“If you look at the world one way what, it takes from you – it’s a thief of time, energy and your creative mojo. But if you look at the world another way, it gives you an endless supply of motivation” Julianna Baggott
When you have your mojo, your view of the world is positive, optimistic and hopeful. You are full of energy and have an endless supply of motivation. You have your spark in life and people feel it and are attracted to you.
The reality however is, at some point in your life, you will lose your mojo. How long you lose your mojo for depends on how long it takes you to figure out how to get it back. For some of us, it can be a matter of a few days and for others, it can be months or years.
The reason why it takes so long for many of us to get our mojo back is because we don’t know how to or even where to start.
To get your mojo back into your life, you have to be prepared to change the way you think and the way you do things. This all takes energy and motivation and you don’t have much of either when your spark in life has gone out.
I know this to be true because this was how I felt when I lost my mojo about three years ago. When I lost my job for the 3rd time in 18 months, I lost my mojo big time – no energy, no self-belief, and no self-confidence. For about 6 months I was miserable and I shut myself away from the world. I was still functioning in life but my “spark’ had gone. I did not feel alive inside.Advertising
I like to think I am an optimist and I like the feeling of being energised and hopeful about life. After spending six months of my life feeling the opposite, I realised that if I didn’t get my mojo back, my quality of life would be bleak.
I decided to take action to get my mojo back in my life. I knew it was going to be hard work because the biggest obstacle I had to overcome on this journey was going to be me.
I have a record of giving up when the going gets tough, so I decided that I would focus on bringing back into my life six positive feelings that I had lost along with my mojo. These five actions below brought back into my life, energy, a positive attitude, hope, optimism, a sense of purpose and joy. This is what I did to get my mojo back.
1. I Got Active – This Creates Energy
I have always been an active person and attended the gym regularly. I gave up all physical activity when I lost my mojo.
I once read an article that said that the key to sustaining motivation with any type of physical activity is to focus on doing an activity that you enjoy. The article then went on to say that once you identify that activity you enjoy, write down and memorise the 5 benefits/feelings you get when you do the activity or exercise.
The next thing you do is: when you are about to start this particular activity you say “I am going to____ and I feel_______________” Name five feelings/benefits.Advertising
When you finish the activity, recite the same 5 benefits/feelings starting with “ I have completed my ______ and I feel_______.” I look forward to doing ________ on_____” (you name the specific day and time you will do the activity).
This is what I did to help me get back to the gym and yoga. I needed a strategy to help me get started and this worked. I have never looked back and yoga definitely was a huge help in getting my mojo back.
2. I Changed My Thoughts – This Creates A Positive Attitude
The conscious and subconscious minds operate at different levels. The conscious mind is your logic and reasoning. It controls your actions and intentions of the present moment. Your subconscious mind, however, controls your emotions and it is also where all your beliefs and memories are stored.
My conscious mind knew I had to get my mojo back but my subconscious mind stored the beliefs and emotions that supported the fact that I had lost my mojo. For me, to get my mojo back, I had to get my conscious and subconscious mind aligned because if I didn’t, my mojo was never coming back.
Again, I decided not to over-complicate things and so I came up with a practical way where I could start to work toward having alignment with my thinking and my actions.
Every time I had to choose between doing or thinking something that would help me get my mojo back or something that would block me from getting my mojo back, I would ask myself this one question;Advertising
“Is this decision/choice/action/thought/attitude going to get me closer to my goal of getting my mojo back or further away?”
I found this to be a powerful question that helped me to align my conscious and subconscious minds so that they were on the same page. As a result, I felt more positive about life and my thinking and attitude reflected this as well. This, without a doubt, was key to me believing that I could get my mojo back and sustain it in my life forever.
3. I Connected With People Who Had Mojo –This Creates Hope and Optimism
I am very lucky in my life as I have wonderful friends and family who I know love and support me. I realised however that for me to get my mojo back I needed to be with people who lived their lives embracing their mojo.
I set myself a challenge that twice a week, I would engage with someone who I didn’t know but felt they had mojo. The mojo qualities I looked for in people were those such as energy, enthusiasm, positivity, and motivation and had a joyful attitude about life.
This was an amazing experience. I met some incredible people who truly lived inspiring lives. They came from all walks of life. I learnt about gratitude and the gift of life. The more contact I had with people who embraced their mojo, the more energised, optimistic and hopeful I felt about my future.
4. I Clarified My Life Priorities – This Creates A Sense Of Purpose
Writing down what is important to you in your life helps you get clarity about how you want to live your life. When I wrote down my life priorities, next to each one I wrote down one feeling that I felt belonged with that life priority. For example, one of my life priorities that comes at the top of the list is FAMILY and the feeling I put next to it is LOVE.Advertising
I looked at my list every day and, over time, I began to realise that the more I focused on what was important in my life, the easier it was for me to commit to getting my mojo – my spark back in my life. This action was so important when taking up the challenge to get my mojo back, as it gave me with a sense of purpose in my life and also clarity and focus.
5. I Went And Had Fun – This Creates Feelings of Joy and Happiness
When you have lost your mojo, it is so easy to spend days in the doldrums feeling miserable for yourself. Doing any kind of activity, even if you like doing it, is often too hard. All elements of laughter and fun soon disappear from your life.
I certainly felt like this when I lost my mojo. Even though I didn’t like living my life this way, for a long time, I had no energy to do anything about it. One morning, out of the blue, it hit me. I realised that if I didn’t do something about changing my life for the better, I had to accept that living a joyful and happy life was not going happen. At that moment, I decided to do an activity that brought me joy – having a coffee with my best friend. I rang her up and went to have coffee that afternoon.
When I got home, I wrote a list of 30 activities that I loved doing and brought me joy. Every day for the next 30 days, I worked my way through my list and guess what came back into my life? The feelings of joy and happiness. Over the month, I learnt how to appreciate the gift of joy and happiness in the present moment. The more aware I became of the joyful, fun and happy moments, the more joy and happiness came into my life. That was when I felt my mojo was back!
Getting your mojo back is critical for your quality of life. Your physical health and emotional well-being are under threat if you don’t start to take action to get your mojo back into your life. These 5 actions helped me get my mojo back and I hope in a small way, they help you to take action to get your mojo back into your life forever.
Last Updated on January 15, 2019
How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward
Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?
In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.
Step right up, don’t be shy!
Table of Contents
Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers
The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:
Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers
Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers. Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!
A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.
Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary
Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.
When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.
We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.
I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.
The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.
Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness
Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.
1. Broadens Your Network
After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.
2. Improves Your Communication Skills
I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.
Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.
3. Continually Learning
So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.
Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.
4. Increases Self Confidence
Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.
Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.
So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?
How to Talk to Strangers
Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.
1. Say Hello
Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.
Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.
Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.
2. Ask About Them
Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.
You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.
As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.
3. Just Do It
One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.
When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.
Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.
4. Don’t Take It Personal
One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.
When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.
5. Get a Chuckle If Possible
I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.
One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.
A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.
Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.
7. Share Your Stories
Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.
To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.
So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.
8. Give a Compliment
Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.
When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.
9. Relax Your Body Language
If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.
When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.
If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.
After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.
The Bottom Line
As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!
There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.
Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.
Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.
More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 12 Tactics to Negotiate Better and Not Be a Pushover
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
- How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way
- How to Handle Rejection and Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com
|||^||Dev Psychobiol.: Adrenocortical responses to strangers in preschoolers: relations with parenting, temperament, and psychopathology.|
|||^||Psychology Today: Cortisol: Why the “Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1|