Preparing Our Kids for the Future

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is coming, and you should be preparing your kids to be successful in this future. Unlike the first three revolutions which were about production, mass production, and automated production changing the world at a rapid, but linear pace, this revolution will be exponential. Technology will impact us in several ways: how we communicate, how we shop, and how we choose our careers, just to name a few.

Technology will change communication

Social media platforms open channels for communication across cultures and bring the world closer together. They also allow ideas and ideologies, whether good or bad, to spread quickly from one country to another. As a result, kids today are growing up in a generation where it is possible to become friends with someone they’ve met online but not in person. They can play online games with other kids in another city. But it is also possible to bully a kid and harm someone’s reputation solely by making remarks on social media.

Technology is changing how we shop

Online shopping provides convenience from your home or smartphone, but it also means innovators can adjust products, delivery, and services based on this consumer data. When today’s youth are old enough to have a credit card, they can use online reviews to educate themselves about a product before making a purchase. They can also be influenced by social media posts about what their friends have liked, or make an impulse buy with a few clicks on their convenient mobile app.

Technology is influencing careers

Not only is technology changing the way we communicate and shop, but it is also changing the future of jobs. The World Economic Forum released a report about how the future of jobs will be affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here are just a few of the findings:

  • In many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate.
  • 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.
  • Demographic changes and technological advancements may lead to the net loss of 5 million jobs by 2020.

Another noticeable trend is that highly skilled workers are more in demand, while workers with less education and lower skills are less in demand as a result of advances in technology. How can we prepare kids today for tomorrow?

We must become careerpreneurs

Career Professionals of Canada believes that “Canadians in the labour market must assume responsibility for their own careers.” We should teach our youth to be careerpreneurs, which they define as an individual who works for their own career success by looking for emerging opportunities and taking advantage of their own career development.  To do this, they must have the following approach: a strong understanding of the labour market, and a skill set for the 21st century.

The job market will change, depending on how technology affects the demand for specific skills. For example, STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will increase in necessity. People will need to be literate in new media forms. Work will be available for those who can manage large amounts of data.

Small Medium Enterprises (SME) have an impact

Entrepreneurs, here defined as someone who operates a business, will be no different than employees. They too must be able to keep up with technology to continue to thrive. The most recent statistics from the Government of Canada on small medium enterprises (SMEs) reveal the following data:

  • As of December 2015, there were 1.17 million employer businesses in Canada, and 1.14 million (97.9 percent) of the 1.17 million were small businesses.
  • In 2015, 70.5 percent (8.2 million) of private sector employment consisted of employees working for small businesses.
  • The majority of small and medium-sized business owners are in the “40–49” and “50–64” years of age categories. The highest percentage of SME owners is in the “50–64” years of age group.

Small businesses have a significant impact on employment. However, the percentage of SME owners in the 50 to 64 age group is consequential enough to have an impact on SMEs as this age group retires. Other research of note is that those who own small businesses tend to have around 5 to 10 years of business experience, and are more likely to have a college or trade school diploma, as shown below:

  • The percentage of small business owners with 5 to 10 years of experience is higher than the percentage of medium-sized enterprise owners. But the percentage of medium-sized enterprises was higher in the 10+ years experience category.
  • More than 60 percent of medium-sized business owners have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, compared with 38 percent of small business owners.

The current data suggests that SMEs have an important impact on the Canadian economy. Having a university degree may not be as important for owning a small business. But, considering the advice for careerpreneurs, SME owners must be aware of what skills are in demand in the 21st century, and be aware of how these changes will impact their businesses.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is coming. It will greatly change our personal and professional lives, from the way we communicate, to how we buy goods, to what careers we choose. Children entering the school system today may be working in jobs in the future which don’t yet exist. To best prepare them, we must teach them to be labour market and skill set savvy.

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Why We Should Accept Change

The molting process of humans is something not often discussed. By this, I mean the figurative shedding of our own skin and our old personalities as we become someone new. All of us change in order to survive. Each day, we learn lessons that influence who we are. Gradually, we evolve so that we make the progress we need to achieve our dreams.

They say our skin regenerates every 27 days. The overall effect is we look pretty much the same to anyone who interacts with us on a daily basis. But for someone who hasn’t seen us for months, or years, we have more wrinkles, dark spots, or sagging in our skin. Graying in our hair. And that’s just the visible differences. It’s the changes in personality and beliefs that are harder to spot.

