By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
How are you doing at life? Where are you right now? Kicking some ass? Struggling a bit? Somewhere in between?
I was recently invited to Vanity Fair's Summit here in SF. I got to see some amazing speakers, people who in a lot of ways are kicking ass and people who are changing the world. One of my favorite speakers was Jony Ive, Apple's top designer. I mean, this guy had a big hand in the design of the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad…etc. Brian Grazer, whose book I recently read about curiosity, was moderating a discussion with Jony Ive and JJ Abrams. Jony Ive said "Curiosity means you are comfortable with being wrong." Maybe we can increase our curiosity and actually be more okay with being wrong.
For me, part of that means taking risks. I've taken big risks like starting Jaunty, asking someone out, raising money from friends and family, and saying no, or sometimes yes. And every day I take little risks, like making a joke with a stranger, even though they might think I'm weird or am being serious. At Vanity Fair's Summit, I was surrounded by amazing people who had all pushed themselves in some way and taken risks to get to where they are now. It was really inspiring.
Kicking ass at life doesn't mean getting everything perfect all the time. That's impossible. But to me it's about having the courage to acknowledge when things aren't working so well and getting curious about how to make it better. Entrepreneur James Altucher focuses on being one percent better a day. I love that.
Get your shit together. Well, what does this mean? As much as I loved being the alternative punk, adored Kurt Cobain, and miss Amy Winehouse, the more I spent time with people who had their shit together, the happier I felt. Don't interpret having your shit together as being straight edge or boring either. If you really want to start to get your shit together or are motivated to learn a few things that can enhance your life, here are my thoughts on some areas to work on:
Money: This is by far the easiest to learn. I spent six years as a financial planner and I only scratched the surface of the topic of Finance. But you don't need to be a financial expert to be smart with money. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, eight in ten Americans have some sort of debt and a Nasdaq study says 34% of Americans have revolving credit card debt. Whether it's student loans or credit card debt, it's not going to go away on its own. Educate yourself. It won't take that long. Whatever your financial situation, there are tools and things you can do to help yourself. Get curious about how you spend your money and how you could save more. Learn about the ins and outs of budgeting, credit cards, and stocks. They don't teach the differences between a student loan and a student grant in our high schools. I think they should. You are not alone.
Relationships: Everyone deserves a rich social life and a loving partner. Get curious about what kind of people you want around you. Having close friends, a partner, and the ability to get along with most people at work and in your daily life is crucial to our happiness. Some studies even show that married people live longer on average than single people. Love and support rules. Take some risks and approach more strangers. If you've already come to one of Jaunty's free social intelligence workshops, then you have some idea of what to say. If you've done our six-week course then you know you can take the conversation wherever you want.
Health: When we take care of ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally, we feel better and are better able to function. Listen to your body. I love snacking on mochi or a falafel but I usually feel like crap afterwards. What kind of food will nourish you? What kind of exercise is your body asking for? If the gym isn't your thing, go for a hike, dance, or get on top more in bed. Here are some more fun ideas.
Get curious about what you're really curious about. What do you want your life to look like? Are you curious enough to actually do something about it…or are you only curious enough to hope something will happen? Take a step in the right direction, even if it's a small one. One percent a day better!
How are you getting your shit together today?
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Raise your hand if you like people watching. I love people watching. I can't see you but you'd probably be raising your hand if I were there. Most people I meet like people watching.
Recently, I was at the Grove, a coffee shop in SF. While I was in line I checked out a young, tattooed woman working behind the counter. She laughed full heartedly with a couple of the other employees. It was intriguing watching her glide throughout the coffee shop and I was really curious about her life. I was happy to see her get in front of the register when it was my turn to order. We spoke, laughed, connected, and exchanged numbers. We now hang out. She keeps me curious.
Being curious about others is a hell of a motivator to meet new people.
I used to play a game with people, from old friends to first dates. We would create stories about the people in the environment and guess what their life was like. Sometimes we would go up and talk to them to try to confirm. At first I found myself way off the mark, but I later got a bit more consistently close to the truth. You should try this.
The top things I've always been most curious about are: people, romance, travel, history, finance, and music. People is by far the biggest one. How the hell did he or she do it? How did Marilyn Monroe seduce the world? How did Elon Musk reinvigorate space and energy? How the fuck did that guy get "Gangnam Style" to reach the top?! There is a story behind it all. The answer usually has something to do with Persistence, Preparation (skills), and Luck.
It all starts with curiosity though. Write down a list of the things you're most curious about. How can you welcome more of those things into your life this summer?
By Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer and Community Manager
"Public speaking used to make me really nervous," Jaunty graduate Ashmi Pathela says. She was good at sounding confident, but had to work to hide her nervousness during any presentation.
Ashmi's first language is Japanese, and though she moved from Japan to the States when she was only five, she always felt pressure to speak well and blend in with her peers. Don't stumble over your words. Whether a product of her culture or just her personality, that voice in her head was always getting in the way.
"This year, I've been focusing on personal development," Ashmi says. As a Senior Marketing Manager at an activities and events software company, she felt the best way to develop her leadership skills was to improve her social intelligence. She attended a free Jaunty workshop and saw the six-week course as a great way to build deeper connections with peers, both personally and professionally.
"Approaching strangers is easy for me if it's at an event, like a party or for networking. But approaching someone on the street in broad daylight without having a reason is super challenging." During the course, Ashmi had lots of opportunities to practice overcoming those initial hesitations, and a funny thing happened. When she started approaching and introducing herself to new people, she noticed more people started approaching her too. Maybe she was holding herself differently. Or perhaps she was being more present and noticing more people around her. Either way, the world got a little smaller once she got out of her own head.
Ashmi especially enjoyed Jaunty's segment on humor. Half Japanese and half Indian, Ashmi says, "Japanese people don't use sarcasm or dry humor that freely, including my close family members. Since I grew up without it, it was always hard for me to pick up."
Jaunty's class on humor breaks down different elements of high status humor and explains the science behind it. Ashmi loved trying it out and seeing it work. Now, she looks for ways to be more playful in her daily life, especially through language. Ashmi feels humor is a wonderful way to build rapport with people and "laugh along with the world."
And how about public speaking? At a recent annual off-site, Ashmi presented in front of her entire company. Instead of focusing on her nerves, she thought about the value she was delivering to her colleagues. She used many of her Jaunty skills like slowing down, remembering to pause, and projecting - and it was the most confident she's ever been. "It was the first time I didn't have to hide any nervousness, because I felt confident inside." Afterwards, people came up and complimented her on her speech.
Ashmi feels anyone can benefit from Jaunty. "It's not often that people make the time or effort to invest in themselves. Jaunty can really impact your personal interactions, confidence level, and how you present yourself to the world. I've had so many more meaningful connections by learning how to slow down and really listen." Indeed, Ashmi feels her new-found social intelligence is helping her "build closer relationships with others by living a more present life."