Dare yourself to do something you fear and change your life for the better

Change? Change!

You want to change, but you don’t know what to do. I have a suggestion for you. Dare yourself to do something you fear. Take that first step no matter how scary it is. You may not have a clear picture of where you want to go, but just start moving. Don’t stand still, unless you are actively taking time to be still. Start from where you are and do something. It’s simple, right?

But who am I to tell you these things? You might wonder.

In this post, I’ll tell you my story. My story of taking action to change myself for the better. I have always been keen on improving myself as a person, but there was something I didn’t work on until recently – a couple of years ago, to be more precise.

My story: On becoming an attractive man

How did I want to change myself? I wanted to be able to meet women I find attractive and to be able to attract them, because I hardly met such women in my social circles and if I did, I was clueless about what to do. I had been with my broken heart for about a year and I wanted to move on. The whole story is much more complicated than what I told you just now, but you get the picture.

While it’s true that philosophy and martial arts, which were my two main activities at that time, are male dominated and you are less likely to meet women through these things, it’s also true that if you live in a place where there are human beings, there should be women almost everywhere you go. And I lived in the capital city of Australia at that time. It’s a small place, but it’s not a man-only land either.

My old self didn’t realize this simple fact until he started changing the way he looked at the world.

What you need to do – Taking action

In the beginning, I was half committed, but when I found myself letting some opportunities go, I felt so stupid that I decided to change myself completely. No, it wasn’t that I was unattractive, but I simply didn’t know what to do when interacting with attractive women!

When I was half committed, there was not much action. I was learning about women, dating and relationship by reading relevant literature, but that was all. That is still something and better than nothing, but it doesn’t count much.

One of the very first steps I took was to start giving small compliments to some women I interacted with. It’s funny to me now that it scared me a little bit when I first started doing it.

Eventually, I came to think that I needed to push myself harder. So, I started talking to random strangers who I found attractive (i.e. attractive on the basis of how they looked). No, not at bars or clubs, but in bookshops, supermarkets, cafes, or any other normal places under the sun. I’m pretty sure I was more than awkward in the beginning, because I was nervous as hell and trying to manage that nervousness instead of acknowledging it.

If you want to meet someone, you must talk to that person. It’s simple. I knew it wasn’t going to kill me, but I was still scared. That’s why I kept putting it forward and it took me a few months to take action.

When I was scared and didn’t take that step, I kept justifying myself for not taking that step. No, she seems too busy. No, she must be with her boyfriend. No, she is not my type. No, I’ll talk to her later. No, no, no…

When I made that step, it was much simpler. It went like this. My inner voice shouts at me and tells me not to do it. I ignore that voice and let my feet move my body towards that woman I’ve noticed. I’m scared as hell, but I let my feet do the work. Now I’m in such a position where I can’t run away. OK, now I have to tell her what I want to say. I’m nervous as hell, but, damn it. I show up anyway.

Once I got used to this process, I felt less intimidated about talking to women. Over a few months, I talked to more than 300 women. Not every interaction went well. Some interactions were simply awkward. But in many cases, I was told that my honest compliments made their day.

In addition to talking to those women, I learnt more about women, dating and relationship by reading relevant texts. I asked my good female friends a lot of questions. I learnt a great deal from Zan Perrion. These things helped me understand better about the male-female dynamics, but without my over 300 interactions, I wouldn’t have had the momentum to get the most out of these learning experiences.

Was it really necessary for me to talk to that many women? (Actually, 300+ isn’t a lot.) Maybe or maybe not. But it did teach me some lessons, though. Now I know it’s not going to kill me. I know how to have fun with that process. I know I can walk up to someone I noticed if I want to do so. You never know when romantic moments come near you. You gotta be always ready, or you’ll miss them.

Where I stand today

Reflecting on what I did, I can say I was pretty much clueless about what I really wanted when I started taking action. But along the way, my aim became clearer and clearer. Also, it led me to where I never thought I would reach when I started working on this area.

This shift happened during the Ars Amorata program I took last year. If you are a man who wants to live a purposeful life, I highly recommend you to check it out.

In the beginning, my journey was more about learning how to impress women. I’m not interested in impressing women anymore. I know who I am and I don’t feel the urge to prove myself to women or other men.