Every day, we change in small ways

Someone who used to be a best friend a decade ago would say I like to eat fast food because of my busy schedule. I’m a writer who went from my work office desk straight to my home office desk to keep up with my writing schedule. Over the years, I remained as dedicated to my work, but health became a larger priority so my friend would be surprised that I eat healthy now. I’m still a writer, but I have increased obligations to family.

Sometimes it’s better to forget old grudges

I’m not the only one evolving over time. Your old enemy and untrustworthy friend is too. That person you hold a grudge against in high school, or the person that you don’t think belongs in your social circle simply because you don’t have common interests. I think we should keep an open mind that these people change and we should give them a second chance if we cross paths with them again. But do it with caution of course. In ten or twenty years, a person can change for the better, but also for worse.

You need to evolve to stay with your friends

People who stay friends over the decades need to evolve as well. A person changes their perspective on life as they grow from teenager to adult. A friend who was single a decade ago is getting used to being a dad, so evening hang outs have turned into quick visits in child-friendly environments. When I changed from employee to entrepreneur, another friend and I clashed in our work and financial values but we’ve learned to respect each other and stay best of friends.

I look at photos and see that I look similar. But the skin I used to have back then has been replaced. What I feared back then is not what I fear now. What I loved back then is not what I love now. Yes, I still like ice cream. I just don’t devour it in large quantities like I used to. It is very easy to think of time as moving forward while you remain static. However, I ask that you look at the people you’ve known for more than three years in a new light. Pretend it’s your first time meeting them. What do you see?

People tend to fear change because it suggests becoming uncomfortable. It suggests more work as you learn to adapt. And it suggests you’ll be left out if you don’t go along with it by adapting to the changes in your lifestyle, to the changes in the people around you. I say embrace both the nostaglia and the unknown. Be the leader that inspires others to be a better person and lead others to change with you.

 

What If You Could Control Time?

If you could control time, would you go back to change the past so you could redo a critical moment with an old friend or a sweetheart? What an awesome power it would be to freeze this moment and have all the minutes you need to do everything you want and still have hours to spare. Time management would not be a problem for you.

A 60 Minutes/ Vanity Fair poll in 2015 found that people would like to go back in time to prevent catastrophes such as the sinking of the Titanic and the 9/11 attacks on the United States. There are people who would like to witness first hand, events such as the opening of King Tut’s tomb and the first landing on the moon. Overall, however, of those polled, 53% were more interested in what the future has to tell them, than in analyzing what went wrong in the past.

It’s possible to vicariously experience time travel. Stephen Hawking, H.G. Wells, and Charles Dickens are all associated with time travel theories and stories. Fantasies about visiting yesterday and tomorrow abound. However, for the average person, is it possible to hold power over time?

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that time management is an important skill. Employees have set work hours, such as 9 to 5, and after those work hours, they can forget about work for a while. In contrast, entrepreneurs have to set their own work hours, and sometimes work time can easily seep into personal time.

Staying busy vs productive

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is IMPORTANT.” – Stephen Covey, businessman & author

We all have the same amount of time everyday. If every minute of your day was worth a dollar, would you waste it? Businessman Stephen Covey says that we should invest time, not spend it. To do that, you need to prioritize your tasks and decide what absolutely must be done, and what does not need to be done each day. Keeping busy is not the same as being productive.

One key to time management is finding blocks of time in your day that could be turned into investments. Author Scott Turow wrote a book during his long commutes in New York. What could you be doing while you take the train or the bus? A friend of mine used to do sit ups and push ups during part of our social conversations. That amounted to a 20 minute workout. If someone was late for a one-to-one meeting, I would send follow up texts to clients while waiting at the coffee shop.

Knowing the difference between being productive and being busy is a way to manage time. The key is identifying what your long term goals are. Checking your phone for messages and news updates over a quick lunch break isn’t necessarily productive. What messages are you looking for? Confirmation of your meeting tomorrow? Or a reply from your friend to say that she did buy a pet dog?

Time is a resource to invest in

“Either run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn, entrepreneur & author

Treating time as a precious resource means prioritizing your day. You won’t have the energy to do everything you ideally want to. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others. Everyone has their special skills. Ask a business associate or a family member for a favour. Don’t wear yourself out attempting to do everything on your to do list. And don’t forget to thank those who assist you.

