As a child, he was so shy that his grandmother took him to a psychologist, and spent his teenage years with video games and pornography...
...How can this person know how to communicate? If he was always closed, it is no wonder that it is difficult for him to even call his hairdresser!
However, in October 2014, he issued a challenge. The communication challenge.
It was one of his impossible years trials, when he asked a friend's joke-suggestion while studying Erasmus in the Czech Republic and wanted to get to know 100 locals in one month.
How did he do?
Well... He ran out of patience on the 87th man, the 27th day. But it was enough that, as an introvert, tongue twisters were no longer a problem.
But let's talk to Daniel himself!
🤝 Daniel, who are you?
I am Daniel, a 24-year-old young man who tried to write 2 years ago... And then saw that my small ideas turned into this community that you see now. The cloud community.
I officially introduce myself as a challenge fanatic and writer. But it's just a brand - something that catches the eye and the ear. I'm really just a green tea brainstormer. I collect ideas and serve them on this blog.
🤝 What were the rules of the challenge?
I aimed to meet 100 people in the month of October.
I lived at that time in the Czech city of Brno, 1 where, unfortunately, the Czechs do not speak English very well. If it pays at all.
- No Erasmus students (because as soon as you say "Hello" you will hear their whole life story).
- No Facebook and other social networks (because it's too easy to find where to meet these people).
- People must not be related to each other (there is no interest in getting to know three friends - after all, they will be similar).
- Acquaintance is credited after chatting at least 25 minutes and talking about life, challenges, the environment, politics or other personal topics.
And these conditions made things a little more difficult than I had planned. Good thing I didn't expect anything, because I might have given up.
🤝 And why did you choose this challenge?
I left for Erasmus studies at the last moment - in the penultimate semester of the course. I also submitted the documents on the last day. 2 And, finally, I set off without any idea where I was going, how I would get from the bus station to the student barracks and so on. 3
This was my adventure: A journey without hopes, plans and ideas. Because what's the worst that can happen? Maybe just hurt. And the pain goes away.
...So, when in October, after a month spent in the Czech Republic, it became too boring, I asked my friend Tauros what I could do. This one jokingly offered 100 dates a month.
I didn't know then that he was joking. I got into it and accepted that challenge with all the people without thinking about how I was going to get through it.
🤝 So how did you go about achieving your goal?
Imagine: you have never tried to make acquaintances in your life... And now, the devils are throwing you away and saying "go and do it". What you are doing?
I didn't meet a single person on the first day. Because I was sitting in my barrack room. I learned my first lesson that night: you won't meet anyone if you don't leave the house.
So, I went to lectures on the second day. And after one - let's go! I picked up a girl from the Czech Republic with some name that starts with the letter A. 4 We talked about studies, university, biggest wishes and future plans after graduation. And the conversation went well.
But she was the only person that day... Not enough.
My second lesson: "If you take one step, you can take two more."
Well, okay, maybe that doesn't sound like a tutorial. But I wrote these words on a piece of paper for the morning of the third day. That day I spat, laid, and decided to communicate more!
(Because I'm behind schedule. One person isn't enough.)
On the third day I went for a walk around the city. Center. ...And it turns out that more interesting things happen in the city than you expect. Similar to what happens to me in Kaunas, where I have lived all my life, but I still find new places and communities every time. So, I found a cafe. Full of people.
My first target is a guy typing something on a computer. Since I am interested in writing, I asked him what he writes. A conversation took place. Turns out he was preparing for a Nanowrim writing contest… And in November, I shared together!
...I met 2 new people that day during the day and 5 in the evening because the cafe later had a meeting of the board game club. Unexpected! I realized that I can make acquaintances just by talking about what interests me.
Later, everything was much easier. Every day I started looking for places where it would be fun for myself. And there I was.
🤝 What bothered you the most?
It was several things:
- Language barrier - It would have been much easier to find acquaintances in Lithuania or somewhere in the Netherlands. Quite simply, few people speak English or Lithuanian in the Czech Republic.
- Fear – which started to disappear after the first 20 people.
- Lack of Facebook – not to make acquaintances, but to find English-speaking meetings and other events. So I had to use google.
But it was the biggest obstacle only at the beginning. In the second half of the month, I started to notice that bars and various clubs are the best place for acquaintances. If I had stayed in one place, it would hardly have been easy.
Like month without internet during, the hardest part was in the beginning.
🤝 What did you do when you wanted to throw it all away?