Now, my journey’s scope is much bigger than before. At the same time, however, it’s much more focused. My journey is about living a purposeful life and I’m happy to invite those who want to join me on this journey.

(By the way, fellow men, don’t make women your adventure by chasing them; instead, invite them to come along with you on your journey.)

If you are open to the world around you and engage with it, you will meet your people along the way. You’ll recognize them when you meet them. Make deep connections with them, share the beauty of life with one another, and celebrate it together.

What it means to be open to the world is to show up fully as who you are. Relax and have fun. Also, don’t hide your intention as a man (well, if you are a man, that is). By the way, check out this interview by Hugh Hefner. There are so many things to learn from what he says.

There’s a lot more for me to learn, but things are much, much simpler than I thought.

Dare yourself to do something you fear

I changed myself and my life significantly by daring myself to do something I feared. It was a small step in the beginning, and it eventually got bigger. I didn’t know where I was heading, but I did keep myself moving anyway.

Eventually, it got me somewhere I hadn’t imagined. Since there is no end to this jounrney until I die, I’m still working on deepening my understanding of women, dating and relationship. And love. And romance.

There are others things I want to change about myself, too, and I will work on them.

How about you? Are you ready to change yourself? Would you dare yourself to do something you fear?

You can keep asking yourself whether you are ready or not or whether you would do it or not, but if you want to change, take that first step anyway.

Change is good. Change is within your reach. Now you know it’s possible and how to achieve it. Stop waiting. Start moving.


If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below or by other means. That’s how you can help me grow this blog. Thank you! You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: The Daily Ornellas

On jumping, eating and breathing

This post will answer the prompts 25 (Photo), 26 (Soul Food) and 27 (Ordinary Joy)  of Reverb10. Join us and reflect on your year 2010…

Prompt 25: Photo

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

(Author: Tracey Clark)

{Future tool: Soul Biographies: Thoughts Become Things. For the next 7 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

This photo on the left was taken by Fernando Ramos in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Fernando gave it a name – “Jump for Life, Joy and Everything Inbetween”, and I think this title describes this jump very well. I jump for life, joy and everything inbetween. I jump even if no one is jumping. I jumped because I wanted to jump.

What do you do when you are happy? Do you jump? Or dance? Or sing?

By the way, Fernando runs a photo meme called SnapStory1000. The most basic rule is that you take a photo, write a short story based on the photo, and display them online. If you are interested, check out his SnapStory1ooo page here.

Prompt 26: Soul Food

What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

(Author: Elise Marie Collins)

{Future tool: Sark’s MicroMOVEment Support Sheets. For the next 6 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

I love food. I love cooking as well as eating. But when it comes to soul food, I’m inclined to think what really matters is who you share the food with, because that person or those people can make the dining more enjoyable and the food will be more memorable if not tastier.

What do you think?

In any case, sharing food can be what I’ll do more next year.

Prompt 27: Ordinary Joy

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

(Author: Brené Brown)

{Future tool: Tara Mohr’s The Next Steps After Vision… For the next 5 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.

I’m grateful that my life is filled with such joyful moments. I can pretty much be happy and feel joyful about being able to breathe.

I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and choking techniques are part of the core techniques of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So, when I’m good, I choke others. But when I’m playing with people stronger than me, I get choked and I tap.

Since I practice this style of martial arts and choking has become an ordinary thing for me, it didn’t occur to me how people rarely gets choked in their daily lives. If you practice yoga or something that teaches you the importance of breathing, you know breathing gives you positive effects. But do you know how amazing it is that you can breathe? You will know, if you’ve been in a situation where you can’t breathe even if you want to.

This very simple realization that I got by reflecting on what I practice makes me appreciate the fact that I can breathe. It’s joyful.

If you want to be able to appreciate these tiny moments more, be curious about what’s happening around you. Also, it helps to imagine what would happen if you couldn’t experience those moments at all.

This prompt’s author Brené Brown gave a great talk for TEDxHuston. This talk is one of my favorite talks that I’ve ever listened to. Make sure to check it out (I wrote a post in relation to her talk. Go to that post and scroll down to the bottom of the post for a clip of the talk.)


