Coming next week: Random Acts of Courage

 

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:

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39 Comments

  1. This is going to be a blast Niall! I can’t wait. :D

    Do you have sing your favorite song at a karaoke bar on the list? That’s one that I think would challenge people as well.

    Here’s to Courage!!!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Spyros! And for coming up with the RAoC name ;-)

    I didn’t have karaoke on my list of challenges, but it fits in nicely with another one. Check back on Tuesday for that.

    • My pleasure!

      I’ll admit though that karaoke isn’t a challenge for me (anymore) it was about a year ago, but I’ve overcome that already. However I’ll have a heck of a good time Friday night belting one out for the challenge (since there isn’t any karaoke in town on Tuesday nights) :D

  3. Hi Niall:

    You must be wondering who is this. I am from 100 comment challenge which you signed up for.

    You have a beautiful site here. Your blog post is written in a upbeat tone. It has a positive

    influence. You are working on some surprise in the next post.

    Awesome work. You have to connect yourself with more people. You will soon move up where you belong in this blog network.

    All the best

    fran A

  4. Heres one from Louise Hay:

    Look into your eyes in a mirror every morning and every evening and tell yourself you love and truly apprreciate yourself and do it with feeling. Tell yourself something nice for a change instead of beating yourself up everyday for what you think are your faults.

  5. Hi Niall!

    Just wanted to say good luck with it. From your example challenges, the first 2 are OK, but the 3rd is way too far outside my comfort zone to ever contemplate. Any chance of seeing a video of this one if you do it? :-)

    Kind regards,

    Steve

  6. Niall-

    I like this idea a lot. It seems like its going to be fun. I’ll keep an eye on it and see how this goes. I also noticed your like to the post about quitting drinking in the comments and was wondering how that is going. I hope it is going well. let me know if I can ever do anything to help out.

    Brandon

    • Hey Brandon, thanks for the comment.

      Sobriety is treating me well. I’m going to wait another couple of months before writing about my experience at length, but I’ve definitely been feeling good about the decision to quit. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m now more in control of my own destiny. Before I could let myself off the hook by saying something like “I’ll need a few drinks before I go dancing” or “That was just the drink talking.” It was really a cop out, a way to deflect responsibility or postpone doing something that made me a little nervous. Now I have to own up to those things, no more hiding behind a glass of beer. It’s a little scary at first, but also very empowering.

  7. Hey Niall,

    This sounds like it is going to be blast! I read the 4HWW and did the challenges in there, and while they were uncomfortable at first, it was neat seeing peoples reactions. I am jealous that you got to go to one of Steve’s events, I have always wanted to but have never got the opportunity.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Sean. I “borrowed” one of the 4HWW challenges for a Random Act of Courage today. It was the one where you lie down in a coffee shop, except I did it in the middle of a department store. The security guard wasn’t very amused. I’ll have video of it in a new post later.

      And yeah, Steve’s workshop was amazing. I met so many great people there and had several ah-ha moments. Probably the best weekend of my life :-)

  8. Niall,

    That is a great idea. I look forward to hearing the ressults of the challenges. I guess all it takes is something as simple – yet paralysingly difficult – as dancing in public to realise how conditioned we really are to social norms and conformities.

    Courage week is a great way to prove to yourselves that we are free, we can do what we want and feel the freedom of doing so.

    bLAZE yOUR tRAIL

  9. Hey Niall,

    Love the concept and I instantly started laughing. The first 3 things you mentioned, I do 2 of most of the time. I’m always saying hello to strangers and we usually end up having some awesome conversations. I also sing and dance in public places where no one else is only because I long music and I love to dance so to hell with everyone else. Life is about having fun.

    Might have to join your little challenge there to see what else you might come up with. I KNOW there will be things I won’t want to do but guess I’ll have to find out, huh!!!

    Thanks for this awesome post and will look forward to the release of your manifesto.

    Adrienne

  10. Popped in over here from the 100 blog comment challenge thru Ryan Renfrew, and damn I wish I had found this sooner. :) This is a great idea and the challenges seem awesome. I’m all about encouraging others to get out of their comfort zone. It helps in SO many other aspects of life when you are able to put down the introvert and engage yourself more in new situations and circumstances. GREAT topic and great post. I think video helps a ton as well. Thanks!

  11. I just came across your website, and this is the first post that I read. I just want to say Nial, I ran a HUGE smile across my face when I read about your ideas and adventures. This seems INCREDIBLE! Good luck on all of these (I know you have already gotten started).

    But I must say your sheer courage and enthusiasm to do this is inspiring. I will continue to read on!

  12. Well, I popped by just to see what you’re all about and it turns out you’re pretty damn interesting. I think this is a great challenge and I can’t wait to see what the results were. I personally love doing little things like singing loudly in public that will shake people up. Generally people are pretty closed and things like that can really wake them up. :) Can’t wait to see what you get up to!

    Keep on bloggin’ on!

    Danielle

    • Thanks, Danielle. All the challenges are complete now (see the links at the bottom of the post). I’m planning a wrap-up post on the whole thing soon, complete with video of a presentation I gave about the project last week.

  13. I think my first random act of courage was getting involved with this 100 comment blog challenge with Ryan, holy cow I must say, finding new social networks is challenging enough but sending out 100 comments is courage in itself. I love videos, it shows you took time to actually put some effort in your post. thanks.

  14. Hi Niall,

    You’ve got cahonas mate I’ll give you that! I’m far too self

    concious for most of the things you are doing here…

    Some of the basic things like talking to a stranger or haggling

    over the price of something no problem but, going commando

    or dancing and singing where nobody else is that’s a totally

    different matter…

    You truly are Courageous and I’d take my hat off to you If I

    had one. I love what your doing and I love your blog and all

    It’s about. I’m a fan of your courage even though I’m a big

    chicken. :)

    Go Niall Go! You’re AMAZING!

    Robert ;)

  15. Hey Niall

    That’s what i like “creativity”. Can’t wait to see which tasks you actually complete :)

    No one likes going out of their comfort zone do they but I lift my hat to you for this one.

    Good Luck

    Kerry Russell

  16. Hey Niall,

    This is what I’m talking about, facing your fears and saying the hell with normality. I’m going to go out to try some of these myself. Great work on the manifesto btw, can’t wait to read it.

    Alyx