Categories
Media

Developing Social Skills – An Interview on Dudesday Podcast (E10)

My friend Mike Sokolowski recently interviewed me on Dudesday podcast.

Listen and download for free here

In this episode you will learn:

– How to personalize your learning to create your own path and go after what you want in the world.
– An important insight into personality traits and how to harness them for good instead of evil.
– A process to build community and leverage it to build a business.
– How I told my parents I was dropping out of high school (twice), and what they thought about it.
– 2 key lessons of asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission.

Want to develop YOUR social skills?

I’m currently accepting 2 clients for my coaching program. If you want to develop your social skills, build your confidence and surround yourself by people who inspire you, email me and I can share more with you about it.

Here’s what one client emailed me recently: “I had a great conversation with this girl that I met at a coffee shop this evening and thought I’d let you know! The outcome would have probably been very different before April.”

Categories
Media

Addicted to Video Games: An Interview on the Art of Charm (E274)

Listen and download for free here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

the art of charm podcast6 years ago when I got into this whole develop your social skills thing I found a website that had a profound impact on my life, The Art of Charm, founded by Jordan Harbinger.

Regularly I would tune in to their podcast and implement the advice into my own direct experiences. (The other resource I used a lot was Andrew Warner’s Mixergy.)

Fast forward to a few months ago. I’m in San Francisco visiting friends and I reach out to Andrew Warner. He invites me to a scotch night he’s hosting for a few friends. I show up not knowing what to expect and you’ll never guess who’s there: Jordan Harbinger. A few weeks later we’ve had a few conversations and he invites me to be a guest on the podcast. How cool is that?

Listen and download for free here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

The Art of Charm brings together the best coaches in the industry to teach you guys how to crush it in life, love and at work. Imagine having a mix of experienced mentors teaching you their expertise packing decades of research, testing and tough lessons into a concise curriculum.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Is video game addiction real?
  • How video game addiction looks at its worse, practical tips for getting over your addiction and how to make up for the lost time.
  • How to surround yourself by people that matter.
  • The concept of reverse engineering, a framework for accomplishing your goals.
  • The key lesson I learned after working as a dishwasher at a restaurant.
  • How to deal with and overcome a deep and dark depression.
  • How to transition from a 9-5 job to running your own business.
  • A major insight into my experiences being bullied in school and what to do if you are being bullied.

Listen and download for free here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Want to develop YOUR social skills?

I’m currently accepting 2 clients for my coaching program. If you want to develop your social skills, build your confidence and surround yourself by people who inspire you, email me and I can share more with you about it.

Here’s what one client emailed me recently: “I had a great conversation with this girl that I met at a coffee shop this evening and thought I’d let you know! The outcome would have probably been very different before April.”

Categories
Social Relationships

The 80/20 Approach to Improving your Social Life and Connecting People

complicated math problemMany people make the mistake of overcomplicating social interactions. DON’T!

Instead what you need to do is simplify and get down to the fundamentals. You need to focus on the few core things that are going to produce the most results.

This post is about:

  • 1. Improving your social life in efficient ways.
  • 2. Leveraging your improved social life by connecting other people to each other and thus providing a ton of value – making you the go-to guy in social situations.

I’m going to tell you how to do this by thinking in terms of the Pareto Principle – meaning that 80 % of the results will stem from 20 % of the actions.

These are the few core things that are going to really boost your social life – not using secret techniques to influence people.

Simplify

There’s a lot of fancy techniques and interesting psychology out there related to meeting new people, frame controlling, influencing others, and doing pick-up.

However, most of that material is not-so-useful mental masturbation – meaning that it’s a poor use of your time if you are looking strictly for results in improving your social life.

When you want to get good at something you should always consider:

Which are the 1-3 activities that are the most important to accomplishing my goal?

This is the 80/20 approach. Once you have identified these things you seek out to master skill sets related to these key activities.

So, let’s look at some of 80/20 activities related to improving your social life and becoming a connector.

1. Improving your Social Life

A good social life stems from having cool supportive friends and knowing interesting people that you can choose to hang out with whenever you’d like.