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Saitama-Rama

Cheshire Cat and 3 lessons of the year

This post will answer the prompts 23 (New Name) and 24 (Everything’s OK)  of Reverb10. Join us and reflect on your year 2010…

Prompt 23: New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

(Author: Becca Wilcott)

{Future tool: Chris Guillebeau’s How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review. For the next 9 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

Hi, my name is… Cheshire Cat. There’s already a group of people who refer to me as Cat. I believe the reason why they call me Cat is because my name is too long for them, even though Masa, the shortened version of my name Masafumi, has only two syllables. ‘Cat’ has only one syllable. So, I can understand they are desperate in saving their breath. If that’s not the reason, I bet it’s because I look like Cheshire Cat from the famous Alice in Wonderland. I can smile and disappear, leaving only the smile in the air.

But why would I want to use it as my new name?

Perhaps it’s because I want to be a representation of curiosity. Curiosity is what makes the cat’s life awesome. It doesn’t kill the cat. Also, I want to be able to disappear while leaving my smiles out there. I want to ask you delightful questions. I will do them in the new year. My new year will be a year of curiosity.

Prompt 24: Everything’s OK

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

(Author: Kate Inglis)

{Future tool: Gwen Bell – How to Create Your Personal Manifesto. For the next 8 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

I can’t think of any single moment that would apply to this prompt. However, I can think of some lessons that I learnt from living in the moment. Let me mention three.

  1. Each step gets me closer to the top. I climbed Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, in August. It was raining hard. Although it was still climbable and not life threatening at least until we got to the top, later on I heard that even expert climbers thought it was a bad condition. Even in such a bad condition, however, each step got me closer to the top of the mountain. It’s a great lesson to apply to life in general as well. What’s small enough a step you can take to get to where you want to go? Figure it out, and take that step.
  2. I have enough resources. I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but working on the Artist’s Way was valuable in the sense that I realized I have enough resources already if I change the way of thinking. What you have doesn’t change by changing the way you think. However, if you look at it from the abundant mentality rather than the scarcity mentality, you are likely to realize that you do have enough. Is the cup half full or half empty?
  3. It’s great to wake up. Things like traveling to save money and realizing that I could travel to Latin America mostly by land from the USA were big shifts of thinking for me. It’s similar to #2 in the sense that it’s about looking at things from another perspective. In the moments when those realizations hit me, it feels like waking up in the sunlight. It’s amazing to know that you can turn your dreams into reality, by simply waking up and figuring out how to make them happen. (Hint: Throw away assumptions that you can’t do this or that, at least unless you actually do think about some ways to make it happen.)

Vision Board

Prompt 23 links to Gwen Bell’s phenomenal post on making your own manifesto. I especially recommend you to make your vision map. It’s a great way to visualize your dreams by making a collage of pictures that remind you of your dreams. I made my first vision map with Cheney of everyonebutsix.com at Tilley’s Divine Cafe in Canberra, Australia. We had a great time making vision maps together.

By the way, Gwen suggests cutting out photos from magazines, but I prefer to search images online and use them for a vision map. You might lose the joy of running into random photos in magazines this way, but you are more likely to find photos you actually want to use and in alignment with your vision too.

If you are based in or near Tokyo, you might be interested in Soness’s workshops. She runs workshops on how to make a vision map according to Feng Shui principles. If you find Feng Shui appealing, you know who to get in touch with. Her website is here.

I will be making another vision map before the end of the year and it will be fun. I want a new reminder for things I want to achieve in 2011! I feel like I’m accelerating now and I believe I am indeed. I know how I’m going to make my 2011 a great year, and that feels terrific.

How about you? What do you want to do in 2011?


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Chris Halderman

My future self would point at Latin America

This post will answer the prompts 21 (Future Self) and 22 (Travel)  of Reverb10. Join us and reflect on your year 2010…

Something about Reverb10

Before answering Prompts 21 and 22, I want to make a quick note about Reverb10. In short, it’s been helpful for me to reflect on my year 2010 and to prepare for the new year. I can’t quite figure out what’s behind the order of the prompts, but I do feel there’s a significant pattern and how they are put together helps me significantly. You don’t need to publish your answers on the web, but you can simply take a look at the prompt page of Reverb10 and answer the prompts in your free time. I believe it will be valuable to take some pause and make some reflections about your life.

