Coming next week: Random Acts of Courage, Part Deux (and how you can help)

Giggidy. In the run up to the relaunch of A Course In Courage on April 18th, I’ve decided to revisit Random Acts of Courage here on the blog. For those unfamiliar, the original RAoC week back in January saw me go out every day for five days and attempt ten things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Among other things, I sang on the street, got a piggyback ride from a stranger, and a had a five minute conversation with a butcher about veganism. Twas an epic week to be sure.

I’ll be doing something similar next week, only with a twist. This time I want you fine folks to come up with the challenges for me to attempt. I’m aiming to forgo the small stuff and really push myself out there with some big scary actions. Less filler, more killer, as the rappers say.

But before you go requesting I cover myself in blue paint and streak through Cork City, here are a few ground rules:

  • I won’t do anything illegal
  • I won’t do anything that I believe infringes upon the rights of others
  • Each challenge must require minimal preparation (e.g. I won’t be organizing a flashmob or learning how to fly a plane… at least not for this project)
  • Ideally there will be some deeper meaning behind each challenge. Someone already suggested that I shave my eyebrows. Yeah, that would probably make for a funny video, but not much else.

If you need a little inspiration coming up with a few challenges for me, check out the list of 50 from the original Random Acts of Courage. Perhaps there’s one or two in there that you’d like to see me take to the next level?

Prizes for the best suggestions

As a thank you for your time and contribution, I offer the following prizes for the best suggestions:

Note that I’ll be the only judge and my decision on the winners will be final. Looking forward to seeing what you fine folks come up with 🙂

For any Cork people reading this, come see me stepping way outside of my comfort zone tonight (Tuesday) as I give stand up comedy a try. It’s open mic at Fred Zeppelins on Parliament Street (map link). I should be on between 9:30 and 10:30 pm. Bring your happy face.

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    1. Take out your trusty camera and interview a complete stranger. Ask basic questions and follow up with questions like “Whats your passion? What’s your purpose? What makes you happy/sad/scared?” – if the first person says no, have them choose the next person you’ll try. : )

      • Hey Angela, I may actually do that today. I was planning to go out anyway and interview random people about courage, asking them about the most courageous person the know, what’s the most courageous thing they’ve done, etc. It will all be part of a little promo video I’m putting together for the relaunch of the course.

        I like the idea of having each interviewee choose the next one. Hadn’t thought of that before 🙂

    2. Go to a nursing home and visit the residents. Smell the smells. Feel the smile of a lonely resident because someone stopped long enough to say “hello” and perhaps touch them. Notice the infirm. Hear a story.

    3. Hiho! Stumbled upon your last batch of RAoC last week and I’ve been going through he archives since – you’ve got some really interesting insights! Here’s a few suggestions for next week, in no particular order:

      1) Hit up a random shop in town ask if you can make a website for them, or similar. You’re a freelance web-developer, right? Might even get you some extra money, unless your move to Spain will complicate tings?

      2) Give blood. Counts as good deed and it’s not something you’d normally do, right? I’ve got no clue if it fits the spontaneity criteria though.

      3) Ask someone you find attractive and unknown for a dance in a non-dating environment, like out in the street. You’ll probably come off as creepy, but that makes it all the more scary, right? With some luck you, might make something out of it too 😉

      4) Convince a stranger to play a game of [chess, cards, go, whatever…] you. Though I guess you have to bring your own equipment for most games, that could be a breaker. Or perhaps you don’t enjoy games ^^

      5) Spend some time trying to learn a new task in public, like juggling or walking on your hands. Points is that your failures should be obvious to onlookers.

      6) Beg for cash, unless its illegal in Ireland.

      7) Ask to confess your sins for a pastor, or whatever they’re called in Britain.

      8) Offer a night’s housing to a homeless. Dunno if it’s safe though, perhaps it’s crossing the line between courageous and stupid.

      9) Ask to draw someone’s portrait. If you don’t know how to, inform them that you’re a beginner but ask anyway.

      10) Ask for the recipe of what you just had at a restaurant. If you don’t want to eat out I guess you could always ask for a arbitrary recipe without having anything, though there’s probably less chance to get it.

      Good luck with whatever you chose to do! =)

      • Hey, thanks a mil for all the suggestions, Aerion. Much appreciated. I especially like #6. I’d just have to be careful that I wasn’t butting in on some other homeless person’s “turf.”

        • Join one of them, then let them have the money 😉

          That way you don`t have to feel bad about it in the end 😀

          I`ve done that once (in the States) and it was quite interesting. It felt really weird in the beginning, esp. if you ASK people for money, but I guess its worth the experience..

    4. Gay bar visit! – Spend at least half an hour having a drink and chatting (a kiss perhaps?)

      Offer to draw people’s portraits – Pencil and paper. What? You can’t draw? Perfect!

      Life drawing class model – Get your clothes off! Probably requires setting up though.

      A sauna then? – Again it’s clothes off. (I’m Googling gay saunas in Cork for you… You really don’t want to go there do you!)

      Tetanus booster jab – Depends if you hate needles or not. Or HIV test?

      Go to some kind of church activity – Perhaps find out more about Islam?

      Try to get through to someone famous on the phone – A friend chatted to director Michael Mann for several minutes whilst he was on set.

      Go to a prestige car dealership – and ask for a test drive! You may need a good pretext, arrange over the phone?

      Post a video of yourself crying – cry in public perhaps, in the street?

      This isn’t easy, most of what you’ve done so far is fairly significant, Niall.

      • Brilliant, thanks Simon. I love the idea of modeling nude for an art class. That would definitely be out of my comfort zone. Gay bars and needles don’t phase me much. Would also be lots of fun to test drive a really flashy, expensive car, though I’d be wary of wasting the dealer’s time.

        Lots for me to consider there, thanks again.

      • Like I said, shaving my eyebrows just to shave my eyebrows is pretty meaningless. I’d be willing to do it if someone (or several people) would sponsor me, and then I could donate the money to charity. Methinks I’d have to raise at least €500 though to justify it.

    5. I’m throwing my votes behind model for a life drawing class and draw other people’s portraits. These were the suggestions I had but I was beaten to the punch. 🙂

      Both are great challenges (and I’ll be offering to model for the drawing group I’m going to be starting in May so I’ll join you eventually on that one.)

      I’ll see if I can think of some others for you Niall.

    6. Just remembered – Knock on the door of a complete stranger living in a high rise building with a balcony. Persude them to let you in and then stand on the balcony drinking a glass of water.

      Congratulations, you have just completed a Mossad training exercise!

    7. Try to have a whole conversation with only one word spoken at a time. Or with only one-syllable words.

      Spend a day responding to every question with a specific answer that can be used generally, like “It’s all about Jesus” or “I’d have to ask my mother”.