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.


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Photo: The Daily Ornellas

Another experiment (Day 19)

I’m writing this post on my iPhone. The internet connection is somehow not working for my laptop. I thought I wouldn’t be able to update this blog today for that reason, but it seems I can, using my iPhone. Great.

It will be a year soon since I came back from Australia. Two more months. I think I’m still in the process of letting go of my feeling that I’m an outsider from the inside, but things have become softer, I suppose. I don’t care too much that I don’t belong–well, I do belong to the Japanese society, but what I really feel is perhaps that I don’t really want to belong to anywhere. I’ve always felt like this. The sense of belonging to nowhere, and I want it. I’m not sure if I’m a committment phobia or a lover of freedom.

But then, I can sense that things have changed within me as well. It’s something about laughing at myself. It’s about being light and delighted. Ease and delight help me have abundance and give me the sense of possibility.

If it’s fun to think about something in a certain way, why don’t we think that way?

Perhaps the internet connection not working is a conspiracy to block my challenge of blogging for 30 days. A conspiracy planned by… I don’t know. People from the future. Ha.

When was the last time you laughed at yourself with ease and delight? (i.e. In a positive manner rather than a negative, self-depriciating way) Can you laugh at yourself?

A humid Sunday afternoon in which I faced a bigger opponent (Day 15)

I competed in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament yesterday. I fought in the under 70kg division and in the open weight division, both for adult blue belts.

I had been practicing hard for this tournament, and given that I’m somewhat an overdue blue belt (I started BJJ in 2002; I got my blue belt in 2007) and I can do well against people in a higher rank, I’d been fairly confident that I’d win my division. My expectation was proven to be wrong, unfortunately.

When I think about the kind of grappler I’d hate to fight against, what comes to my mind is myself. While I love the way I fight, if I had to fight against someone who fights like me, I’d completely get annoyed.

So, the guy whom I lost to in my division happened to fight like me. He even finished me with my favorite of all techniques: triangle choke. I’d say the major reason why I lost was because I was trying to do something different from what I’d usually do. So, I didn’t even show up as who I am in this case.

The loss was somewhat shocking. Perhaps it’s because he choked me to the point I nearly fainted after the match, though it was actuall an armlock from the triangle choke position that made me tap. Thankfully, I didn’t get my elbow broken, but it still hurts a bit.

In any case, I’m glad I managed to switch my mind for the open weight division quickly enough. While my body needed to have some rest, my mind was ready.

In the first match of the open weight division (since I was seeded, it was actually the second stage of the tournament) , I faced an opponent around my size. This time, I did what I’d usually do. I was committed to show up as who I am. So, I pulled my opponent into my guard, went for triangle choke, somewhat missed it, and switched to armbar. This armbar was a bit rough, but I managed to get him with it. It’s great to know that I can do well when I show up as myself.

In the second match, my opponent was bigger than me. But that didn’t worry me much. Again, I did what I’m good at. This time, I got him with triangle choke from the mount position. It was a quick win too.

I wonder what people think when they are competing. I must be having a blank mind or something. But then, like Rickson Gracie says, if you’re thinking while fighting, you’re too late in executing whatever you have to do. Training is what you do so you don’t have to think about what you do when you do it. That sounds right to me.

I had to wait for the third match to start, because my opponent had been fighting in other matches. Perhaps more than 30 minutes. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but I started getting sleepy. My focus was getting off a little bit.

In the third match, I fought against this guy who had won almost every blue belt open weight division of the recent major BJJ tournaments in Japan. He’d beaten a guy who came to the 2nd in a world cup, in one of those tournaments. I didn’t know about his status, but I doubt if it had any significance on me. I knew he was a big guy and I’d do my best. And so I did my best.

Probably it’s because he was buggered by the time this match started, but I didn’t feel that I was outpowered by this 80kg guy. I weight about 64kg. I could do my moves, almost got him with triangle choke, and kept attacking until the match finished. He did pass my guard and take the mount position, but I didn’t let him finish me. Eventually, I lost by points, but I was happy with what I did. At the same time, I was disappointed that I could totally get him with that triangle choke. That means I have to sharpen my skills further, though. I don’t care if I win or lose by points. What really matters is whether there was a submission involved.

I got a bronze medal, and that does make me happy. But, I’m more proud of myself for showing up as who I am in these 3 matches, because that’s how I want to measure my success. The external outcomes, such as losing to this guy and getting a bronze medal, didn’t matter too much.

And… OK, that’s all for now. I’m off to training!

A short question with open possibilities (Day 13)

What was your childhood dream? Or did you have more than one dreams?

There are a few things I wanted to be: Pegasus, a cartoonist and a game designer. If you are thinking “What? Pegasus?”, I’ll tell you about it soon.

When I asked that question to my grandmother, she gave me an answer quickly and told me that she wanted to be a singer. That’s surprising and not surprising at the same time, because I know she likes singing and she does have a good voice.

What was your childhood dream? Are you pursuing it? Or have you changed your goals? I’m curious about your stories. Don’t tell me your story is boring, because it is more interesting than you think. Always.

Letting go of things you own (Day 11)

One thing I want to do during the period of this 30 day blogging challenge. I want to get rid of some of the things I own. Those ones that I don’t really need … or to be precise, those things that don’t belong to myself in an ideal lifestyle of mine.

At this stage, I’m drawn towards a lifestyle of a vagabond. A minimalistic lifestyle, that is. Ideally, I want to be able to carry everything I need in a 40l backpack. When it comes to the clothing department, I’m rather fine. I could have only a few clothes and be fine about it.

What I find most difficult is books. I always liked reading books. When I was a little kid, I would put my favorite books around my pillow before going to bed. In fact, I still do that, although I hardly put a pile of books around my pillow anymore. Now it’s just one or two.

I wonder what makes it difficult for me to let go of those books. I’d definitely need some of them for reference, like most of my philosophy books. There are some other books that I got a number of inspirations from; these ones are harder to let go. There are books I feel as if I would reread at a later stage of my life.

This attachment to material objects.

But then, in most cases, what I really want to keep is the content of those books rather than physical copies of those books. Perhaps it’s not so much about letting go of material objects that holds us back, but it’s the fear of forgetting what we’ve learnt or experienced through reading those books. This seems to apply to other objects like clothes or photos. It’s not really about those objects, but the memories we associate with them that matter.

Memories. There’s something about memories that I want to talk about more. I’ll save this topic for another day.

In any case, this post will serve me as a public statement of my intention to get rid of unnecesarry things I still own. It’s a small step I take towards this goal. So, let’s see what happens.

What matters in this competition on Sunday (Day 10)

I’ll participate in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition this Sunday. I’ll be fighting in two divisions: the -70kg division and the open weight division.

On one hand, I can look at the competition this way. I’m confident that I can beat everyone in my own weight category. The open weight division will be more difficult, and I’ll have to work harder. But, it’s achievable. I desire to win and by ‘winning’ I mean beating everyone I fight against.

On the other hand, I can look at it another way. What really matters to me in this competition is to show up as who I am. If I can move just as in daily training sessions, then that’s great–indeed, that’s what I’m after. Whether I beat my opponent or not is not what matters. I still desire to win, but the criterion for winning is different in this case. With this one, whether I win or not is totally dependent on me.

I do want to be a champion, and while that does require me to beat everyone in those divisions, it’s clear to me that the second way of thinking is more important to me.

It’s great to be aware that I’m on my path to excellence, where I measure my success by the way I put myself forward into the world. Winning by points is not what I’m after. Winning by submission. That’s what I want.