In the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school, I began running because I wanted to join the Cross Country team the next school year.
I'd just finished a whole semester of typing class and was disappointed with the C grade I'd earned.
So to keep me occupied and to hopefully get better at typing, during each 20 to 30-minute running session, I began practicing typing words that came into my head.
Moving the appropriate finger for each letter as I ran, I would air-type my thoughts into an imaginary typewriter.
And I got quite good at it.
I didn't actually use a typewriter again until I went to college years later, but when I did, I realized I was very proficient due to this practice.
I learned a valuable skill that summer but didn't become fully aware of it until years later.
Yes, learning to type is very helpful to this day, but the skill I'm talking about is the use of repetition in learning something.
Aristotle once said that repeating things makes them second to nature. They become things you do without much thought.
Stand-up comedians often bomb for years before they hit the big time.
And their success is often due to thousands and thousands of hours they put into writing and being on stage.
Of course, practicing their craft at first feels awkward and uncomfortable.
But after a while, they learned what concepts and ideas work and which ones don't, and so they repeated what worked over and over again.
Sharpening their tools.
Maybe you're not a comedian, but you can do this too.
Initiate conversations with new people that are more than just transactional.
And repeat it daily for a month or maybe the rest of your life.
"But those types of interactions make me feel awkward and uncomfortable."
That's the whole idea.
No pain, no gain.
Ok, there's actually more to this than that worn-out saying.
In a recent study, researchers found that when people sought out discomfort, they felt like they were growing emotionally and developing skills.
The best part, though, was that they were eager to repeat the tasks that made them feel uncomfortable in the first place.
While discomfort can serve as a signal to stop what you're doing, when you embrace it during those first few awkward moments, it gets progressively easier during each subsequent interaction.
And as a business owner, opportunities to connect with other humans drop in your lap every day, like manna from heaven.
Think about all the doors that might open and the friends you could make.
So, be the guy or gal who's ok with seeming a little awkward at first, and you'll be surprised at how many people will open up and appreciate your sincerity.
And if you make a consistent effort to start conversations with new people every day for a full month, there's a good chance it'll become something you do for the rest of your life without even thinking about it.
And you'll be much better off for it.
That's it for today.