By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Ever have nightmares where you're on stage in a play and don't know your lines?
A well-rehearsed play or a prepared and teleprompted speech, are very different from improv theater, an unexpected speech, or starting a conversation with a stranger. With the play and the teleprompted speech, everything is carefully planned and practiced. Depending on who you are, the improv, impromptu speech, and chatting up a stranger can feel exciting and fun, or nerve-wracking and scary. But what about an impromptu conversation with a close friend; why is that easy?
Spending time with people we're comfortable with feels good. We don't need to worry about what to say or what they think of us. The conversation flows. There's no need to impress, because we know they like us.
Remember Macgyver? I grew up on that show. Macgyver was a secret agent sent by some government agency on obscure missions to stop bad guys. The guy could escape from a room using nothing but a hair dryer and a shoelace. Basically, no matter what kind of pinch Macgyver got into, he could handle himself and adapt to the environment with whatever resources were available. Macgyver was pretty damn confident going into a mission. I loved his sense of adventure. The show was ridiculous, but awesome.
What are situations you'd like to be confident going into? For me personally, things I'd like to hold my own in and totally rock include:
1) social situations of any kind
2) the business world
3) the gym
4) any country
5) on stage to jam with a band
6) the wilderness
7) a physical altercation
Yeah, so I'm a lot more confident in some of those than others right now. I can hold my own at the gym, but haven't ever skinned a deer.
Something we stress at Jaunty is that confidence is nothing more than getting as close as you can to mastering a skill. I feel at ease in any social situation because I've honed my social intelligence skills and know that I can Macgyver my way through a conversation, even if I'm talking with someone who I seem to have nothing in common with. I love talking with strangers because like improv theater, it's always a surprise. You get to discover things about them and see if you might want to be friends.
When we get really good at social and emotional intelligence, striking up a conversation can feel as easy and enjoyable as hanging out with an old friend.
Imagine being Macgyver-level masterful in any major skill. What would you want to feel totally confident in? Now here's the fun part. If you had that skill, imagine how you'd feel going into a situation where you'd get to use your ability. How often would that situation occur in your life?
It's interesting how we often avoid things that are uncomfortable for us, when we actually get more confident and skilled by continually pushing ourselves a little outside our comfort zones.
Okay. Here are ten rubber bands, a ruler, and an ice cube. Now escape from that room.