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Speed Dating: The Quickest Way to Get to Know Yourself

Speed Dating: The Quickest Way to Get to Know Yourself

Our eyes meet across the table. You pull out the chair, smile nervously, and sit down. Could this be the one? You have four minutes to find out.

Speed dating is nothing new. We do it all the time: whether we’re on the train, at the public library, or in the supermarket. It only takes a few seconds for the sparks to fly. No wonder we call it love at first sight.

But what does our desire to flirt with others say about us? Let’s take a seat in that chair again and get ready to dig a little deeper. You know what they say: what you look for in a partner is very often what you look for in yourself.

Ready to get to know yourself? All right. Let’s go. The clock is ticking…

How do you describe yourself?

It’s difficult to describe yourself to a complete stranger. You don’t know where to begin. When you want to impress someone, you’re keen to highlight your accomplishments, naively hoping that a certificate on the wall or a job title is going to be enough to woo your date into believing that you’re the one. You couldn’t be more wrong. Your potential partner isn’t interested in your polished résumé. It makes you look perfect and we both know that’s not true. We have TV shows, Hollywood stars, and fitness magazines for that.

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At the same time, you don’t want to air your dirty laundry too early in the game. Four minutes can be an excruciatingly long time to endure an awkward moment. Haven’t we all been there? It’s not the most fun place to be, unless you actually enjoy those kind of situations. If that’s the case, then go for it! Make it awkward. There’s someone out there for everyone.

So, what is the best way to describe yourself?

Accept that you tell different stories about who you are.

It’s impossible to pin down one aspect about yourself. You want to be aware about your different roles and the stories that shape them. Here are only a few roles that you might have:

  • Parent
  • Child / Sibling
  • Friend
  • Single / Husband / Wife / Partner
  • Employee / Boss
  • Student / Teacher
  • Leader / Follower

Perhaps there’s a role that you’re ashamed of because you feel that you’ve failed to play your part. Or maybe there’s a role that you feel very comfortable with and therefore tend to show off to others as your personal trophy.

Your various roles say a lot about who you are. They also suggest areas where you can improve your relationships and your overall quality of life. Is there a role that you’re ignoring? Spend some time this week to explore that role. Act it out. Play the part and see what it does for you. Others are eagerly waiting for your performance.

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Date tip: Think about what you leave out. This says more about you than you might be ready to admit. It’s one of the quickest ways to get to know your warts and tap into your self-doubts.

What are your self-doubts?

Let’s address the elephant in the room: our self-doubts. Each one of us has hundreds of them, but since we only have four minutes we can only tap into a few of the most common ones.

What if nobody wants to date me?

This fear usually taps into the belief that you’re either:

  1. So boring that no one will like you, or
  2. So insecure that you think less about yourself

First, let me remind you that everyone walks around with this fear at one point or another. The fear of being alone is deeply rooted in our mind. We can still do something about it, though. If you think you’re “too boring” to be loved, then maybe you need to look at your life and see what you can change. Your life doesn’t have to be boring. This is your choice. Find ways to make it more interesting to you. After all, you’re the one who’s living your life. Not anyone else.

When you think less of yourself, you need to work on your confidence. You need to practice a sense of kindness and friendship towards yourself. Stop being so harsh on yourself. What’s the point – what purpose does your criticism serve? It doesn’t make you a stronger person, nor does it help you attract the kind of person who will love you for who you are.

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Date tip: Work on your insecurities and live the life you want to live. Then you’re more likely to attract the person who will make your heart beat faster.   

What if I’m not attractive enough?

When you doubt your own looks, you need to remember what you’re comparing it to. Movies, TV shows, blogs and magazines provide a certain ideal of beauty that consists of abs, voluptuous breasts, and Photoshop. You can choose to buy into it or create your own ideals. If you want to get a body like that, then get ready to work for it. Me? I’d tell my date to get stuffed. Merely the idea of getting a six-pack is enough to put me to sleep. But hey, that’s just me.

Just don’t bet your romance on winning the genetic lottery. It’s not worth it. Don’t believe me? Check out the American fashion model Cameron Russell’s TED Talk: “Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m a Model.”

Date tip: Create your own ideals of beauty, and then you’ll always be beautiful. Stop living up to the ideals of the media. Ideals change and they are meant to be broken.  

What if I’m too shy to meet someone?

Love makes everyone blush. When we finally sit opposite to that special someone, our systems either shut down completely and we don’t say a thing, or we go absolutely mental and talk like we’ve had five cups of coffee. You know the feeling.

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If your shyness stands in the way of your love life, then be responsible and educate yourself. No one is expecting you to become a super car salesperson over night, but you can learn a few strategies that will be helpful to you. You can also try online dating and see if that makes it easier for you. Worst case scenario, maybe one of your extroverted friends can introduce you to a few potential dates. Leverage your network, feel the fear, and step outside your comfort zone. Your efforts will be worth it.

Date tip: Try online dating and educate yourself. Learn a few useful strategies that you can apply and seek support from friends and family.

Who do you want to be with?

To be in a couple, or to be single? That is the real question.

You don’t have to be in a rush to find a partner and get married. Take your time and get to know yourself first. It’s so easy to leech on to someone just because you’re too afraid to be alone. But this is not how healthy relationships are formed. They grow over time and teach us what we value in others and in ourselves.

I hope you’ll find that special someone who will bring out the best in you. But deep down, you and I both know who that person is. That person must be you.

Your turn

Pling! Time’s up. That was pretty quick, wasn’t it?

I hope you’re ready to hop on to your next date. Now you have the chance to voice your own thoughts and questions in the comments. See you there!

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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