It helped then that I had told my closest friends about the goal. I didn't post it to everyone in a row, for to do so would have been the ultimate folly, and I chose the right ears.
It also helped that the goal simply excited me. With such goals, it's the easiest, because if they didn't carry me, I might have given up in the middle.
🤝 Did you achieve what you expected?
Despite setting a goal of 100 new acquaintances in 31 days, at the end of the month I had in my little red book 87 new people. I made so many acquaintances.
But the fun part: I reached my goal. It wasn't exactly what I had set out to do, but it was enough. In the last days, it was just that luck that got in the way - after reaching 87 people out of 100, I was already in such an orgasmic state that I almost fell to the ground and foamed. (I may be exaggerating a bit.)
- Meeting 10 people a month was normal for me.
- Getting to know 20 people is quite a lot.
- Getting to know 40 people is a lot.
- Getting to know 60 people - ...uhm... Maybe we're stopping already?
- Meet 80 people - hahaha... 🙂
- Meet 100 people - ????
4 days before the end of the month, after the last night of board games and 12 new acquaintances, I was literally jumping for joy. It was incredible for me.
I really could have extended and collected the remaining 13 acquaintances during those days - it would not have been difficult, because I have already experienced that it is not difficult to meet that many in a day, even if you communicate with each one for 20-30 minutes...
...But I said hell. I've had enough. I was tired and wanted to rest.
In November, well, I started growing a mustache out of exhaustion (well, don't shave it...) and stopped writing his first novel.
🤝 Do you have any advice for people who want to repeat or surpass your adventure?
Here are a few:
Residents of other countries are no different from Lithuanians.
It turns out we are surprisingly similar.
For example, during the challenge, I asked the people I met what they would do if they could do anything... And almost a quarter answered that they would like to travel the world. When asked the same in Lithuania, a quarter answered exactly the same. The only difference is that Lithuanians prefer buses, while Czechs prefer bicycles. Other common responses were "doing what I'm doing now" or "helping humanity". Which is also no different from Lithuania. Interesting! 5
So if you want to make friends abroad - don't feel like a stranger.
The easiest way to start a conversation is to say "Hello" and...
...Continuing with something you simply want to say.
For example, I interviewed a writer I met by asking what he writes. I complimented the blue-haired woman I met and followed up with questions about how other people react to her hair color. 6 Just communicate. You can tell right away that you have a dating challenge and want to do a micro-interview about their lifestyle and secret dreams. I tried this method too.
Whatever you do, don't pretend. Just say what you want to say. Sincerity and openness are the root of communication.
Don't be afraid to appear weird.
Talk as it goes. Ask for what you want. Do what feels best at the time. Maybe he didn't know how to understand other people in the beginning, but communication is learned only through communication.
After all, there are a lot more people in the world than you think. Even if you do get confused, do you remember all the weird people who have asked you out? They might as well just be learning how to speak. Like all of us.
Oh and by the way... There are no rules for communication.
Even if someone doesn't like it - there are other people who will like you. This is how I like strange people who set themselves the most stupid challenges just for the fun of the experiment.
🤝 Soooooo... What challenge will you take on now?
I'm currently trying a new series of productivity and work efficiency challenges. For example, I test my work efficiency by working early in the morning, late at night, eating only vegan food, or trying to derive some productivity measures.
These are not traditional challenges. But, still, I'm not doing it for a bigger audience (because I could go to Asia for a month and make a mountain of photos on Instagram), but just because I'm trying to find some kind of productivity answer while doing freelance work. I'll see what I get.
🤝 Thank you very much, Daniel!
Well, what can I say - it was a pleasure to talk to you! And do you have more questions for today's interviewer? Ask in the comments below!
- Piglet Antanas
The second largest city with many universities. In other words, Kaunas of the Czech Republic.↩
I remember it was a rare day when I came to lectures. During the lecture, the dean of the department asked why no one had signed up for Erasmus studies, today is the last day, and you didn't take the chance. After the lecture, I went to the office and filled out the documents in 20 minutes.↩
I picked up some euros on the way. Because I thought that the Czech Republic, as a normal EU country, uses euros. It turns out not - they have their own Crowns.↩
I honestly don't remember... I can't remember names anyway.↩
In both the Czech Republic and Lithuania, the answers to "create a family and take care of it" did not differ. About 5 percent of those who met answered this with the first application.↩
I have a fetish for bright hairstyles. Maybe it doesn't look like that from the outside, but short, colorful girls' hairstyles fascinate me. They are very pleasant to look at.↩