For this challenge, I asked fellow patrons at the grocery store to play paper scissors rock. As an added bonus, whoever wins had to buy something for the other person.
Two out of the four interactions were successful. But the other two were dreadful!
This was the first time a challenge was more difficult than I expected. I thought people would be fine playing with me. Instead, the first two interactions were rife with awkwardness, desperation, and piercing tension.
I later realized, this was in part due to the old conference badge I was wearing. I wore it to hold my phone to record the interaction.
The first man eyed the badge suspiciously. I thought he was on to my phone recording. But, during the next interaction the lady asked me what group I belonged to, gesturing to my badge. That’s when I realized, clad with my badge I looked like a cult member.
After I took the card out of the badge, the interactions went fine! Even with my phone still recording in the badge holder.
Here’s two of the interactions, the worst and the best:
Proof Is In The Recording
I’m glad I recorded the interactions. As cringeworthy as it was to re-watch an embarrassing moment, I learned a lot from watching the recordings back. I could see where I could’ve handled the interaction better.
For example, in response to the couple’s suspicion of me, I tensed up. If I calmed down, it could have in turn calmed them down.
Seeing where I messed up gave me hope. It wasn’t just that this couple was crazy, I made the situation worse. I had control.
It sucks to feel I did a bad job. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually empowering to know I messed up. It shows me that if I made different choices, I could get to a better outcome.
I found another surprising benefit to recording my challenge. For hours, my mind replayed what happened. I thought over and over again about how these people must hate me, how I messed up, how people are so weird, how I’ll never be anything because I’m so lame and I can’t handle people.
After hours of ruminating, I reluctantly watched the video. To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Having a copy of the truth brought me back to reality.
What I Learned
With other challenges, I saw how fear can cause undue stress. But for this challenge I saw the opposite extreme. Going in with too many good expectations can leave you shaken when something goes wrong.
When other people get reactive, it’s important to stay calm. Think about how you can explain the situation better so they can understand you and let their guard down.
I’m interested in recording more of my life. I think this might be a secret trick to gaining insights and self awareness.
Join The Challenge
For more information on the challenge, see the 30DaysOfDiscomfort challenge page.
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Share your experiences on twitter with the hashtag #30DaysOfDiscomfort