The Stranger the better: How to build your confidence by making someone’s day

The Stranger the betterConfidence comes from the Latin meaning to have full trust in something. Often we want more confidence yet have forgotten that confidence itself is generated by experience so we should focus on getting experience instead of worrying about confidence. They are naturally interrelated.

I realised that I say hello to many random people, and recently I’ve been doing it a bit more consciously to homeless people. Yesterday I was walking on Hollywood Boulevard when I had a short and connected chat with a guy who looked like he was living rough just by me saying hello. We finished our short interaction by me asking him his name and saying goodbye, by name.

If you want to use this information in your life …

Aim to say hi, hello, g’day, bonjour, salut or other greetings to 10 people today. 7 days is an unusual round number so starting today, perhaps see how you go for a week. If anyone asks why, just tell them the truth; you’re doing a fun exercise to say hi to 10 strangers. The truth is so Easy!

I just made this little video after writing my blog to show you how easy it is to connect with people. I had a vision (this video), I was friendly, enthusiastic and playful. And yes, some people didn’t want to be a part of it, and of course that’s fine too.

A few tips

To get out of a conversation with anyone, ask them their name and shake their hand. Simply say:

Excuse me/Sorry, what was your name again?” whilst holding your hand ready to extend to shake theirs. They tell you their name and you continue …

David, it was lovely to meet you, have a great day” and then turn to walk away.

If you want to start a conversation, ask them their opinion on something which is happening right there and then. If you are in a cafe, some of these phrases could be useful:

Could I get your opinion on something? Do you think this is weather for a tea or coffee? What are you getting, I can’t make my mind up? Do you always have the same or do you try different things …”

The aim is to simply say hi to ten strangers as this will build your experience of interacting with people. If you find certain types of people confusing or have a negative view of them, perhaps make a point of just saying hi to a few to naturally break down the barriers.

If you want to understand the science behind this so you can transfer this to other areas of your life, read on …

It is very easy in life to focus on Lag measures instead of Lead measures. A Lag measure (such as weight loss or sales revenue) is generally measured at the end of a period. At that point, nothing can be done to change the result. When we focus on the activities which result in the Lag measure, we have far more influence on the outcome. Using weight loss and saving money as our examples:

Losing 5kg (10lbs) body weight in 2 months

  • Lead Measures: Going to gym, days you follow your food plan, drinking 5 glasses of water per day
  • Lag Measure: 5kg weight loss.

Saving $5,000 for a special holiday in 6 months

  • Lead Measures: Frequency and size of deposits into a savings account, money saved following a budget, extra money earned
  • Lag Measure: $5,000 saved

Have a think about the goals or visions you have in your life and notice if you’re focusing on the Lead or the Lag? Guide your attention towards the Lead measures and watch your visions become your reality.

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