Prompt 21: Future Self

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

(Author: Jenny Blake)

What advice would my future self give to my current self for the year 2011 (apart from this advice)?

  • Keep evolving and keep rocking.
  • Believe in yourself and show up.
  • Chase dreams and follow your heart.
  • Do what makes you feel alive and nothing else.
  • Bring that punk rock attitude back in you.
  • Do travel to Latin America.
  • You are ready to bloom in 2011.

What would I tell my younger self? As I think about it, I’d probably tell him the almost same things as above. If I were to tell my 80 year old self something, I would tell these things, too. How simple. But I believe my 80 year old self wouldn’t need my current self to tell those things to him, because he would be a kick-ass, punk rock man still chasing his dreams.

Prompt 22: Travel

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

(Author: Tara Hunt)

{Future Tool: New Year’s Goal Questions for No-Goals Creatives from Jeffrey Davis. For the next 10 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

Although I didn’t travel much this year, when I did travel, it was always great.

But I will travel more next year. In the previous post, I wrote that I’d go to Buenos Aires. Earlier today, it occurred to me that I could go there via the USA. If I compared a flight from Tokyo to Buenos Aires with a flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles, the latter would be much cheaper. The same result would hold if I compared a Tokyo to Los Angeles ticket with a round the world ticket.

So, I thought, instead of saving money to buy a round the world ticket, which would cost me about $4000 for the cheapest option, I could simply fly to the US, start heading south by land (whatever that means), and aim to get to Buenos Aires at some stage. This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’d probably save more being on the road to Buenos Aires than living in Japan anyway, provided that I have a location independent source of income, which I kind of do, although it’s not in its ideal state yet. Not only saving money, but also I’ll get great experiences on the road as well. So, why not heading south?

Now… when would be the best time to do it? Oh wait… I will happen to fly to the USA in June for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championship and for World Domination Summit. World Domination Summit would be a great start for this trip.



I’ve decided to start a trip from Portland and to head towards Buenos Aires in June 2011.

What’s great about making this choice and letting people know about this plan is that I have a greater focus on what to do. I’m really excited and happy about this choice. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’ll work on making it happen.

Am I simplistic? Yes, perhaps. But I don’t think it’s necessary to make things difficult when they can be nice and simple.


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Tambako the Jaguar

On being beautifully different, party, and wisdom

Today’s post answers prompts #8 (Beautifully Different), #9 (Party) and #10 (Wisdom) of Reverb10. I’ll talk about #9 and #10 first, and then #8 in the end.

Prompt #9: Party

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

This prompt reminds me that life is like a carnival. There’s no reason why our daily lives can be a party. For living this way, you don’t need to get drunk or to do activities that you’d do at an event that is structured according to the norms regarding what we call ‘party’. It’s more about your attitude that matters. Having said that, I haven’t shown up in my daily lives with this party attitude that much this year. So, stay tuned for 2011.

Prompt #10: Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

The wisest decision I made was to show up at Ben’s Cafe in Tokyo for the very first meeting of the Artist’s Way Tokyo group this January. This first meeting led me to a 12 week of creativity Tetris as well as another season of it. I have been mentioning this book a lot in this blog, but that’s pretty much because it’s a great book if you actually do the exercises in it. The next group will run from January 2011. If you are based in/near Tokyo and curious about giving it a go, check out this Facebook page or contact  Soness the facilitator.

Prompt #8: Beautifully Different

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Author: Karen Walrond)

There is nothing that makes me different from others, because I, like you and everyone else, am different by definition, or so I believe. I’ve been thinking about it this way for a while. But, if you insist, perhaps the fact that you are there makes me different from you. Likewise, the fact that I am here makes you different from me. After all, you are not me and I am not you. If you were me, then I wouldn’t be different from you. If everyone else was me, in the very literal sense, I wouldn’t be different from them.

