by Niall Doherty

Yay. Fun times ahead.

On January 31st I’ll be releasing my first manifesto, entitled Disrupting the Rabblement: How to think for yourself, live your dreams, and piss off some zombies. It will be a 13,000-word expansion on the theme of this site, offered freely to your legendary self (and everyone else).

In the run up to this unprecedented and monumentous occasion, I’ve decided to subject myself to a rabble-rousing week of challenges. I’m calling it Random Acts of Courage, and the whole world is welcome to partake.

How it will work

Each day next week (Monday to Friday), I’ll post up a list of ten or so challenges designed to push me out of my comfort zone. Some will be harder than others. I’m aiming to do each challenge at least once, and I’ll post daily reports of my progress here on the blog.

You can participate by trying as many or as few of the challenges as you like. If you do attempt any, I’d love to hear back about how you fared in the comments.

What kind of challenges can you expect? Here are three random examples:

  1. Say hello to five strangers as you pass them on the street.
  2. Haggle over the price of something.
  3. Sing or dance in a public place where nobody else is singing or dancing.

(Note: I don’t have all the challenges finalized yet, so if you can think of a few good ones that would require little-to-no preparation, suggestions are welcome in the comments below.)

You can of course tweak the challenges to make them more applicable to you. There’s no right or wrong way to participate, no strict measure of success. The only way to fail is to not try at all.

Find a wing*

If you’re going to participate, I recommend roping in a real-world friend to help out. Now you don’t want to have a wingman (or wingwoman) there for some of the easier challenges (that would make them a little too easy), but for the more difficult ones it will definitely help to have some support.

I know this because I’ve participated in a similar challenge before, at Steve Pavlina‘s fourth Conscious Growth Workshop in Las Vegas last July. During the 3-day workshop, Steve had the attendees attempt dozens of power and courage exercises. For example, we were asked to go out in public and strike up conversations with strangers, ask for free drinks at the bar, sing loudly as we walked down a busy street, and so on.

At first, everybody in the workshop was hesitant to attempt some of the more intimidating exercises. And it’s likely we would never have tried them if not for one thing: rather than going out and attempting the exercises individually, we split up into groups of three. Each person in the group had a turn taking the lead, while the other two offered encouragement. The results were phenomenal. With that support system in place, fear took a back seat and everyone was able to complete the entire list of exercises. As Steve explained when we got back to our seats, “Environment is stronger than willpower.”

So if you’re extremely nervous about breaking social norms, start out doing the challenges with a buddy. Once you build up your courage, try going solo and see how you fare.

* No prizes for guessing I read this book recently.

Facebook and Twitter

As part of this whole challenge and manifesto launch, I’ve set up a Facebook fan page for Disrupting the Rabblement. If you’re on board with what this site is all about, please click through and hit the like button.

For those of you planning to participate in the Random Acts of Courage challenge, I have that set up as a Facebook event. Feel free to click “I’m Attending” there, and invite any friends who might get a kick out of it.

As for Twitter, you can use and/or follow the #raoc hashtag I’ll be using throughout the challenge. Or just follow me.

Please consider spreading the word about Random Acts of Courage via Facebook, Twitter, or any other way you can. With your help, we’ll have strangers haggling and dancing in the streets all next week 😉

UPDATE: All done!

My week-long Random Acts of Courage project is complete. I had an absolute blast trying all the challenges. You can read about my adventures here: