So far in the Cheat Your Way Dateable project, our guinea pig Gavin has been training hard and eating virtuously to look and feel better. So far so standard. Now for some fun stuff.
A huge part of this challenge is improving Gavin’s confidence and expanding his comfort zone. For todays exercise we took our cue from the school of stoic philosophy. Stoicism can be seen as the logical counterpoint to relentless optimism and positive thinking. The idea was not to shy away from negative emotions, but to develop tranquillity of mind by actively contemplating worst case scenarios.
Seneca, an old Greek dude and one of the best known stoics, recommended going a step further by actually exposing yourself to your worst fears. He would dress in rags or tell students to spend a period of time living in poverty. More modern stoics recommend exercises like announcing every train station out loud during a tube or subway journey, or approaching strangers and telling them you’ve just escaped from a mental asylum. The thought of doing these things rouse crippling anxiety if not abject terror in many people, but of course the reality is, while you’ll probably get a few odd looks, nothing bad will happen. When you’re done the world will still turn, the sun will still rise and the Black Eyed Peas will still make terrible music. Hopefully the only thing that’s changed will be you.
Check out the video to see how Gav got on.