Social Brain Hack: Borrowing States of Mind
After getting divorced and many, many years of spiritual research and exploration I found myself in a strange place. I had lost my innate gregariousness. How the heck do I meet people and have a social life? While you can kind of get away with being a hermit after 20 years of marriage, I wasn’t much fun as a bachelor.
You may have read in my last experiment regarding talking to strangers every day for thirty days. While I did find that it wasn’t very difficult to say hi, I was definitely not creating a meaningful connection. How to deeply engage with strangers at will in any setting was still eluding me.
What I find funny about this is the kind of situations I don’t find intimidating. Airplanes are no problem, I grew up boating on rough water, know what a bullet sounds like when it’s only feet away from my head, and I never feel lost in the woods when I wander off-trail.
Something else that no longer intimidates me (this used to be a fantastically huge problem) is asking women to dance. Well, tango anyways. The more attraction I felt for a woman the worse it would be.
This week though everything changed and I finally pulled it together.
Last weekend, I started wondering what would happen if I could get into the tango mindset in other parts of my life? How would it work to feel the confidence I have in asking a lady to dance a tanda only be talking with a stranger at the dentist office? I actually did this yesterday at the dentist office. Had a nice almost hour long chat with the receptionist while the kids were getting their teeth cleaned. She didn’t get much work done but I did learn people in Bellingham have a distinct accent. She was from Houston and still sounded Texan.
What I finally came to was that what I was looking for went beyond confidence. What was the secret ingredient? Passion! Passion for the dance was the real key. What I feel for and through tango can be used to fuel passion and aliveness in my life in general. That aliveness draws people to you, making connecting with them easy and natural. While the experiment is just starting I’m definitely seeing changes in my social skills.
Of course, life has been quietly showing me the answer for a while now. My last girlfriend told me she had found that passion for tango attractive when we first met at a party. In fact, she later reached out to me to see if there might be a connection between us. It wasn’t about the tango, though, it was about the energy and passion.
For some reason I didn’t catch on at the time. People are looking for that feeling of aliveness. Choose to find it in your own life. Let the energy permeate your being and live through you. People will find you.