You can also use a timer and set office hours. It is easy to spend hours on social media promotion. I am guilty of this because social media is one way to promote your business, so I tell myself I am being productive, but I need to keep track of how much time I am spending on it. Setting office hours is also critical to your health and well being. If you can work from anywhere, it is all too easy to fit in some work time before or during a family dinner. Instead, draw boundaries on when you are devoting time to work, and when you are devoting time to family and friends… and time for yourself.

It’s not yet possible to jump into a time machine and set a date to which we can jump forward or backward, but we can prioritize time. Stay productive, and you will look back on your life and see fewer regrets. Too many people wish they’d had the energy to fit in a 30 minute jog before day’s end. But no one regrets not watching a TV show by the end of the day.

Tick tock! What will you achieve when the clock strikes midnight tonight?

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The Alice in Wonderland Rabbit is always in a hurry. Here, he is finally standing still.

 

Death by Tomato

If you could choose how you die, would you choose death by tomato? You see, tomatoes are everywhere, so the threat is everywhere. They are in salads, hamburgers, pasta sauces, soups, and sandwiches. They are hard to avoid. For someone like me, with a severe tomato allergy, this vegetable (or fruit) is something like the plague. And for all you food allergy sufferers out there, I’m sure you know how I feel. A death by tomato is not pretty.

It’s more challenging to eat healthy.

When I try to eat healthy by ordering a salad, I find most types of salad have tomato in them. A garden salad, for example, has those deadly red bombs – I mean vegetables – in them. I could order a caesar salad, but that has a lot of cheese, which isn’t the best idea if you’re keeping your calories down. Same with soup. Most soups are tomato based, so my non-tomato-based soup choices are limited.

Most hamburgers and sandwiches have a slice of tomato in them, so either I try to eat it, or perform surgery and remove the threat. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to remove the threat from a slice of pizza unless I resort to the child-like skill of lifting up the topping and scraping off the sauce. If I want pasta or mussels with broth? I have a choice of tomato or cream. For example, a tomato-based pasta sauce with vegetables or peppers, or the fattening alfredo, three cheese, or mushroom in cream sauce.

If tomato weren’t widely available enough, someone decided to make vegetable juices, and clamato juices so that you can find tomatoes in your juice aisle and at the bar. It’s possible to get a tomato buzz with a Caesar cocktail and a double shot.

Even your food options include tomato to make your food taste better! Ketchup for your fries. Ketchup for your hot dogs, omelettes, hash browns. Just slather that deadly stuff on everything.

You might ask, if tomatoes are everywhere, then how do you avoid them? The answer follows.

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Pizzas are tasty and filling but we must not forget that tomatoes are hidden away in there.

Living with food allergies is challenging but doable.

Sometimes I succumb to the temptations of food containing tomatoes and pay the price. I enjoy pizza and hamburger. But seriously, pizza without tomato sauce is not pizza. And lasagna without the tomato sauce is not lasagna.

So I’ve learned to live with allergies. I eat the tomato, I break out in hives and eczema. My skin turns red and ugly. I become an avid user of bandaids. My skin looks terrible so I wear clothes that keep me covered up and give people the impression I lack self confidence because I wear long-sleeved, ankle-length baggy clothes. Truth is, I need to hide the scars as well as keep my clothes airy and breathable so my skin isn’t irritated or exposed to unclean surfaces. I avoid activities that aggravate my allergies, such as hot yoga, because the heat makes my skin itchy. I carry antihistamines with me at all times and got a prescription for an epi pen because on really bad days, my eyes swell shut, and on super bad days, I can feel my throat closing.

I am grateful that my allergies don’t kill me instantly. I know that there are allergy sufferers out there who will end up in hospital from coming in contact with a piece of fruit.  I also heard about a guy who had a kiwii allergy. His lips became swollen after kissing his girlfriend although he hadn’t touched kiwii. But his girlfriend had eaten kiwii for lunch.

Sometimes I wish I were allergic to chocolate. It’s not part of the essential food groups for keeping you healthy. Having a medical reason for avoiding it would be a bonus. But for some reason, tomatoes were chosen as my nemesis.

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Half of this delicious salad seems to be tomatoes!

What can tomatoes teach you about life?

First, I’ve learned that tomatoes are a popular item in our food. We really like tomatoes as an ingredient. Whole tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, crushed into paste tomatoes, and tomato juice.

Second, I’ve learned that something that is harmless and healthful to one person can be deadly to another. I have met someone who is allergic to chocolate, and I would say chocolate is found in many food items as well. On the bright side, my friend loves tomatoes, so at a barbecue, she gets my share of the tomatoes in the veggie platter.

