At 21 years of age, I was crippled with shyness, had barely left Ireland, never had a girlfriend, and was still a virgin. These 2 books changed my life.
Fear & Courage
There’s an old Woody Allen movie called The Diary. Set in a small American town in the 1940’s, Allen plays the lead role of an impoverished young man (Norm) who falls for a local heiress (Annie). He goes all out to try win her heart, being very bold and reckless, seemingly oblivious to her lofty social stature and any kind of courting etiquette.
It seems happiness isn’t good enough anymore. No, we have to be the happiest that we can possibly imagine ourselves to be. (Or at least happier than all our pseudo-friends on Facebook.) Of course, thinking that way just makes us unhappy.
I’m writing this on my eighth consecutive day aboard a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve been trying to institute the make-eye-contact-and-smile policy myself. Usually I throw in a nod, too.
A nonessentialist approaches every trade-off by asking, “How can I do both?” An essentialist asks the tougher but ultimately more liberating question, “Which problem do I want?”
Last Tuesday, at two o’clock in the morning, there came a series of knocks at my door. The noise woke me up, but I tried to ignore it. The knocker persisted, and I eventually dragged myself out of bed to see what was going on.
A friend recently emailed saying he has the following challenges when it comes to conversing with strangers…
Ask yourself if you’re qualified. Do you actually have any knowledge or experience in that area? Or are you just guessing?
From a 2011 article in The New Yorker, about Hollywood psychiatrists…