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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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