Posts tagged friends
The End is Never the End
ROB 10 000

(Reading time: 1,5')

I met Rob after hearing about his captivating story on a podcast.

He had embarked on a journey to meet 10 000 people and was staying in Long Beach and swinging by LA pretty often. Great timing.

We decided to meet up in a coffee place and chat, I was number 1900 on his list. When I arrived, he had an enormous smile and sparkly eyes, as if we had met before. 

“I was raised in a tight knit family in Norristown, Pennsylvania, right outside Philly. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone. I also had a great group of friends in college, so I’ve always enjoyed human connections. Therefore, when I started traveling, it was missing having friendly faces around. 

I thought: 'how fun would it be if I knew people everywhere I’d go? Having a place to stay at, someone to show me around, or just be able to walk around and saying hi to people on the street. Feeling home. Feeling connected?'

So I decided to expand my circle of friends. I set the goal of meeting 10 000 people for an hour each, to get to know them. I started 3 years ago, back when I was still working full-time. I’d meet strangers in the evenings and on the weekends”. 

I asked why he was so enticed to meeting strangers when other people had rather maintaining a close circle of friends, focusing on tight bonds rather than quantity.

“I think it's difficult to create a set definition for friendship because there are different levels of friendship. For the purpose of my project, I simply define it as treating each other like old pals for the hour that we're together and leaving the door open to become better friends in the future.

I spend an hour one-o-one quality conversation getting to know them, not preparing anything, not following a guideline, not asking pre-determined questions. I like the concept of being surprised by people’s personalities and lifestyles.

I try and maintain bounds with all of them and naturally relationships can evolve into closer friends, business or even romantic relationships, who knows! I leave it to faith and go with the flow”.

I asked if he had any plans on monetizing his project. 

“I do not set any expectation nor have a strategy for the moment. I just want to spend genuine quality time with people and see where it leads. I am confident that this project will keep expanding and that I’ll be able to start traveling and do this for a living within a couple months.

I trust that things will work out because I know that I am on the right path. I’m not worried for the future, I stay positive as I know there’s always a solution to anything.

In fact, the motto I live by is: 'the end is never this end'”.

It's All Good as Long as You Apologize
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I met Thomas through a common friend who was visiting me from San Francisco.

We went to a co-working space for the day (we had the luxury of being able to work remote, which means no office, but no real holiday either).

Thomas was another French guy who had his quarters there.

I asked my friend for an introduction.

“- Never mind, you’re never going to get along. 

- Huh? Why?

- Because he’s just the extreme opposite of you. You just won’t connect, that’s all.

He’s just a mean guy!”

I was flabbergasted.

“- Alright, now I HAVE to meet him”.

Listen to his journey from being a social misfit, to finding his way and becoming an influencer with a voice (38 000+ followers on Twitter).

 

Find your way in the episode:

2:20 Truth flows from the mouth of babes & being misunderstood as a child

6:00 The concept of safe zone 

7:00 Teasing as a shell of protection & provoking reactions

9:30 Testing boundaries as a way to filter friends

11:00 Being rude in Southern Europe Vs the States

13:30 Flirting like an asshole

16:00 Being successful and getting a voice on social media by being true to yourself

19:00 The pressure of being on your best behaviour

24:00 Embracing cultures when travelling

You can be rude, but don’t forget to apologize”
Know What You Want & Maximize Your Time Accordingly
Estimated reading time: 3'

Estimated reading time: 3'

I met Hunter at a Friends-giving getaway in lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful areas of California. We had rented a giant house by the lake together with 18 other people.

On the first day, while the group split into either skiing or hiking adventures, Hunter decided to stay home by the fireplace and read a book.

In the evenings, while he was the youngest of the bunch, 20 years old, he would warn adults not to eat sugar or drink too much... This caught my attention and I was curious to know why he was acting so mature.

"I just want to maximize my time and my health.

Alcohol dissolves brain cells, and brain cells don’t recreate after being made, while most other cells in your body regenerate after 5 years. I don't want to waste them at an early age. 

Last year, I would wake up at 8am and go to Business Administration classes. Then, I would go to my club and organizational roles. After a commute home, I would go to work as a pizza-delivery guy, then home again, do homework, play a video game and eventually end the day at 12-2 o'clock, in the morning i’d start again. I always needed to have energy, so I've always made a point to live healthily (sleep well, eat well, take care of my mind, etc). In college lot of students underachieve: it's more fun and less studies.

It wasn’t the same for me.

 

- Did your parents put that pressure on you to study and work hard? I asked.

 

- My parents never really pushed me, I continually reach for my potential alone. However, they did introduce me to various activities and raised me well. They would never push me but I was taught that if I wanted something I would have to work towards it. For example, my family burns wood in the winter to help heat our house. This meant I'd have to help split, stack, or bring in wood during the winter, from a young age. Yet as I grew up it went from a chore, to something that I could do to help. I’ve always given whatever I'm doing my all.

I used to be an A student, soccer all-star, and track runner until I hurt my feet and was not able to compete any longer.

But when you work so hard toward good grades, you lose the meaning, you wake up in the morning and think "why am I here right now, is this this even worth it?".

Fortunately, one day, my high school buddy bootstrapped a company and asked me to be part of the project.

He dropped out of school, developed a wearable tech company, sold it, and invested in what has become Leangap.