Cool supportive friends and interesting people don’t exactly grow on trees – there’s a lot of boring and demotivating people out there that aren’t beneficial to hang around.

If you don’t know how to improve your social life you’ll be stuck with these people.

If you don’t know how to meet new people you’ll feel limited to the few people you already do know.

Your range of choice gets limited – and that’s never a good thing.

To change this you need to work on becoming competent in the skill meeting new people. A skill assumes that it’s something you can learn through practice.

80-20 rule

The main 80/20 activities that will improve your social life are:

1. Introducing yourself. Always extend your hand – be proactive in meeting new people and introducing yourself to new people in any given social situation. It surprises me that
many people don’t do this immediately and instead talk to each other without saying their names and leaving as strangers. Every interaction is an opportunity to meet someone new.

2. Asking for people’s contact info. Whenever you have an interaction with somebody cool you should take their contact information as soon as possible. You don’t necessarily have to wait until the end of the conversation. Most people will take it as a compliment when you ask for their phone number, Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. If you feel uncomfortable doing this you could begin by saying something like, “I think you’re an interesting person, what’s your (insert contact info).”

3. Solidifying the relationship. Once you have gotten the contact info, you need to follow
up on it as soon as possible while you’re still fresh in their memory. Do this by writing a short message saying something like, “Hey Carl, it was cool meeting you. I like that you’re also interested in XYZ. I’ll see you around. Regards Ludvig.” It’s often a good idea to refer back to something you were speaking about.

See how damn simple it is!?

This is how a relationship is built from scratch.

Then it’s only a matter of continuing to apply these three activities and then you’ll get to know a ton of new people over time so long as you’re consistent.

Soon you start to collect and follow up on contacting new people as a habit.

If you take a look at the most socially popular people – like club promoters – this is exactly what they’re doing, but with a fanatic dedication. This is literally their full-time job!

Implications of Improving your Social Life

By improving your social life you will raise your self-esteem as a result of feeling less dependent on your current social circle.

You’ll be less needy in social situations because you’re confident in your ability to meet new people.

2. Becoming a Connector

Connecting people is probably the oldest job in the world after prostitution.

As a connector you act like the host of a party. You leverage your improved social life by connecting other people to each other. You make sure to include people in the conversation or the social circle by inviting them.

Here are two practical ways of inviting people:

  • If you’re at a social event introduce people to each other by asking if these people have met before.
  • You could connect two people by sparking up a conversation between them:

Alicia, This is John, he’s really into mountaineering just like you are!

The main 80/20 activities that will help you connect people are:

1. Connecting as a Short-term strategy immediately. You need to assume the responsibility for your friends meeting new people. Always ask your friends if they’ve met each other and introduce people near you to each other. This is just as the bullet-
pointed example above.

2. Connecting as a long-term strategy over time. You think about people in your social network that might benefit from meeting each other – whether that benefit comes from a business, romance, or friendship standpoint. They will remember that they met through you and appreciate it. You’re providing a ton of value. If you’re serious about this you should frequently send messages to people in your social networks saying things like

Hey Kyle, I know you’re doing X and Y. Michael Johnson, a friend of mine, is doing ABC, I think the two of you could work something out.

3. Being or providing the social nexus. This means either that you are or that you provide the platform through which communication occurs. Being a connector and acting comes close to being the social nexus. Providing the social nexus is a bit different.

For example:

  • If you have some special hobby I guarantee you that you can use that to connect with like-minded people if you’re willing to create or find groups in this niche and organize meet ups. You could do this by creating groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or using Meetup.

Implications of Becoming a Connector

To become a connector isn’t very hard if you know a decent amount of people already. The short-
term strategy above is highly effective for being appreciated at social events or parties.

The long-term strategy requires that you’re thinking daily about how you could match different people with each other and then take the time to connect them.

If you are willing to create one a group you’ll soon be in a good social position. Meetup is also great for getting to know new people when traveling or moving to a new city.

What’s your take on these 80/20 activities – are they unrealistically simple?

Do you have strategies of your own for improving your social network?

