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.

 


Subscribe to the Social Skydiving Newsletter in order to stay updated on the newest released challenges, and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram!

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.

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, Instagram and Facebook.

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.

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 #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.

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, Instagram and Facebook.

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!

Challenge #2: Singing Happy Birthday to Myself in Mcdonalds in Japan – Social Skydiving in Japan

News: Because I wanted to enhance my mindset about what I’m wanting to do and achieve with this project, I’ve officially decided to start it “Social Skydiving,” rather than “rejection therapy.”

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

This was the second challenge  of my social skydiving project. Man, it was much tougher than the first one. This particular challenge held a few different aspects that were particularly challenging to me: public speaking, singing in front of others, and looking like a doofus in public.

I mean, public speaking and singing is enough for someone who isn’t used to doing that sort of thing.

But what weirdo sits by himself in a crowded restaurant, stands up and announces its his own birthday and sings happy birthday in front of everyone to himself?

So for me, there was a big challenging of the fear of judgment. Judgment that everyone would think its weird that am singing happy birthday to myself.

And, I’m sure they did judge, haha. But that’s part of what this project is about: overcoming fear of judgment.

It was really cool to see that mostly everyone was supportive. As soon as I stood up and commanded everyone’s attention, they were all very interested in what I had to say and some even sang and clapped for me!

Furthermore, I’ll bet afterward they all went about their day with an interesting story to tell 🙂

This is an important realization I’m having as I do this project. The results of doing each challenge is unexpected! Not only am I challenging the fear which toughens my attitude, but I’m also becoming pleasantly surprised at what happens when I challenge the fear.

I’m assuming that this translates over to other aspects of life. We often want to do something like learn a new skill, start a new career, or have an awesome dating life… but we are afraid to try because we might expect to fail.

Well doing these challenges for me is beginning to show me that my expectations for what will happen if I try X thing are often not even correct.

Maybe if I challenge those fears more and try for more of what I want in life, I’ll be pleasantly surprised at the result of trying!

Have any of you had an(y) experience(s) like this?

Thats it for now. Stay tuned for my next challenge which will be posted up very shortly!

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!

UPDATE: Why I Officially Decided to Name This Project “Social Skydiving”

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

Social Skydiving in Japan

Up until now, I’ve been really stuck on whether I was going to use the name “rejection therapy” or “social skydiving” to describe this project of challenging myself by going out and completing these challenging social tasks.

I’ve decided to go with social skydiving, not only because it sounds cool and gives you a good visual image  of what the project is, but because it actually reflects a better mindset to me, than does “rejection therapy.”

Both “rejection therapy” and “social skydiving” are not my own terms.

Rejection therapy is the act of challenging yourself to difficult social challenges in order to overcome fear of rejection from people. It was made popular by Jia Jiang, a guy who filmed himself doing 100 rejection challenges. It is my main inspiration for doing this project.

I first heard social skydiving from Bennie the Irish Polyglot in his blog. He talks about social skydiving in terms of talking to lots of strangers in order to improve your skills in the language you are learning. “Skydiving” in that it is intense and scary at first to talk to strangers, but thrilling once you overcome the fear.

Also, after some quick research I found this post in a blog called 30sleeps.com in which the author Brad Bollenbach talks about social skydiving in terms of talking to strangers in order to improve your dating and social life in general. Another great read.

All of the above I feel are related in that you are challenging fear for the purpose of improving yourself and achieving your goals.

Rejection Therapy Vs. Social Skydiving

The main reason I’ve decided on social skydiving is because of an important difference in the implication of the words.

“Therapy” implies that there is some kind of lack in me. Something that I need to rehabilitate. Something I need to do in order to get myself up to normal. Kind of like how you can have “speech therapy” to get your speech back to normal or “physical therapy” when you have an issue with the way your body works and moves. Physical therapy is something that hopefully gets your body moving properly again, like rehabilitation.

I have always felt a little weird about using “rejection therapy” because the very implication of the term is that I am more afraid of rejection than the average person and I want to use “therapy” to get back to normal. Almost like the implied goal of rejection therapy is to just be normal, but not excellent.

However, I don’t want to just be normal.

I want to go above and beyond! I want to have tons of courage and confidence. Just like jumping out of a plane is something that a person with higher-than-average courage would take, I want my challenges to be more difficult than average.

True skydiving is a challenge, an adventure! It’s intense (at least I imagine, I have not been skydiving yet 😉 )! It’s fun and thrilling.

And I want this social project of bettering myself to be the same, with the goal of becoming someone with tons of courage and confidence that could “jump out of a plane” socially.

To think of the flip side image, I don’t want to be sitting in a room in cast with some guy manipulating my body parts, telling me to move my leg a couple of inches in order to hopefully someday be normal.

I want to be an adventurous skydiver! A social superman! At least I want to work toward my max potential as a human being.

It’s a subtle difference in mindsets: one having the goal of being “normal” and the other having the goal of being excellent.


That’s it for now. 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!