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Monday, May 31, 2010

Well, I had a gratifying experience today. I recently had been thinking that if someone asked me for change, instead of simply giving them money I should offer to pay them for doing something, e.g., singing their favorite song. The first time I was solicited today, I tried doing this, but found myself unable to. My social anxiety was getting in the way -- the fear of my offer's being rejected -- and so I ended up just giving him change. Now, in addition to my original motives, I saw also the importance of achieving this as an "exposure" to an anxiety-inducing situation.

A little later I saw a second opportunity approaching. This time I prepared by going into "trance" for a second so I could make the offer without thinking about it. Far from being offended, he readily complied, and sang an entire song ("Love on a Two-Way Street") that he evidently had committed to memory. It was very pleasing to be honored in this way with something he loved, and to be able to not only pay him but give honest praise too. Persisting afterward was a heady feeling from having done the "impossible," like that I first had on 2 July 2005 after introducing myself to several attractive strangers that day (with the difference that going into trance took more effort back then).

Eric Hamell

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