Third, life is about adaptation. I might not be able to do hot yoga but I can always try yoga at room temperature. My skin might not be pretty, but I look for beauty elsewhere.

Do you know any allergy sufferers/ survivors? How do they cope?

 

 

How to Deal with Your Adversary

I’ve always had some level of anxiety when dealing with conflict. Maybe you do too. I don’t relish being the centre of attention, especially that kind of attention. If there is some productive way to handle my adversaries, then I’m all for it, whether it is in my professional or personal life. Fortunately, a recent adventure in outdoor paintball gave me some valuable tips about how to deal with opponents.

If you haven’t played outdoor paintball before, it’s a series of game zones in a large, enclosed area. Each game zone has a different theme, such as Prison Break (where you negotiate your way around some buses and cars, D-Day landing (where you locate and defeat the enemy in their bunker), and Speedball (where you are protecting fuel reserves from terrorists). Your friends work as a team to battle against another team of people who have showed up to play at the same time. Some zones require more cooperation between team members than others. Oh, and you shoot the other guys using a gun loaded with colourful paint balls. The way I decided to defeat our opponent (the other team) was using the following tips.

Tip 1: Network and learn about your adversary

After arriving at the paintball location and signing a waiver, I had to get my gear on. I knew the event organizer, as well as some of the others in our party of about fifteen. I asked people in the group about how to put on the gear – some of the apparatus was intuitive, while other bits were not. Those who had played the game before had some useful advice for me while we got to know each other at base camp prior to the start of the game.

By talking to people, I learned more about the players themselves. The ones who were confident, with paintball canisters strapped and ready for quick access (like they intended to take a lot of shots), were likely to be the ones attacking the opponent. The people who said they’d never played before and were anxious for the game to start, were likely to be more on the defensive. I exchanged names with some team members I hadn’t met before: whether they’d played before, how they knew the organizer, and what sports they played when they weren’t shooting paint. The people we were playing against looked like seasoned players. No one seemed to be wondering which way a piece of equipment was supposed to be put on. That had me worried about my lifespan once I entered a game zone.

Tip 2: Make yourself some allies

I already knew what my strengths and weaknesses were for games like these: I can duck and cover, but I’m not good at shooting moving targets. Still, my video game fantasies kicked in, my imagined military skills fluttering through my mind as I hid behind a tree. Ideally, I would dart out at the opportune moment to shoot and take down the enemy one by one while under heavy fire. They would be too slow to catch me as I flew through the obstacle course to the target zone in enemy territory.

How it really played out though, was I used the camouflage of a tree. Chatting with people before the game gave me a chance to find the fearless snipers, the risk takers, and the reluctant players. I formed a kinship with one of the reluctant players. Her goal was simply to try out the games and see how she did. Our strategy was to shoot the enemy from a safe hideout and keep an eye out for each other’s backs. Having her as an ally doubled my chances of survival. I felt safe knowing she and I were in the same boat. Until she disappeared behind another tree when an opponent came close, and then I found myself surrounded by shrubbery and quite alone.

Tip 3: Share strengths to defeat the rival

My strength, as I’ve said before, is in hiding and observing. It’s not a strategy I’m proud of. Dealing with your adversaries through passive rebellion is not at all heroic. There is too much dependence on others – the ones recognized as the stars of the team. These allies of mine were the ones who took the big risks and charged, fully exposed on all sides, into enemy territory. They were the ones who claimed victory for the team, such as capturing the enemy flag.

I helped by advancing when they advanced and taking on defense. When the fearless team members launched themselves deep into enemy territory, I followed and hid behind a wall or tree trunk where I could fire at others with minimum risk to my own safety and provided them with cover fire. I also helped by donating paintballs from my supply to the risk takers. They ran out of paintballs at twice the speed that I did. My very conservative contribution benefited the team.

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Paintball game zone

Tip 4: Let your opponent see your human side

It was in the last game zone, while my team was cornered and being slaughtered, that I realized I needed tip 4. In paintball, once you are hit, you must walk out of the active game area to show that you are no longer playing. That area is marked with a ribbon that shows the boundary of the game zone. After I was hit, I and other teammates stood along the ribbon, unable to go further because there were dense shrubs behind us. We started a lineup.

Eventually the opponent team fought their way to our side of the playing field and started to shoot at us, even though we had our hands up and we weren’t firing our guns. I lay on the ground to be as small as possible but even there I was hit about seven times. It felt more of a zombie hunting game at that point, since the enemy insisted that we could come back from the dead and were fair game.

