hop artist. Check him out!

That’s it for my recommendations for now. I know I’ve left out a ton of great artists. Maybe I’ll continue the series later and go more in depth on various Japanese hip-hop. Like I said, this is just barely scratching the surface on all of the awesome stuff that’s out there.

Also, if you wanna share your favorite Japanese hip-hop artists, feel free to drop them in the comments!


That’s it for now. Happy learning! And remember, enjoying the journey is just as important as the destination =)

Back to The Unorthodox Guide to Learning Japanese [Table of Contents]

 

Challenge #8: Buy a Stranger a Drink

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

I think as humans, we should not be constantly focused on only what we can get, but also on what we can give to others. Tony Robbins once said that in life we receive value proportionate to what we give. So if you want to get more, focus on giving more.

With that in mind, today I went out to buy a stranger a drink (only after them consenting to it). This is what happened.

Filming this video was interesting. I was sitting on the bench inside the mall, about to shoot the introduction to the video, when a couple of ladies sat down on the bench near me. I thought okay, I’ll shoot the introduction after, and do the challenge now, as I didn’t want to miss a prime opportunity (we were right next to the vending machine, so it would be an easy transition to buying them a drink).

It was a success first try. And the ladies were surprised and very happy about the experience.

After saying goodbye, I plopped back down on the bench ready to check my footage when…

Oh no, the camera had got flipped around.

Eight solid minutes of my chest and audio only.

What a frustration. But I had to do it again. It actually took me a couple more tries before I could get a Japanese person to allow me to buy them a drink.

I figured this would be the case. Although buying a stranger a drink sounds like an easy task, part of this challenge was that the person has to consent to me buying them a drink first. In other words, I couldn’t just walk up to a random person and hand a drink to them.

Anyway, after a few failed attempts, another success!

I saw a couple of young gentlemen working at the hair salon. They were just standing around and chatting at the front register. There were no customers, so I knew I wouldn’t be interrupting their job.

I was hesitant to approach them. All these thoughts in my mind feeding me excuses to not do it. But then I felt my nervousness and realized that…

That nervousness means I HAVE to do it.

If it wasn’t something that I wanted to do (something that mattered to me), I wouldn’t feel that nervousness in the first place, right?

I think we should strive to constantly monitor our emotional state for instances where the thought of doing something makes us nervous, and make it a consistent habit to always do that thing. This way, we are constantly getting outside of our comfort-zone, growing, and acquiring new skills and experiences.

 

What went well with this challenge:

  • This was my first challenge that was based on a pure random act of kindness. I really felt good and enjoyed doing it. I’ve decided to do more of these kinds of challenges in the future.

 

  • Despite suffering a disappointing camera issue and losing the first set of footage, I decided to ride it out and challenge again. Even though it took me a couple times, I eventually got the outcome and footage I was looking for. In the end that gave me more time to spend outside my comfort-zone, which results in an accumulation of more social courage, confidence, and experience.

 

  • As usual, I felt myself pacing in circles, trying to figure out ways to avoid doing the last approach (the successful one). But in the face of that, I realized it was something that I HAD to do. On one hand, avoiding doing it would cause me to make avoiding my nervousness a habit. On the other hand, doing the thing that makes me nervous trains the exact opposite habit – the habit of continually placing oneself in situations outside their comfort-zones, and building up that confidence.

What I would like to do differently next time:

  • Having my camera flipped around and missing good footage is a technical issue I’ve had before (the police challenge). I need to make an effort to be mindful, even when I’m feeling nervous about doing the challenge, and make sure the camera is pointing in the right direction.

 

  • My situation usually doesn’t allow for this, but it would be nice to get more footage of me doing the challenge from a third party simultaneously. This way, I could get an accurate image of what kind of vibe I’m projecting when I talk to people. For example, what is my body language, nervous and closed-off? Or open and confident. What is my level of eye contact, appropriate for the situation? What are my facial expressions, constrained? Or open, smiley and friendly. I would like to become aware of these habits as well and correct them when possible.

Considering the effort I put into today’s challenge and the nature of it being a purely value offering challenge, and the enjoyment of giving to others, today’s challenge was a lot of fun. I want to do more challenges like these in the future!

Please subscribe to the mailing list in the side bar in order to stay updated on the newest released challenges, and follow me on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!

Challenge #7: Asking People to Rate My Attractiveness – Social Skydiving in Japan

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

In today’s challenge, I asked some strangers to rate my attractiveness on a scale from one to ten.

I was inspired by Jia Jiang’s rejection therapy challenge where he did the same thing.

As well as being a challenge for me, this was also partly a social experiment to see how the Japanese people would react. As I had expected, everyone was really nice and gave me a very kind rating, despite suddenly asking such a strange question on the street.

