I thought; Sit down next to someone. Say, “How is your day going?” Easy peasy.
But as soon as I got on the train, I froze. Every excuse ran through my brain: No one wants to talk to a stranger on the train. What if I interrupt important work they’re doing on their smart phone? And what If I make them uncomfortable? I already did uncomfortable things today, I don’t need to do this challenge.
Then I remembered my talk with Nat Sharpe. During his challenges, his brain mastered the art of coming up with excuses.
So I recognized what my brain was doing. It was trying to keep me comfortable by coming up with reasons to not go into the discomfort zone.
Even though I knew my brain was tricking me, it was hard to combat.
After about 20 minutes of the train ride, I realized I had to make my move. My stop was approaching. But every passenger glued their face to their devices. How do I interrupt their private digital moments?
Connect on Genuine Interest
A man working on his computer the whole time caught my attention. I thought it was time efficient of him to be doing work on the train. And so I realized, I could use this point to genuinely connect with him. I’d let him know his productivity impressed me.
But I worried, would such a time-efficient-person be bothered by my interruption? As I looked at him nervously he looked up and smiled. I’ve never been so happy to see a stranger smile! This was my moment!
I told him how impressive his work ethic was. He had a very distinct friendly voice, like Wallace Shawn. It put me at ease.
We talked before my stop. He turned out to be a very interesting man.
It helped that my comment was genuine, and not a throw away remark. Since I’m interested in productivity, connecting with someone who’s demonstrating productivity lead to a genuine connection. Similar values, similar interests.
My stop came up quickly. I asked how I could find him. He told me where he worked and what his name was. He yelled as the door closed, “Email me!”
I found him online, and we’ve continued our chat.
It’s really late so I’m gonna stop writing. Sorry if there are typos!