Which brings me to the next point, that when you deal with your adversary, it helps to humanize yourself. It is harder to bring down an opponent when you can see yourself in their shoes and feel what they feel. To the other team, we were just targets in masks and soldier’s gear. They couldn’t feel the relentless pain of being zapped by paintballs, of getting the bitter, medicinal tasting paint in your mouth while soaking in the heat of padded clothing. Worst of all, I still had a working paintball gun which I wasn’t firing because I was playing by the rules. At that point, the game ceased to be fun until the referee realized what was happening and rescued us by drilling the rules into the opponents’ ears: do not shoot players when they are out of the game!

Tip 5: Separate small goals from large goals

When the game ended, I was a lot more colourful than when I’d started. I didn’t make it through all of the game zones because it was just too exhausting to run around in three thick layers of clothes in warm weather. I managed to survive at least half the zones by setting small goals for myself, such as crawling to a tree while under fire, and making it from one game zone to the next. The main goal, to make it through to last game zone, I did not achieve, but many of the team didn’t either. Most were just too drenched in their own sweat. I concluded none of us would make it as true military personnel.

The most important lesson I got from the game was working together as a team to defeat a common opponent. When you have allies protecting you and supporting you, you will be a lot harder to defeat. Definitely I wouldn’t have survived as long as a team of one. This lesson was one that I could apply to a work situation or even in my personal life.

That was probably the point of the game: for all to have fun and experience an adventure with your teammates.

 

The Importance of Eye Contact

“The simple act of holding someone’s gaze … has the power to ignite or deepen a relationship.”

I’ve had my heart stolen by a man I barely knew – we had spent no more than three hours over six months talking about impersonal things – and yet, when I said goodbye that day and was walking out the door, I turned to see him gazing at me. That look was so intense, his eyes locked on mine like he wanted to kiss me, that I wanted to forget about leaving and just go back and throw my arms around him although we were near strangers.

Eye contact is captivating.

This contact is what humanizes and strengthens connections. I was once mesmerized by the incessant gaze of a seagull as it watched me watch it. I moved around in the room; the seagull paced back and forth outside on the window ledge, its eyes never leaving mine. By the time it flew away, the moment we shared was unforgettable.

It doesn’t matter whose eyes are engaging ours, whether human or animal, alive or pictorial. The contact is a way of sending a message. Researchers at Cornell University did a study on the significance of eye contact using the Trix cartoon rabbit by changing the gaze of the rabbit shown on different cereal boxes. The box that a panel of adults chose most frequently was the one with the rabbit looking directly at them, instead of away.

Eye contact makes you memorable.

The body language of the eyes can be powerful enough to make a person fall in love. A gaze can stop a person from walking out the door. Eye contact can make a moment unforgettable.

We’ve heard the saying, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” People are more likely to believe someone is being honest when eye contact is made. We think that when we look into someone’s eyes, we can peer into their true intentions. For this reason, holding eye contact during a conversation or a presentation makes your words more memorable. The next time you are giving an important talk, hold someone’s gaze, then look away, or make a sudden hand gesture. Your words at that moment will become more solidified in that person’s mind.

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Eyes can reveal the mental state of their owner.

Eye contact can reveal the truth.

When we hold someone’s gaze, we feel that we can prevent them from deceiving us if they seem a bit shady in character. The truth, however, is that liars are better at holding eye contact than those who tell the truth, perhaps because they are aware that we think a gaze will reveal a person’s true intentions. In fact, we are better able to interpret a person’s intentions from their body language than we think.

A study on a person’s ability to read body language from the expression in their eyes only (the rest of the face was covered), revealed that men could interpret the mental state of the person 76% of the time, while women could guess the state 88% of the time. But it’s not known how we are able to deduce our conclusions from eye contact.

Eyes need to roam to gather information.

Most of us aren’t aware that we also get our information at a subconscious level. When we see someone new from a distance, our eyes go to the face, then the body, and then back to the face. The exchange of glances helps us assess how interesting we think the other person may be. The glimpse of the body tells us the sex of the person we are approaching.

Women are able to gather this information more discretely close up because of their peripheral vision. Men have tunnel vision, so it is more noticeable when they are trying to check out someone from head to toe from close up.