What went well with this challenge:

  • Even though I almost chickened out on doing this challenge, I carried out it out to completion. Basically, I started to rationalize that I would do the challenge “another time” as it was too cold outside. Also I rationalized I didn’t  have enough time to do it. Despite this, I was able to override this feeling and do it anyway. I told myself if I allow myself to not do it today, I would be increasing my tendency to avoid something scary or uncomfortable, rather than doing what I know I need to do. Triumphing over that urge always leaves me feeling good after.

 

  • I did four separate approaches in this challenge, rather than just doing one as usual. Lately, I’ve been wanting to a) make more interesting videos, b) get a richer experience by doing the same challenge a few times on different types of people, and c) get more experience putting myself in unique social situations in general.

 

  • It was fun to get a variety of people including a group of dudes and even and elderly man. The elderly man’s reaction was priceless.

What I would like to do differently next time:

  • I was pretty satisfied with the turnout of this challenge. But maybe I could have asked even more people, since the the approaches were quick an easy. I could have set a goal for people from different demographics: a business man, an old lady, a construction worker, etc.

 

  • I have a feeling this will be a never ending issue to work on with all challenges. But reviewing the video, I was kind of weak in some of my approaches. Weak voice, shy body language, and weak eye contact. I need to work on carrying more enthusiasm and positivity in the way I talk to people.

 

All and all, I feel it was a solid challenge and I’m excited to do the next.

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Challenge #6: Challenge a Stranger to a Pushup Contest

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

This challenge was kind of special in that as well as being a social skydiving challenge for me, it was a social skydiving challenge for the other party as well as it required their participation.

As saying yes to my invitation to do a pushup contest meant dropping down on the floor in the middle of the shopping mall and doing pushups despite the onlookers of other shoppers.

Essentially, it was a social skydiving challenge for the participant as well as me.

I really liked the idea of this challenge as well as its execution, because it was a fun way to challenge myself socially while perhaps providing value and fun to those involved. It was also a challenge for me to get someone to comply with my request (although I got it first try!).

I really want to keep these challenges fun and interesting and I want to come up with more an more unique ways of doing these social skydiving challenges.

What went well with this challenge:

  • I dived right into the challenge and was able to succeed in getting someone to do a pushup contest with me first try.

 

  • I was able to be friendly, positive, and enthusiastic in my interactions.

 

  • Both people involved one participating and the friend enjoyed themselves and left smiling and happy.

What I would like to do differently next time:

  • The biggest frustration I felt in this challenge was my Japanese. I just kept slipping and fumbling for words through the whole interaction. Which is fine. One of the purpose of doing these challenges is to get comfortable using the Japanese I have, not to be perfect. Basically, I want to feel more comfortable stumbling in Japanese so that I feel more relaxed in situations where I must use Japanese. Anyway, next time, if I start stumbling, I want to try to slow down and allow myself time to speak more before I start nervously throwing sentences out there.

 

  • I would like to do the challenge on a few more people next time, and go for different varieties of people (age, social dynamics [i.e. alone, boyfriend/girlfriend, with peer group, etc.]). I actually wasn’t planning to find someone to take me up on my challenge first try. So after getting the success, I just called it a day and went home, when I could have tried for a few more people and looked for some different reactions.

 

All and all it was a fun challenge and I’d like to continually do creative and fun challenges like this, in the future.

That’s all for today.

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Challenge #5: Learn a magic trick and immediately perform on a stranger – Social Skydiving in Japan

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

This challenge was the most fun I’ve had in doing this project so far. Today, my buddy showed me a quick card trick in Starbucks, and after a few minutes of practicing the trick, I immediately performed it on a stranger.

What was particularly hard about this challenge, was that not only was I approaching a couple of strangers, but I had to remain collected enough to actually remember the trick in order to carry it out smoothly while being nervous.

Not only that, but also delivering the trick in Japanese was a bit nerve-racking, especially because the wording and instruction play a big role in this particular card trick.

Because of the nerves I felt during this trick, was visibly shaking.

But it ended up being a success. I successfully “read” my new friends’ “minds” and was able to determine the selected card. Because of this, I felt super good that I was able to keep it together enough and successfully execute the trick on strangers for the first time.

I had honestly thought there was a good chance of forgetting what to do next during the trick or otherwise messing it up somehow. So it was a nice surprise that I pulled it off.

What went well with this challenge:

・When it was time to perform the challenge I jumped right into talking to the strangers without hesitation.

・I stayed calm and collected.

・I was able to get through the trick without messing it up.

・Because I was there with a few buddies, one helping me film, and the other teaching the magic, I felt supported and was able to push harder than normal. I really believe if you can build it, a supportive social circle of like-minded people is important.

・I gave the girls I performed the magic trick on a unique, entertaining experience and a story to tell their friends.