Categories
Mental Performance

Compare Yourself To Other People? Here’s A Better Solution!

comparison is the thief of joyGrowing up I experienced so much anxiety it stunted my self-confidence.

This caused me to feel so frustrated at my perceived failures I continuously beat myself up about it. I would look around at other people and think, “Why couldn’t I be like them?” Why couldn’t I be smarter? Why wasn’t I better looking? Why did I have no friends? Did I fit in? Will they like me? These are the types of thoughts that lead you to a whole lot of pain and suffering. This type of thinking does not need to happen, and I’m here to show you how to change your perception.

Changing this can help you develop yourself to the point where you have little or no social anxiety, you are able to come up with realistic creative solutions to the problems you face, you can learn to see yourself as a fluid person and not a static being.

The History of Comparing Yourself to Other People

the condensed version

Where did we learn this behavior?

We learned it from our parents, our friends, tv, advertising, the media, seeing other people do things that we can’t do, failure, taking things personally, etc. What we learned is that we are not good enough or that we don’t measure up.

What is so bad about comparing yourself to other people?

There has been research completed which identifies the effect on performance of those who maintain an internal comparison versus those who use external factors to manage themselves. In the research, it showed that in stressful settings, those who were internally managed were found to “perceive less stress, employ more task-centered coping behaviors, and employ fewer emotion-centered coping behaviors than externals.” In high stress situations, those with an internal comparison performed better than those who used external factors for a comparison. (Locus of control, coping behaviors, and performance in a stress setting: A longitudinal study by Anderson, Carl R)

So what does this mean for you?

First off, you aren’t somebody else. You are you. You may wish you were someone else, but you are still you. By comparing yourself to other people, you automatically tell yourself that you aren’t good enough and that you can be compared to other people. This leads to all kinds of anxiety, self-loathing, anger, hatred, and generally all kinds of nasty behavior which is unnecessary.

I’ve lived it. Occasionally, this kind of nonsense will return into my head. Even after all the years I have worked at this, I still face my demons… But, now I’m smarter.

Important note: realize that shaming yourself further cements you in this destructive pattern. Those emotional anchors are there, but you don’t have to feed them.

So, what can we do about this when it happens? How do we ‘fix’ it?

Start comparing yourself to yourself!

What I mean by that is that instead of comparing yourself to other people compare yourself to how you were in the past.

Say for e.g. if you were trying to learn a new song on your guitar. You get really frustrated because you are having trouble learning a specific part of the song, or even the whole song entirely. Your mental process kicks in about how you are not good enough, how you are not as good as your friend Jack who can play this song as well as a hundred more difficult songs, and then you start comparing yourself to Jimi Hendrix who could literally play this song with his teeth. Ah, the misery!

The alternative?

Think about when you never played the guitar. Think about when you learned your first chord. Think about the first time you ever put two chords together and the experience you had. Maybe it was damn easy for you or maybe it was difficult.

download

But the fact is, you have gotten yourself to the point that you can even consider playing a song. That means you have developed your interests, you have motivated yourself to locate/buy a guitar, you have found someone/something to teach you, you have learned your first chord and so on.

Do you see how much you have grown? Do you remember how it was not always easy? Did you somehow think that it was easy for everyone? Other than the rare exception, things don’t come easy to people. It takes hard work, dedication and persistence.

If you don’t play the guitar or have never played the guitar, have no fear! This situation can be applied to literally anything you do. If you think you aren’t as smart as someone else, you start comparing yourself to other people who are way ‘smarter’ leading to the same process. It all comes down to not being good enough.

What if you were good enough? What if there was no such thing as good enough?

What if you decided, instead of comparing yourself to other people, you would accept yourself as you are and go from there?

Let’s say that within your personality lies something that you can do incredibly well, and also even better than someone else.

Impossible!!!! You say…

Consider this:

jimi hendrixJimi Hendrix wasn’t born with a guitar in his hand, and I can guarantee you it wasn’t always easy. His first guitar was actually a one string ukulele which his father gave to him after he saw him running around with a broom pretending to play Elvis Presley songs.

