Lessons learned from World Domination Summit 2014 (months later)


It’s been a little over six months since the 2014 World Domination Summit and I thought it would be good to talk about the event from the vantage point of a little bit of distance.

Why bother? Why talk about an event that’s a half year old, and that I’ve already reviewed?

Easy, because what happens far after the event matters much more than right after. What I mean is: you leave the event feeling inspired and energized, but what do you do with that? Monday rolls around and your life is (usually) still the same, after all.

But in two small but interesting cases, I found the event actually more meaningful with a bit of distance.

And it started with a domino.

The Brave Bot

As a volunteer (“Ambassador”), one of my primary duties apart from directing people and giving high-fives was distributing the various giveaways to the attendees. Things like a WDS poster and an info card about WDS 2015.

And a domino. Or rather, what was originally a domino. It had been painted with the shape of a rather adorable-looking robot and been transformed into a Brave Bot.

Note how the paint has rubbed off a bit from being well-used.
Note how the paint has rubbed off a bit from being well-used.

The Brave Bot had a note attached which read that this was:

“a hand-painted robot programmed to help you take wonderful risks…When it sees that you need some courage, it will give you a burst of bravery.”

I confess that while I thought the idea was cute, I dismissed it as being a bit silly. And to be honest, I didn’t even remember the speaker who had us give these out (though in my defense, I was primarily concerned with getting organized in the wings of the theater to be able to concentrate on the talk). After WDS, I put the Brave Bot on my desk, and more or less didn’t think about it again.

Until I needed a burst of bravery.

I’d rate my bravery level in certain areas of life at Moderate, but I will freely admit here that when it comes to conflict, I am a coward. (Ironically, I guess it’s relatively brave to admit this here.) I will go through some pretty heavy contortions to prevent having to have confrontations with anyone, for any reason.

But, as I’ve written about before, avoiding conflict will ruin everything. Cold comfort there.

And so, almost reflexively, I found myself reaching for the Brave Bot. I started carrying that thing in my pocket, holding it in my hand at times without even realizing it. When I would lose my confidence, it would be in my hand.

Now, in my mind, I knew this was still silly. How can a painted domino help me with anything?

But I later realized that the most important answer to that is: Who cares? It wasn’t hindering me in any way, and was surely helping, so what’s the problem?

Do we need to know how something works to be able to benefit from it? Does knowing why a joke is funny make it funnier?

That Brave Bot and I went through some serious grief together. And it helped a lot. Thanks, Brave Bot.

(And in case you’re interested, the creator of the Brave Bot is Gary Hirsch and here is his talk from WDS 2014)

I am (I am) I am Superman, and I can do anything

Another talk completely left my mind (including name of the speaker) except for her introductory exercise.

The speaker instructed us to imagine right then and there that we had a cape on our back, like a superhero. She said that when we did that, our posture would invariably change to a more confident one. Moreover, that not only would we look more confident, but we would actually feel more confident too!

I remember filing away that tidbit in my brain, and then not thinking about it for months.

And then, one day, I felt like I really needed a dose of confidence, and so I tried it out.

Holy unexpected confidence booster, Batman! It works! I almost immediately felt more confident and sure of myself.

(Interestingly, I was flipping through Tony Robbins’ latest book recently, and noticed that he mentions a similar exercise about posture. Though no superhero thought exercises that I could find.)

So, seriously, try this out whenever you need to feel more confident: Imagine you have a superhero cape on. Don’t ask why it works. Just try it.

(And in case you’re interested, the speaker’s name was Dee Williams and here is her talk from WDS 2014.)

Months later

So months later, I’ll concede that the most meaningful lessons I’ve taken away from WDS 2014 (my third) were these two little confidence and bravery hacks. Not necessarily life-changing, but certainly meaningful.

But who knows? We still have a few more months to go. What other lessons or ideas are still yet to be uncovered?

But enough about me. What are your thoughts about WDS now that we’re a few months out from the event?

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