What I would like to do differently next time:

・I would like to be a little more friendly and enthusiastic. Given the fact I was nervous, it’s understandable that I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I could have been.

・I would also like to try the same challenge out on a couple different audiences of differing age groups. Not only would it help me get comfortable approaching different age groups and demographics with my trick, but it would also give rise to different outcomes like possibly failing the trick (which would also be a good experience).

Part of that problem is due to the logistics of my location. I am in a small rural area, and I don’t want to make to much of a scene by approaching all the people in one day. That being said, I could probably do more than just one. So I gotta find that balance.


I really enjoyed running and filming this challenge today. As much as possible, I really want to do more challenges similar to what I did today. I want to do social challenges that entertain and add value to peoples’ lives as much as possible. That way, everyone wins.

That’s all for today.

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How to Social Skydive in Japan

You can read more about this rejection therapy/social skydiving project and see the official list of challenges here.


How to Social Skydive in Japan

I have a special treat for you today. The article I’m about to introduce is an informative guide on how to begin social skydiving, the art of challenging yourself to unique experiences, overcoming fear, and building a social circle of cool, inspiring people that support you in your life’s endeavors.

I was really excited to write this article as I was invited to write it as a guest post for thejetcoaster.com, a community driven website that offers the most update information on the experience of being a JET or otherwise teaching English in Japan, Japan life, and other interesting Japan related information and stories.

Apparently, some of my videos got noticed in the JET community and people were interested in the what, why, and how I was doing what I’m doing.

I wrote this article as in the midst of being knee-deep in this project, so I feel I have laid out the best synthesis of both what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced, which is why I am super excited about sharing it with you today.

You can check out my guest article “How to Social Skydive in Japan” here.

I hope you enjoy it, as I had a lot of fun writing it.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Happy diving =)


Stay tuned for my next challenge which will be posted up very shortly! You can check out the official list of challenges here.

Please subscribe to the mailing list in the side bar in order to stay updated on the newest released challenges, and follow me on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!

Challenge #4: Asking to Buy a Bite of a Stranger’s Food – Social Skydiving in Japan

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

Today, I decided to walk up to a stranger and try to purchase a bite of their lunch while they were eating it.

Actually, this challenge was inspired by Regan’s Rejection Therapy in Japan series. Where he attempts to buy a half drunk coffee off of someone in Starbucks (and succeeds!)

I honestly didn’t know that Regan’s channel existed until a friend told me about it recently. It’s really cool to know that someone else was doing something similar here in Japan, and I aspire to do it with as much positivity, enthusiasm, and bravery as he does.

Anyway, the women didn’t let me purchase the bite =P

I really wanted to try out like ten different people in the shopping mall I was in, but I decided to stop after one, as this is a little shopping mall in the countryside of Japan. As much as I want to challenge myself to social fears, I do want to prevent creating a bad reputation if possible.

I definitely distinguish between challenge fears, and creating a bad reputation for no reason.

I’d like to get out to more urban areas like Tokyo in the future so I can really not hold back and go more crazy with these challenges.

As always, let me know of challenges you would like to see me do. Or please post your thoughts, opinions, or criticisms in the comments =)

That’s all for today.

Please subscribe to the mailing list in the side bar in order to stay updated on the newest released challenges, and follow me on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!

Challenge #3: Applying to be a Convenience Store Model – Social Skydiving in Japan

You can read more about this social skydiving/rejection therapy experiment here.

Have you ever considered the untapped job market potential for being a convenience store model in Japan? Well I have too. Or so was the premise of this challenge…

For my third challenge of social skydiving, I walked into a Family Mart convenience store in Japan, and tried to apply to be a convenience store “model.”

I don’t know if such a thing exists or not, but I thought it would be a ridiculous thing to ask. And it was.

The thing that made this challenge particularly tough was my lack of motivation to do it. I had missed a couple of weeks of doing challenges and my motivation was quite low.

In fact, looking forward to doing this challenge after work was like looking forward to getting teeth drilled. In one way, I knew it was the right thing to do, because it was part of my goals for challenging fears and improving. But the bit of fear that existed actually put me off to doing it.

It felt really satisfying to challenge that feeling.

Another interesting element was that after doing that Happy Birthday in McDonald’s video, I honestly felt like I had set the bar really high to what would count as a challenge. This made me want to put off doing any new challenges until I could do something good.

What I had forgotten was that what’s more important than doing something really well, is keeping that momentum going. No matter how small that momentum it is.

It’s much better to get out and do something than nothing. In the case of social skydiving, as long as you are going + .001 outside your comfort-zone, you are not only expanding your comfort-zone, but you are also maintaining the important habit of keeping the process going.

I was really happy to pull that lawn mower chain and get things started again.

That’s all for today.

Please subscribe to the mailing list in the side bar in order to stay updated on the newest released challenges, and follow me on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!