It took him time to figure out what he wanted as he became interested in football in his teens. It wasn’t always easy for Jimi, but he stayed on his path certain that he would find his calling.

After the loss of his mother he was given his first acoustic guitar and Jimi was hooked. He fell in love with playing the guitar… when his “something that [you] can do incredibly well, and also maybe even better than someone else’ showed up. It became a pleasure to learn and play the guitar.

Do you think Jimi Hendrix really gave a #$$% what other people thought of him playing guitar? In his younger years, he was actually very insecure… but when he realized his passion, it didn’t matter so much anymore…

I guarantee you he would never have experience the success that he had if he continued to care so much about what people thought about him. He was focused on expressing his self and his love for HIMSELF. Other people just got to enjoy it as a side bonus.

It was his passion. He felt that he was good enough, and felt secure enough to pursue his love.

Wouldn’t you feel free doing that? If you realized that every person is a sum of all their parts. Each person has strengths and weaknesses. If you consider that some people literally don’t understand math, some are bad at math, some are good at math and some are incredible at math, you can consider that people are made in all shapes and sizes.

Consider that if you feel that you are not strong in one area, you can improve in that area, or work to improve in that area. You can also choose to look for the thing which you love. Every step you take on this path, you can reward yourself because you are moving towards what moves you. Even if you take the time to work on your weaknesses (which I highly suggest), and you are struggling you can still reward yourself for working on your weaknesses even if you have seen no tangible gains yet.

Eventually you will make progress and you can look back on yourself and realize how far you have come. It feels great!

Doesn’t this sound a lot better than comparing yourself to other people? Recognize that while other people may have their gifts, you have yours. There are people who write way better than me, but that doesn’t change how much I love to write!

There are people who are better than me in probably everything that I consider myself to be good at, but I’m not living for them I’m living for me. I know that I own what I have and I can appreciate that. I may or may not be the best at something, but I can follow the path that I love and see where it takes me.

When I start comparing myself to other people, I think… uh, that actually makes no sense. Take 100% responsibility for your life. If you don’t like something, go out and change it about yourself. And if you can’t, accept it and start focusing on what you control instead of what you don’t.

Aim to express instead of aiming to impress.

If you have any questions or parts of the article which you don’t understand please let us know so we can ensure to give you the answers. We love trying to provide value to you and we want to be a part of helping you be a happier, more fulfilled and successful person personally and socially.

– Karim

Categories
Media

In The Media: CW’s Daybreak Features Cam on Video Game Addiction

kwgn_logoOn August 30th I had the pleasure of appearing on CW’s Daybreak segment to talk about video game addiction in advance of my upcoming TEDx talk in Boulder, CO on September 21st.

You can watch the video here

This was my first TV appearance. Although I was nervous, I feel pretty good about how I did.

What do you think? Did I do alright?

I’m really excited to have been featured because this opens up many more doors for us to get our message out there. Although it’s a small segment, the social proof will make a tremendous difference in our ability to attract more press in the future. I will continue to do whatever I can to help spread our message as a community further.

We’re launching a program soon to help you (or someone you know) quit playing video games. Sign up for updates by going here.

Categories
Media

Cam has been selected to give a TEDx talk!

texI’m thrilled to finally announce the big news I received last week!

On September 21st I will have the honor of speaking at TEDxBoulder on the topic of video game addiction.

This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I couldn’t be more excited to stand on stage and be a voice for a community of people I believe are being left behind.

Why I Care

For over 10 years I was addicted to video games. This addiction left me feeling trapped, and I hated myself for it. Every day I consciously wasted my potential, not knowing how to fix the pain I experienced.

This addiction affected many areas of my life including being a major influence in my decision to drop out of high school at the age of 15.

Finally, in March 2010, I decided to quit forever and since that day the decision to quit playing video games has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself, so I decided to share my story. I wrote an article online about how to quit playing video games and the response has been overwhelming with over 960+ comments from people all aroudn the world and of all ages.

This article has now become the #1 resource on the internet for quitting video games and has now been read by over 200,000 people worldwide.

