I used to be really shy about giving people compliments. Today it's one of my favorite ways to connect with people. See what happened when I tried to give as many as I could in one night.
On my vacation last week I went to an event in the Nevada desert. One of my nights there, I went out to do a fun little challenge which would help me meet tons of fantastic people.
The event I was at is called Burning Man. And to try to describe it would take more words than I would be able to fit into one article.
But in a nutshell, it is a city built in the middle of a desert for one week of every year. There’s art, workshops, seminars, music, parties, and anything else you can think of.
And all kinds of people come there.
This year I met people from Israel, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, England, India, and more.
Emma Watson (Hermoine herself) visited my camp bar one night, and rumor has it that Elon Musk also flew in for his traditional visit.
While the art, workshops, music and so on is all great – my personal favorite thing about this event is meeting the people there.
But since I travel there with my wife and we have somewhere between 50 and 100 other friends who attend every year, it’s easy to get sucked into familiarity. So this year I decided to spend at least one of my nights there alone to explore and meet people.
And I decided that the way I was going to do that was to give genuine compliments to 100 strangers in one night.
Did I succeed?
I have no idea. I lost count early on.
But I definitely reached my goal of spreading joy, creating connections out of nothing, and leaving with memories for life.
The challenge is simple: Go out and give compliments to complete strangers.
You can compliment their outfit, their hair, their smile, their energy, their dancing, the act of kindness you observed, the skill they’re demonstrating, whatever – it does not matter as long as it's genuine.
The goal is simply to give a compliment, and then you can freely move on to the next one unless you feel inspired to stay and chat for a bit longer.
Don’t do it to get something back, don’t do it to impress the attractive ones, don’t do it to get laid. Do it because it is a nice, fun thing to do. And a great way to become more comfortable talking to strangers.
As I walked down the sandy streets of Black Rock City on my own, I was on the lookout for anything that I would like. And when I saw something I simply walked up to the person in question and told them.
“I really like your coat, where did you get that?”
“I saw you dance, and I love all your energy!”
“Thank you for returning that guy’s phone when he dropped it, I love honest people.”
“You look fantastic!”
While some people simply gave me a superficial smile and a “thanks”. Others lit up.
Some people blushed. Grinned. Hugged me.
Some asked me my name, others returned a compliment. Some invited me to share in their drinks or snacks, while others wanted to sit and talk with me.
Throughout the night I connected with all kinds of people.
Men, women, young, old, sober, and not sober. And while some, I’m sure, wondered what my motives were – all of them were nice and polite. And most were happy and excited.
The conversations I had, the fast connections I made, and the adventures I experienced with complete strangers are my favorite memories of an incredible week.
I even met a lovely girl from Liechtenstein who I ended up spending a wonderful hour with on a bench outside one of the camps.
And all it took was for me to let people know what I appreciated about them. To share with them what I liked. To be open and not worry about what they would think or say. And to not discriminate or hold back from connecting with anyone – no matter who they were.
And I want to extend the same challenge to you.
Go out there and compliment strangers. Aim for as many as you can in one day. Challenge yourself, exit your comfort zone, and create adventure.
And after you do, send me an email and tell me about it, I'd love to hear all about what happened!
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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