Three second rule: How many times have you had the opportunity to come up and talk to someone, be it someone you are attracted to, a potential new friend at a party, or someone who works in an industry that interests you, and has chosen to go the distance?
I finished. And every time it happens, a mini internal fight takes place. Apparently I’m a fucking negotiator.
Optimist: “Go up and talk to her.”
Assure me: “Yes, well Casanova, what would you really say?”
1: Ummm … say hi.
2: Do you see how many interesting people are here ! He doesn’t want to talk to me.
3: Yes, but she is alone there, offer her a drink.
4: So she will feel compelled to talk to me if I run out of things to say?
At this point, with my own ego now successfully deflated, I generally admit it and leave. But not before spending another 10 minutes complaining about what could have been and lamenting my inaction.
All this simply because I was too concerned about a single potentially negative result. What if something good happens?
This trend is not entirely my fault. When we make decisions, our brain is not programmed to assume the best possible outcome. Instead, our survival instincts take over and we engage in assessing the risks involved in any situation, choosing the safest course of action.
So how do you overcome this mental barrier?
The answer is simple: don’t make a decision.
President Obama has been quoted as saying that he rarely dresses during his presidency. All of his suits, shirts and ties were chosen beforehand.
Why? Because I made hundreds of decisions every day that left no room for the uncritical. Choosing his clothes in the morning would waste precious mental energy he desperately needed to conserve.
My internal dialogue is a perfect example of how the simple decision to talk to someone can be exhausting.
Three second rule
Fortunately, there is a way to fool something other than “unsafe”.
Second 1: make eye contact
Second 2: Take the approach
Second 3: start a conversation (eg say something … anything)
That’s it, just give yourself three seconds.
With just three seconds of work, you don’t give yourself enough time to rethink things. If you no longer have to overcome mental obstacles or make decisions (should you talk to this person?), Your brain will act more easily.
The first few times you do this you will feel uncomfortable, especially if you don’t do something normally.
After a little practice you will find this
Three second rule: Like you, most people live in their own heads and are primarily concerned with themselves, so they won’t remember if you felt uncomfortable when you first approached them.
You slowly become completely numb from the fear of talking to new people because you realize that rejection isn’t that bad – if someone isn’t interested, you can always go ahead and talk to someone else!
At first, if you feel like you have nothing to say, just say hello. You can always choose something simple like “Where are you from?”.
As he improves, he will start to think of more creative and fun things to start the conversation. “Where would you get that wonderful sweater?”, “I have the exact same shirt at home … but you wear it better”, “Are you here for free beer?” they are all good examples.
If you are lucky, you will start to build more meaningful relationships. At the very least, you will feel fulfilled to overcome a wrong fear.