Unfortunately, too often the conversation around video games focuses on whether you should play or not, when that’s like saying should you drink or not, if you can do it in moderation who cares, but what if you can’t? What if right now you’re sitting at home playing video games and you want to stop and don’t know how?

Current research suggests that 91% of kids ages 2-17 (64 million) are gaming in the U.S. with the fastest growing age group kids ages 2-5. In fact, in the U.K., 10% more children ages 2-5 are able to operate a smartphone application than are able to tie their own shoes.

Video game addiction is a growing problem with a serious lack of attention.

I’ve developed a framework to help people get over their addiction to video games, so I hope you’ll join me at TEDxBoulder on September 21st.

Thank you to the organizers for selecting me, fellow speakers for having their own courage and everybody who encouraged me to pursue this opportunity.

You can purchase tickets and learn more about the event here: http://tedxboulder.com/

Categories
Lifestyle

How to Create Good Habits – Part 1

habitsI was going to start off this article by captivating your attention with the amazing power of creating habits. Then I remembered that the biggest source of motivation to create habits was to just start doing them. Starting small, building, and keeping the momentum rolling will give you more motivation than anything I could say here. The process feeds the fire.

Today’s post is the first in a series on forming powerful habits using the easiest way I know. I want to help you build a foundation to effectively create new habits on your own. You do not need a 300 page book before you effectively establish a life-changing habit. It comes from within you.

Let’s Get Started

Humans are creatures of habit. That sounds cliché but it is 100% the truth. We look for patterns in order to understand the world around us, and we also act through patterns. These behavioural patterns are called habits. We usually develop habits without any conscious awareness of them, which results in both positive and negative habits. These habits are created when we consistently react to the same situations with the same responses. Overtime, these consistent responses program us to respond the same way in the future.

Why are we programmed to create habits? They are a huge advantage to us because they free our mental capacity to focus on higher-order problems. If we had to think about proper grammar every time we tried to communicate something, then it would take hours to read or write anything. If you have ever learned a second language, you can appreciate how much easier it is to express ideas in your native language. Speaking your native language is a subconscious habit. It just happens.

We sometimes learn habits that feel right in the moment, but have negative long term effects. This is seen with people who drink alcohol to relieve stress, or gamble because of the thrill. Eventually, these also become habits and are hard to break.

Habits are difficult to break because following them makes us feel good, and not following them makes us feel bad. There is resistance when we try to go against our habits. It just doesn’t feel right. However, humans have an amazing ability; we can consciously decide to overcome this resistance and establish a routine that brings us closer to our goals on auto-pilot.

Successful people consciously decide to build positive habits, taking over initial control until their new actions happen unconsciously. When someone starts going to the gym, it isn’t easy, but after going for a month straight, it becomes easier to go to the gym than it is to stay at home. Any new adventure is a challenge at first, but eventually our innate human abilities take over and we just do it.

Are you ready to create habits and free up your mind for more important things? Do you want to stop procrastinating? Do you want to start working out consistently 5 times per week? Whatever habit you want to initiate, it’s time to identify it – and I am going to do this with you.

Exercise #1:
I want you to create a habit list. Separate your habit list into three columns. In the first column, write any negative habits you want to get rid of. In the second column, write out the positive habits you’ve already established that fuel your success. The third column is the fun part. Here, I want you to brainstorm a minimum of five habits that you are going to change with the help of this article series.
Reflect on column 3 and start to feel what your life would be like if these were already your habits. Don’t think about whether or not you’ll be successful (because you will be). I just want you to imagine your life with these habits firmly established. What would it feel like?

Here is my list of 5:

  1. Spend 1 hour each morning, Monday to Friday, improving my writing
  2. Only socialize on facebook for 5 minutes per day, after I’ve already completed my night-time routine
  3. Run a 600m race every day around my block. (I want to compete in in-door track and field next year)
  4. Quit television, except for playoff sports of my favourite teams. (I’m still leaving room for the most important television I watch)
  5. Spend two hours each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, writing a new blog post for impossiblewin.com.

