Here is something that may not surprise anyone at all. I was pretty rubbish with girls in my younger days. How rubbish? I hear you cry.
Between the ages of 21 and 23 I was turned down/rejected/laughed at, call it what you will, a soul destroying NINE times in a row.
I’m not talking about girls I was hitting on in the bars and clubs; this is actual real life girls that I spoke to on a daily basis – friends, colleagues etc. Nine in a row is pretty rubbish really. That’s more than just bad luck – that was a wakeup call and the slap in the face I needed to finally do something about it.
But that story is for another day.
It does however lead us into a situation I found myself in during a particularly wet and dreary autumnal evening in 2008. I remember being sat at my computer, bored out of my skull, aimlessly browsing the internet in the hope of finding something worthwhile to pass the time until my brain finally shuts down and calls it quits for the night.
I was using MySpace (remember that?), as you do, and while faffing around chatting to some friends and admiring the latest disastrous attempt at redesigning my profile, a thought crossed my mind. Why not search for some girls?
So I did.
And then I saw her. She had everything. One of the hottest girls I had ever seen, definitely hotter than anyone I had ever been with.
I read through her profile, checked out her pics and the best part was that she was local – awesome.
But, I couldn’t send her a message. I was scared. I had sent tons of messages in the past but none to a girl this cute. What if she doesn’t reply? What if she does reply and she laughs at me? Or worse, sprays me with internet-mace?
I had psyched myself out and I left it alone for a few days. Pathetic I know.
I think I genuinely believed that she wouldn’t be interested. MySpace isn’t a dating site and she must have received tons of messages from guys in the past. Why would I be any different?
Fuck it – I messaged her… and promptly shut down my PC and curled up in the foetal position, waiting for the inevitable flak that would spew out of my screen towards my general, weepy direction.
She replied! Unfathomable!
After picking myself up from the floor and allowing my heart to resume to a somewhat normal beating rhythm (ie, under 200bpm), I was ready to send my follow up message. I can’t remember what this was but it must have been good because she hadn’t run away screaming yet.
After chatting for several days I ended up doing something completely bonkers. Almost without thinking about it, I asked if she wanted to meet up. It just came out – a finger vomit of epic proportions.
Bricks were indeed shat at this moment.
But, she agreed and a few days later, we did meet.
I won’t lie. The build-up to the ‘date’ was filled with panic and fear but at least it was happening.
Ok, I will admit that although the meet up went well and we started dating, it didn’t last long – but so what? A few weeks earlier I was sat in front of my computer monitor wondering if it was worth the hassle. It was only when I was cuddling up with this girl whilst watching a rubbish teen horror movie that I remembered how this was only happening because I made the decision to send a message to someone who I thought wouldn’t be interested in me.
I took a shot and it worked.
By the way the movie was awful. ‘Prom night’ – just don’t…
Now let’s talk about cats.
Here is a quote from Wikipedia.
Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.
If that confused you – take a look at this video…
Does it make sense yet?
A cat is placed inside a sealed box alongside a vial of poison and a radioactive source. If an internal monitor detects any radioactivity, the vial will be shattered and the poison unleashed onto our furry friend.
The cat will be killed and a thousand children will cry. I hope you feel bad Schrodinger!
But until we open the box and take a peek inside – we won’t know if the cat is still alive and well or an unwitting participant in the feline re-enactment of Chernobyl.
It can be alive or it can be on it dead – but it can’t be both. Yet that’s exactly what it is until we actually have a look. Both possibilities can exist at the same time.
Take my little story above.
Whilst I was sitting at my computer doing my best impression of a man with no balls, both outcomes were possible. Until I had asked her to meet up – both possibilities co-existed simultaneously. It was only by actually posing the question that enabled the situation to veer to one side or the other.
To put it in even simpler terms – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
We will never know the outcome of a possible situation until we actually give it a try.
- Ask someone out on a date – they might say yes
- Ask your boss for a pay rise – they might say yes
- Ask a friend if they can do you a big favour – they might say yes
Let’s look at this from another perspective.
- Are you capable of taking on that huge project? You won’t know unless you try
- Will you be able to handle living abroad by yourself? You won’t know unless you try
- Do you have the strength to quit that bad habit? You won’t know unless you try
Simply, we give too much importance to the possibility of failure instead of the ‘what if’ part of the equation.
By not doing anything you are only feeding the negative part of your personality. You are merely confirming that it was right all along.
‘See, I knew you couldn’t do this’.
We’ve all heard the lottery slogan of ‘You have to be in it, to win it’. The same philosophy applies throughout life. You have to put yourself out there and go for it otherwise the cat may as well be dead. You cannot succeed in anything unless you give it a try. Embrace the possibility of failure, it happens, but also embrace the possibility that everything will work out for the best.
As someone famous once said, ‘if you aren’t moving forwards, then you are only moving backwards’.
Take a look inside the box – the cat might just be alive after all.
When was the last time you were faced with the possibility of stretching your comfort zone? Did you go through with it? Did it turn out better than you expected? Let me know in the comments!
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