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Doing Things You Don't Want to Do

I had just spent the weekend at Real Social Dynamics' Hot Seat 2, which, frankly, is an amazing program. Tyler comes in with nine hours of hidden camera footage, and plays it for the audience while pausing to explain what's going on.

I learned a ton and was properly inspired, but Tyler's approach is definitely not the easy way out. Instead of rolling up to a girl with an indirect opener, you walk up, make eye contact, and say hi. This sounds easy, but in practice it's scary because you're putting your ego on the line every time, making it trivially easy to be rejected.

So on Monday I went out to the mall to try it. It was the first time I'd been out in the day (for pickup) in a solid month, since we'd been going out at night instead. I did one approach, and then kicked myself for the next hour and a half and did nothing. My brain was looking for, and found, every single reason not to do it. She's too attractive-- start off easier. She's not attractive enough-- you don't want it to go well. She's walking-- she wouldn't stop anyway. She's standing still-- it looks too obvious.

A Better World Starts with a Better You: 2012

On Radical Reader Chinese

I have been into self-improvement for a long time now. For almost five years now I have religiously followed a number of authors who speak to becoming a bigger, badder you.

However, the pursuit has always felt a little hollow to me. Becoming a better you has always felt to me to necessitate an overly inward eye. Many years ago I took a pledge around a campfire to live my life for others. While I was just a kid at the time, the pledge is still something that I take seriously, something that has been fed by my activities since.

This campfire experience is one that came back to me several years later when I sought to learn more about Buddhism. My interest was academic rather than spiritual, but I was struck by something on a deeper level nonetheless. I was watching a video series with basic information about what it was to be a Buddhist, and I was struck by a statement the monks said ad the beginning of each installment. "... to achieve enlightenment for the betterment of all beings..."

That is how self improvement reconciles with altruistic, charitable living.

That is how I want to live my life.

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