I have heard from many people that the easiest way to create habits is to do it every single day. I agree, however it doesn’t make or break a habit if you choose specific days to do it. Sometimes, scheduling constraints will only allow you to start a new habit once per week – and that’s perfectly fine.

In the next article on habits, we are going prepare ourselves to succeed by making one of your habits easy to stick with long term. This part will reduce any friction while you’re implementing the new habit and streamline your success when you’re ready to implement it. I’m ready to create a new habit, are you?

Categories
Lifestyle

Teaching Social Dynamics in a School: An Update.

autismMany of you have noticed it’s been a bit quiet on the Kingpin Social front lately. A lot of people have been asking me what we’ve been up to and what we’ve been working on.

Enter Kevin

If you recall back in October, we released a blog post called Who Is Kingpin Social? where we discussed what Kingpin Social stood for and what we wanted to accomplish.

In the post we mention an exciting new project – teaching our Social Dynamics curriculum in an actual school – beginning in the Spring of 2013.

So the answer is simple: I have been in the lab creating different platforms for self-development and methods of communicating our Social Dynamics curriculum. I have been taking the last few months to develop a platform to learn Social Dynamics for the Autism Aspergers Friendship Society in Calgary (AAFS).

(Click here to check out some of the great work that they are doing for the autism community.)

AAFS asked me to develop and run a 12-week program that would be a fun and engaging way of learning the foundations of Social Dynamics, which to us are: building healthy relationships, creating a positive environment and developing purpose. What better way then through games? I have observed that youth among many others in this current day and age really connect with and are motivated to play video games. I was also part of this demographic as I used to love playing video games. The problem is this isn’t the most productive or positive way to invest so many hours of our time and energy. The Autism community is really no different.

Our program is designed with the concept of “gamifying self-development” in mind. This means developing ourselves through different game mechanics we create and connect with. The perspective we are trying to develop is to start seeing our lives as an open source video game that we are responsible for creating – whether it’s character development, discovering your final quest or even exploring the world map. These are all game mechanics that can be applied to real life and your real life character to create real value while still having fun and being motivated. Obviously all elements of life don’t need to be viewed as a game, and some areas of life are better not. This is another part the awareness that we are attempting to pass along.

Working with Dean, the AAFS’ executive director, and the rest of the team at AAFS has been an amazing experience. What I am coming to realize is the greatest value to me personally is the experience I gain from the unique challenges in communicating such a valuable concept to a diverse group of individuals. I love trying to find new and engaging ways to teach without it feeling like teaching. This opportunity allows me to direct my creative energy to thinking outside the box in the ways we can teach, develop, and learn Social Dynamics, and I hope to share more of these methods and techniques with you as we develop them further.

Thus far we have just completed week 5 of the program. This week was directed towards the communication of value where we focused on communicating emotions and needs.

It has been an incredible learning experience thus far and I am looking forward to what is on the horizon. One of the days I’m most excited about is one where I will be bringing in local b-boy (breakdance) crews in to showcase and present their relationships with each other and with the dance itself is definitely something I’m looking forward to!

Keep an eye out for future posts as I will be updating the status of the program and experiences as I feel like there is much to be learned from this opportunity.

I would also love your feedback, comments, and questions. Feel free to leave them below!

Categories
Entrepreneurship Lifestyle

Kingpin Social Goes to Startup Weekend

startup weekend calgary
This past weekend Kevin and I participated in “Startup Weekend” here in Calgary. The event is a culmination of putting 80 entrepreneurs in a room, pitching ideas, selecting the best ones, forming teams, and then speaking 56 hours building these new businesses as much as possible to compete in a final presentation in front of a panel of judges… with various prizes going to the winners.

11 different teams were formed of various sizes. Kevin participated on team “Outrank”, and I joined “Mood2Food”. My team was fortunate to win 2nd place!

There were many lessons learned throughout the weekend, which Kevin’s team leader wrote about here.

“Startup Weekends” run across the globe so if this sounds like a fun idea to you, check out their website and sign up for one in your area… both Kevin and I highly recommend it!