I believe that everybody should have the chance to create something meaningful, to develop their ideas, no matter what their financial situation is. So we created this summer program that helps students reach their full potential. We gather students from all around the world into one location. We have mentors which direct them as they combine their various expertise and ideas. By the end of the program they will have a viable business model, app, or prototype which they pitch to a panel of venture capitalists, CEOs, and successful entrepreneurs.

I found what I love, it gives me more meaning, and I'm helping kids do the same. I might go back to school eventually but right now I still spend all my time experimenting, learning and growing. That's all I can do for myself at the end of the day. There's so much information out there...

My biggest tip is: learn what you want to know, figure out what interests you, then maximize your time accordingly to do what you love".

What’s your passion & are you following it?
Get Help From Your Friends
Estimated reading time: 2'

Estimated reading time: 2'

Conversation with one of my colleagues on his most memorable turning point.

“At college, for 180 days straight, I got drunk, smoke a lot of weed and took pills.  Once, I did something really bad that could have led me both dismissed from school and go to prison.

The counsellor gave two choices, either I’d go to AA meetings every week and report on what I’d learnt, or he would report me to the university and the police for what I did.

I took the first option. Once there, I met this guy from AA who told me:

“Look, man, you think this is funny, you think you’re tough? You think this isn’t the problem?

You’ve been doing this for 180 days, I’ve been struggling with this for 30 years.

Do you want to wake up at 9.20 when you have a job, you’re drunk, you don’t know where you are, you can’t find your shoes and you have to get a cab to get to work? You go to a good school with a very difficult major and you seem like a smart kid, so I want you to go home today and I want you to look in the mirror tonight and think:

“Do I want to do this for the rest of my life? Do I want the first thought in my head when I wake up to be “I need a drink”?"

Right now you’re at school, but one day you’ll have a kid and a wife. I missed the birth of my daughter because I was in a drunk holding cell. I wasn't there for her, is that what you want? I missed my father’s funeral because I was at the bar.

My first answer was “Look man, that’s your problem”.

He said “for 30 years, every decision in my life was influenced by alcohol, and I don’t want that to be you.

You think you have the whole world under your feet but you’re right on the verge of losing everything in front of your eyes".

So I listened.

When I got home, I got rid of all the bottles and asked my roommates to hold me accountable.

If there were parties, they’d tell me to go upstairs. 2-3 days in, I was sweating, I felt horrible.

After 2 weeks, I went out, planning on only getting one drink.

After the first drink, my friends took my credit card, and if a girl would offer me a drink, they’d slap it out of my hand. Or they’d smell my glass to check whether I was having water or vodka. It eventually got to the point when I’d go out and only want to have soft drinks and slowly grow out of it. This dude's sentence still sticks with me.”

Being Accepted Isn't Your Life Mission
Estimated reading time: 3'

Estimated reading time: 3'

It is commonly known that Swedish people (in particular those from Stockholm) are referred to as “cold” or “not easy to approach”. Having lived there myself for 5 years, I have noticed that compared to other countries, they are indeed not very keen on small talk nor having any sort of interactions with strangers. Just google “waiting for the bus like a Swede” to see for yourself (and crack a smile).

That’s anyways where Patrick grew up. A couple weeks ago, he spent a weekend with his cousin in Copenhagen, and went out to a bar. Despite being originally “hungover, tired, and not in a party mood”, he ended up spending one of the best evenings of his life.

"We went out, had a few drinks, no more than usual, and started to talk to random people sitting next to us, also Swedish. 

First, a guy asked us if the seat next to us was taken, I said “Sure, as long as you turn your back at us and do not talk to us!”, half joking. 

Another one asked to smell my cousin’s drink, and he let her take a sip, which he’d never usually suggest. We all ended up talking for 5 hours until the place closed down, then headed to a club and let loose on the dance floor until it closed at the break of dawn.

It was all a coincidence, everything was just smooth from the taste of the food, to conversations, to the music..."

But was is really just a coincidence? Why did he completely let loose with strangers, for once?

"I just felt a connection with other people I haven’t felt in a long time. I didn’t feel the need to impress, and was 100% myself. I used to convince myself that I did not enjoy meeting new people, because fear was taking over. What if they did not like me? It would have reflected my own low self-esteem. That night, I figured that I had it all wrong. I used to see “being accepted & being special” as my life’s mission, until I accepted that other people’s expectations, opinions and wills were theirs, not mine.

I originally understood this after studying Biocentrism*, which gave me a clear understanding of life, our purpose and relationships. As soon as you stop trying to please everyone, you become your own boss. I feel good about myself now, which means that I can BE myself, and consequently, others can also appreciate my personality, which was confirmed that night. I felt a flush of satisfaction and pride the next morning, which led me to want to start being more social, open, travel more, change my business and do something with my life. Live it to the fullest so to speak".

Living in a society where people have to be someone special, do something special, live to expectations, seems to have a heavy impact on people’s self-confidence in social environments, in particular in Stockholm, according to Patrick’s experience... It made it harder for him to open up and make new acquaintances. But the cocktail of those 3 things seem to do the trick:

  • Having a special connection

  • Letting go of social fears (being abroad, where nobody knows you & you can reinvent yourself, helps, as well as alcohol, the infamous social lubricant)

  • Topped with some background work on self-confidence

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*NB: Biocentrism is a theory developed by the physiologist Robert Lanza that explains that life creates the Universe, is infinite, and that there are as many realities as there are people.