But then, we are all alike for this difference by definition that we all have respectively. I’m inclined to think that similarities are more important when it comes to making connections with people, by the way. The basic idea is that we make connections by finding similarities between us. Learning about differences is fun, but what we really get us closer is that similarities we find in such differences. I’m going to elaborate this idea more in another post.

What I do that makes people light up? Perhaps my Cheshire Cat smiles?

And if what makes me different is what makes me beautiful, then it is you that make me beautiful. But beautiful in what sense?

Let me throw away an analytical mind for a moment. I’ll be happily non-sensical here.

My non-analytical answer is this. My life is my art, and I can perhaps claim that I am the platform of my art, because… well, I carry my life with me, or my life carries me. How I create my art is by experiencing this life as much as I can. Amazing people like you, as well as amazing experiences, contribute to stories, sounds, visions and everything else that go into my art. If I am beautiful, then that means my art is beautiful. If my art is beautiful, then it’s due to this whole art and each element of it. They are beautiful in the sense that they make people curious, wonder, examine and reflect on their feelings in one way or another OK, I just made up that sense of beauty, but I like it. Are you still following me? In short, you make me different, and my being different from you makes you curious about who I am – well, maybe not everyone of you, but some of you, I hope. And that power of creating curiosity is what I’d consider as an ingredient of beauty. But whether we’d come close to each other is, in my view, depends on similarities we find in one another.

You are beautiful, by the way.


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: milena mihaylova

Cat vs. Curiosity

Curious CatWhen I was working on the about page of this blog yesterday, I got an amusing thought.

Cat vs. Curiosity.

Imagine a cat fighting against a giant monster named Curiosity. Well, in fact, Curiosity may well be invisible. When the cat seems to be playing, he may well be fighting against Curiosity.

A bloody battle.

Wait, what’s so bloody about it? The cat seems to be amused as if he is playing with Curiosity!

But, we are told that Curiosity killed the cat. Surely, the cat must have been fighting against Curiosity before his death. Let’s assume Curiosity did kill the cat… What does that mean? The cat shouldn’t have been curious and invited Curiosity to him at all?

After being amused by this thought on Cat vs. Curiosity, I tweeted:

Curiosity killed the cat? Nonsense. Curiosity made the cat’s life awesome. Even if the cat did die due to curiosity, the cat died happily.

To my surprise, 23 people retweeted it (at the time of writing this post) and it’s the most retweeted tweet I made so far.

That makes me wonder. I can understand that the positive nature of this tweet might have made those people want to share it with others, but there must have been more to it. My guess is that it depicted a story, like the one I told you in the beginning of this post. I knew about the importance of storytelling, and this Cat vs. Curiosity tweet made me feel it.

Speaking of storytelling, let me come back to the story of Cat vs. Curiosity.

I never know what happened to our cat. All I can tell you is based on my speculations. Actually, I don’t want to believe that the cat died at all.

Perhaps we were talking about a different cat, because our cat died happily or he didn’t die.

My bet is this: If the cat was killed, 1) it was another cat and 2) it was Fear that killed the cat. Not Curiosity.

Why not Curiosity? That’s a very good question. Curiosity is a good fellow. It won’t kill anyone (or any cat). It might look like rough and tough at times, but Curiosity makes sure that you get to have awesome experiences. I believe Curiosity was just playing with the cat as you do with your awesome friends.

My theory about the other cat that died not quite happily is the following. Curiosity did visit this cat, but Fear told him not to go with Curiosity. Fear is quite clever and good at convincing people (or cats) about this kind of stuff.

How did Fear convince this unfortunate cat? Here’s what he might have told the unfortunate cat.

“Curiosity is a dangerous monster… He killed other cats. If you stay here, you can be safe! It’s warm here and you won’t starve to death. Join me and other cats that managed to escape from Curiosity!”

OK, I’m not sure if I’d be the go-to-guy for working on behalf of Fear when he’s sick, but I suppose he’d be saying things like that.

I’m not in a position to judge that this cat made the wrong choice. Probably he got what he wanted anyway. However, if he did want to play with Curiosity and chose to go along with Fear instead, I’d say he did make a mistake. That’s a recipe for an unhappy (cat) life.

What if you were a cat and met Curiosity and Fear? What would you do?


Photo: stalkERR