After a meeting, we also check out the rear view of the person as they leave. In a study of job interviews, researchers found that both men and women checked out the physical details of job interview candidates as they entered the room and when they left. Women tended to be more judgmental of the candidates’ clothes and overall appearance. Both sexes needed to give the candidates a complete once-over at the start of the interview. This is a fact to keep in mind if candidates are trying to maintain eye contact the moment they enter the room – it makes the checking out process difficult for the interviewer.

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The duration of eye contact can affect how you feel about someone.

Eyes send a clear message.

Whether or not you are thinking about the message your eyes are sending out, you should be aware that you are always transmitting something. When you hold eye contact, you are showing interest. If you are checking someone out, even subconsciously, you could be creating an awkward situation, especially if the other person is politely trying to hold a gaze. Your emotions are spelled out in your eyes, and people can read your message with over 75% accuracy. Eyes are indeed the windows into your innermost thoughts. So, hold eye contact, be confident, and be memorable!

 

 

Connecting with People in Vancouver

I’ve heard many say that it’s hard to meet people in Vancouver. Newcomers think that locals hang out with their local friends and don’t open up their social circles. Singles go online to meet hook ups, potential dates, or future spouses. People in the same office building exchange polite hellos and smiles without knowing the barest details of each other’s lives. With these habits, how does one break through these barriers to make a new friend in person? Too often it seems people become suspicious when a complete stranger wants to know more than directions to a landmark. Approach someone you don’t know to ask him or her random questions about favourite hobbies and restaurants and you’re likely to get something ranging from a strange look to questioning from police.

People don’t socialize with strangers

Busy people are everywhere. If there is a long lineup at the coffee shop, we take out our smartphones to check our friends’ status on Facebook, text a friend about weekend plans, reach the next level on a game app, or screen work emails while we stand around. There we are, multi-tasking our social and professional lives, considering ourselves efficient in our use of time. I can’t recall when someone turned to a stranger to say something other than, wow, this lineup is long.

We connect with people at events

We open ourselves up to meeting new friends only when we attend an activity or event where socializing is part of the event. For example, at a birthday party, my friend introduces me to her friend who is finally back after six years in Europe and now she’s in the same career as me so she and I should talk. Or, I join a swimming class and one of the ladies lives a block away so we decide to carpool and perhaps have dinner after class since we’re pretty much neighbours.

People have noticed that meeting people through some haphazard coincidence is unlikely. To address this situation, lifestyle coaches and other professionals hold workshops about how to meet people in Vancouver. Yes, they teach you how to do this type of social interaction.

We learn how to connect at workshops

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Vancouver event where people learn to connect with others

I think it’s ironic to sit with a table of strangers and open a conversation with, “Hello! You’re having trouble meeting people too? This problem we both have has finally connected us.”

Apparently, people are so afraid about how a stranger would react if you tried talking with them out of the blue that they’re likely to let the moment pass. So even if you think the woman at the table next to yours might be interesting to get to know as a friend, you will keep your thoughts to yourself and not say anything in case she calls you a freak.

For others, it was a lack of social skills that brought them to the workshop. The presenter taught us how to look a stranger in the eye, begin, and maintain a conversation. We had to be taught these things, because apparently it’s a skill we lack.

I spoke with a few people after the workshop finished about why they were there. They wanted to connect with others, network, and learn how they could increase their circle of friends. Most of them were single and trying to avoid meeting potential dates online. Some still believe in organically starting a relationship.

Generally, I found it easy to meet and chat with people at a How to Meet People event. I exchanged phone numbers with some ladies after a quick chat about interests and what activities we could attend together the next time we met.

Some people don’t feel the need to connect

What surprised me were the people who attended the social event and made their escape as soon as the workshop was over. I had so many questions about their purpose in attending that evening.

Did they have to run because they accidentally ate some chili peppers? Or did they simply want something to pass a couple of hours in their day? Were they learning how to connect with people so they could practice the skill on someone else? Most importantly, did they think the people from that evening were not worth connecting to? I guess I’ll never know because I didn’t speak with them.

Finding chances to connect with others

My biggest takeaway from the workshop experience was that only the brave ones are willing to ask a random person if they are enjoying the sunshine, or if they would like to join them at their table and have a chat over coffee. Trying to make friends with the person sitting next to you on the bus seems almost taboo. Perhaps our culture has to change. Perhaps people need to be friendlier. Or maybe making a new friend each day is too ambitious or unnecessary a goal for most of us. What do you think?

Healthy Mind and Body, Wealthy Life