“It’s best to have failure happen early in life. It wakes up the Phoenix bird in you so you rise from the ashes.” -Ann Baxter
The problem with risk taking is it requires two important elements—opportunity and focus. Unfortunately for my current grand experiment, both seemed to be lacking over the last week. Be it my somewhat full calendar, or my inability to make a concerted effort to settle on a seemingly simple risk, my endeavors fell short this week. However, rather than abandon my personal journey into the depths of Mordor, I will instead use this as an opportunity to explicitly lay out the perils that await. Without further ado here they are for your viewing pleasure.
Risk 1. Start and maintain a conversation with a complete stranger.
I know what you’re thinking. This doesn’t sound like a risk at all. While that may be true for the more outgoing individuals in the universe, there are few things more frightening to the shy, introverted typed than attempting to start a random conversation with someone they do not know. It’s why we hate small talk and why you see far more extroverts running for office. Coupled with my short attention span this is ripe for potential disaster. Add in the habits formed by avoiding this situation for so many years, the ease of relying on social networks as a first line of defense against possible awkward conversation, and you have the explanation for why this makes the list.
Risk 2. Purposely embarrass myself in public.
While it’s unlikely I will be interrupting any award shows, I will be forcing myself one step further out of my comfort zone by embarking on an action that makes me feel foolish. While not exactly as dangerous as attempting an aerial assault on the Death Star (Star Wars reference check), it is wrought with personal anxiety. Most of us do not like to be the center of attention when there is potential for ridicule. Does this mean I never do things others may perceive as embarrassing. Hardly. In fact, I’m sure I’ve done it more than once in the last week (cowbell anyone?). What makes this different is must be something I find embarrassing. Therein lies the second challenge.
Risk 3. Perform three random acts of kindness.
While not super challenging, this is equally important. It is so easy to see someone in need and simply ignore it. Or in some cases an individual does not appear to need help, but with one simple act of kindness their entire day turns for the better. Something I’m aware of, but maybe not as proactive about. This can be directly tied to an aversion to taking that first step in reaching out to someone unfamiliar. However, by taking to heart what the Spidermans of the world already know, perhaps this quest will be beneficial to more than just me. And if I end up becoming a member of the Justice League as a result, all the better.
Risk 4. Ask an attractive woman for her phone number.
And just so were clear, this has to be someone I do not know. There is a reason this is last on the list. Nothing in the social realm probably terrifies me more than approaching a woman and asking for a phone number. I would rather give a speech at a full Madison Square Garden in my underwear (okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point). This relatively simple act takes all the pitfalls of the social realm and unleashes them in a destructive wave of dissonance. Awkward conversation, check. Initiating first contact, check. Odds of success 3720 to 1, check. Just thinking about this final endeavor sets off my Admiral Ackbar advanced warning system. Even if I overcome, all of these factors, this relies a great deal on opportunity, making it the most challenging risk.
There you have it. A month’s worth of comfort invading goodness. Will I accomplish all of these goals? Maybe. Will the world care? Probably not, but at least it will give me something to blog about.