What’s up, readers? I’m Samuel, Community Director and Co-Founder of Undergrad Success. My column will run each Thursday until you get sick of seeing it…and then it’ll run every Tuesday and Thursday.
As I started writing articles for our community, I expected to keep my personal life out of the mix. Looking back, that concept seems silly. My fellow writers—if I can call myself that—are sitting out there, “HA! You dumbass.” Yeah, yeah. I know. I lasted two articles before breaking the unrealistic expectation of not getting personal in my writing. It’s unavoidable.
About 18-months prior to that “real world” article being written, I had gotten out of another relationship. Soon after, I found myself wanting to start dating again. I was 21-years old and new to the bar scene. I would see cute girls and have no idea what to say … thinking that somewhat mattered. I was naïve. I was intimidated. I was speechless. Perhaps you can relate.
What did I do? I googled, “how to talk to girls.”
I have no shame.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, there are entire corners of the Internet dedicated to this subject. Needless to say, I soon found myself waist deep in pickup lines, dating forums, and the verbiage to match. I even read a book called, The Game—written by Neil Strauss. I won’t even link to it, because it’s a waste of money.
Everything I read sounded awesome on paper. I would get really excited to go out and talk to the next cute girl I saw. The time would come—and what did I do? Nothing. I watched her walk right by. And the girl after her. And the girl after her.
I was stuck in a loop. See girl. “Oh, my God. What am I going to say to her?” My mind would shut off or I’d come up with an excuse not to say something to her. She would walk by. I would fail.
I remember thinking that I just hadn’t found the fool-proof line, yet. How embarrassing.
I hadn’t gotten a girl’s phone number. I hadn’t so much as even talked to a new girl. One day, I sort of snapped. More or less, I was fed up with hours of reading and nothing to show for it. I had had more than enough.
I had just gotten to the Pacific NW for my first internship. I was in my new favorite coffee shop—Vivace on Broadway. She caught my eye as I was Facebooking. I was intrigued—and then—her friend appeared. I remember trying to make an excuse for the situation, “Well, she’s with her friend. Guess I can’t say hello now.” (Bullshit, right?)
Whatever. I got up. Walked over to her. Shaking. I interrupted her as she was ordering and stammered, “Hey, you’re really cute.”
Her friend laughed. She smiled.
“Hi, I’m Emily.”
The barista stood impatiently waiting for her order. We chatted for another 30 seconds before I awkwardly suggested she should give me her phone number so I could set up a drinks date. She obliged. We ended up having an awesome time.
Yeah, I was a dork in our initial meeting. It didn’t matter. The bottom line is…
Imperfect Action > Perfect Inaction
…I took action. As imperfect as it was, I put one foot in front of the other and acted. I stopped thinking and just did. Dork? You bet. But an action-oriented dork!
And this is exactly what some of you need to do.
Each day I receive emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from fellow students asking me for advice.
I can sit here and give you tips on what to say to a recruiter at the career fair, how to best introduce yourself to a group of people at a networking event, how to brag about yourself, or even go and talk to that cute girl/guy in Econ 301. After all, I’m not so awkward anymore 😉
…I can do that. Literally, all day long. But you’re never going to make progress toward your goals without taking action.
So, I give you this … Stop Googling your desperation. Stop reading blog posts. Stop asking for advice. Stop thinking about what you’re going to do.
You’ll never learn to put your best foot forward by keeping your feet set in place, anchored by some self-imposed comfort zone. You’ll never be able to network by staying within your current group of friends. You’ll never learn to brag about yourself by not opening your mouth. You’ll never learn to ask for—nor communicate—what you want.
Get out there and start doing. You’re never going to do it perfectly, anywhere, except in your head … and on the Internet when you recite what you wish happened on your Facebook status.
Once you’ve acted, come back and ingest some more. I’ll be waiting.
In the meantime, talk with me on Twitter. If you require more than 140 characters or are interested in personal coaching, contact me here.
See you next Thursday.
p.s. If you actually want to improve your dating/social life, these are the only things people you need to search on Google: Rob Judge, JT Styles, and Nick Sparks. These three guys are friends and mentors of mine and are some of the most genuine people I’ve met. Don’t let anyone tell you there is shame in looking to professionals to improve an area of your life. After all, that’s why we’re here.