When you go somewhere new, do you ever slow down to check out the place before you start searching for the person or product that brought you there?
I usually don’t.
The other day in yoga (yes, another yoga reference), the teacher told us to look around the room and check everything out before we started — see who else was there, notice the flowers, assess the light, check ourselves out in the side mirror, etc. This accomplishes two things: you don’t disrupt your practice with these meaningless distractions and by getting comfortable in your surroundings, you are more likely to explore and do new things instead of sticking to your routine.
It proved to be true for me in that class. And the more I think about it, I believe it would work in real life scenarios as well.
I eat alone a lot so I usually sit at the bar. When I get to a restaurant, I make a bee line to an available seat and settle in. Usually at this point I slow down and assess the scene. But I believe it would actually make a difference if I began my scan as I start walking up to the building. Maybe even a stroll around the dining area before I sit at the bar would be insightful.
This is only one situation. Others are house parties, work events, and a new gym.
I think we are more intimidated by unfamiliar people and places than we realize. And if we just stopped to check everything out, we could digest our environment and feel more at ease to talk to new people or explore on our own without the anxiety that we will be judged.
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