In January of 2011 I came up with a week-long project to help promote the release of my first free manifesto. The project was called Random Acts of Courage, and the idea was to go out every day and attempt ten different challenges, each one designed to push me out of my comfort zone. The week began with me speaking on national radio, and ended with my first Salsa class and a freshly shaved head.
When it was all said and done, my confidence had jumped several levels and I was getting lots of great feedback from my readers about their experiences performing their own Random Acts of Courage. It was truly one of the best weeks of my life.
I encourage you to try out a few challenges for yourself and report back on how you fared. I’d love to hear from you.
Below are the daily lists, with links to my field reports for those of you interested in my experiences. You might also find this intro post helpful.
- Get on local or national radio.
- Say hello to five strangers as you pass them on the street.
- Make eye contact with a stranger and don’t look away until they do first.
- Convince a stranger to have their photo taken with you.
- Ask someone working at a supermarket for help finding an item.
- Learn a simple magic trick and perform it for a stranger on the street.
- Ask a stranger in a restaurant or coffee shop if you can sit with them.
- Go to a bar on your own and strike up a conversation with another patron.
- Ask a stranger for his/her phone number.
- Strike up a conversation with a homeless person.
- Ask a stranger a ridiculous question.
- Go to a clothing store for the opposite sex, hold up an outfit and ask a sales rep if it would look good on you.
- Have a 2-minute conversation with an imaginary friend in public.
- Wave and smile at someone you don’t know (as if you do).
- Sing or dance in a public place where nobody else is singing/dancing.
- Go the wrong way up or down an escalator.
- Lie down in a busy store. Stay there until someone asks if you’re okay.
- Do ten push ups in the middle of a busy pedestrian area.
- Walk around for 10 minutes with your shirt/jacket on backwards.
- Admit something embarrassing on Facebook.
- Unfriend someone annoying on Facebook, or send a friend request to someone you’ve only met briefly but wish to know better.
- Walk into a tall building and ask at reception if you can go up on the roof to look at the view.
- Haggle over the price of something.
- Ask at a store’s customer service desk if you can make a public service announcement.
- Speak up and make a suggestion at a work meeting.
- Correct anyone who mispronounces your name.
- Ask for a free tour of an exclusive area.
- Ask for a freebie at a store or coffee shop.
- Ask someone attractive out on a date.
- Ask a stranger to do an unreasonable favor for you.
- Offer a stranger a hug.
- Ask a stranger for some personal advice.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger and find out 1) their greatest fear, and 2) their greatest passion.
- Tell your partner about a sexual fantasy you’ve always had.
- Tell someone a secret you’ve never told anyone else before. Make sure you do it face-to-face.
- Hold a conversation with a stranger for three minutes or more.
- Get back in contact with a childhood friend/mentor and thank them for the positive impact they’ve had on your life.
- Tell someone you’re attracted to that you find them attractive.
- Give a stranger a genuine, elaborate compliment.
- Flirt with the hottest girl/guy in the room.
- Sleep at the other end of the bed.
- Go commando.
- Donate a bunch of items you don’t use regularly.
- Visit a park or museum that you’ve never been to before.
- Eat something you’ve never eaten before, or try a new recipe.
- Get on a random bus. Get off after five stops. Find your way home.
- Burn an old diary.
- Ask someone very different from you to share their viewpoint on a controversial topic. Don’t resist anything. Just listen.
- Shave your head or dye your hair.
- Take a class in something you’ve never tried before.
Here’s a post detailing a few of the lessons I learned from the Random Acts of Courage project, complete with video of my Pecha Kucha presentation on the topic…