About 100 Strangers, 100 Days

Why this project to meet Strangers?

I’m in a great place in life — doing well with… a lot, and as hard as I’ve worked, I realize that much of my success is because of the people I know. Those people tend to have very different backgrounds, stories, and approaching work and life in different ways. I have many friends and colleagues who see the same, and they wonder how I know such varied crowds. Simple — I go beyond a “hello”. Yes, I’ll walk right up to Strangers just to meet them if they draw my eye just because.

Everyone is fascinating and has some story to tell. I’m fortunate and grateful to have met some really amazing people. These amazing people have shaped who I am, and I’m proud of who I am and who I am becoming. I have looked at relationships as incredibly special to me – a realization surfaced from my time at Emory. That is, how much people and connections mean to me.

Yet, I still catch myself seeing many of the same people day-to-day, and I may nod to them and maybe say, “hi”. However, I know nothing else of them. Then, I look all around me and people are staring so intently at their phones not realizing the glorious stories just in front of them.

In fact, this project really sparked in me as I was hiking down Stone Mountain in Atlanta one morning. As I was hiking down from the catching the sunrise, I noticed a man next to me who was walking alongside me for the last 5 minutes. I said to myself, “I might as well say hello”, and then, the light bulb came on. I thought about taking all that I have learned about connecting and meeting Strangers into a blog. Two hours later, I met my first Stranger. Six hours later, this site was born.

This project is to help unearth the fascinating stories of people around me (around you). I’ll outline a few of the purposes of this project below.

(Oh, and ironically, I didn’t end up meeting the man walking beside me. I was caught up in this idea. Next time.)

Why 100?

For whatever reason, the number 100 crept into my head for both 100 Strangers and 100 Days – had a nice ring to it. I thought about 30 days, but that didn’t seem very ambitious. 50 just sounded like an odd number. So 100 Strangers. 100 Days. Let’s go.

My motivations for this project that I started Saturday, September 17th. I should be wrapped up with my 100th Stranger on December 26! How wild is that?

So what are the rules for a Stranger?

I’ll detail this in a future post. 🙂

What are the purposes of this project?

  • To inspire connections. I want people to get out from their cellphones texting and “Snapchatting” to get to know people around them. Myself, I see so many people in my office, but do not say hello. I may say, “hi”, or give a friendly nod, but that’s the extent. I want to connect, and I believe we should all connect as social organisms. Plus, serendipity is a wonderful thing.
  • To motivate action. Like I said, 100 days is, I think, ambitious. I thought of the idea for this and within two hours, I was interviewing my first Stranger. Within 6 hours I had the website up. I want others who have passions or questions or a project in their heads to turn those questions to answers… to turn ideas into reality. I’m an entrepreneur because I execute. I want others to realize it’s not hard to start something magical.
  • To challenge myself. I wrote Postmortem of a Failed Startup: Lessons for Success last year. This could very well be another book down the line for me. That, and I want another personal/ passion project other than the passion for the startup I work for.
  • With 1 Stranger per 1 Day, I want to show it’s not hard to get out of our comfort zone. Just one little connection per 24 hours. It’s an exercise not to rush 100 connections, but to illustrate it’s possible on a consistent basis.
  • Show the world we can be compassionate and vulnerable. I can ask some deep, personal questions to which I hope to hear truths. I want to challenge others to be vulnerable to not just answering questions to me, but to sharing their story with the world (and their picture). It’s an incredible thing to ask, but I want to ask to let others make that choice… not me make that choice for them (which I have a terrible tendency to do – make choices for others). It’s a trust thing.
  •  To encourage us to get to know those who we don’t consider Strangers. I have friends now sharing THEIR answers to questions like they were Strangers. They want to share with me! Meanwhile, I have friends now asking THEIR friends these questions because they want to know what motivates them. It’s exciting to watch as we consider how people around us could be Strangers in some way, too.
  • To change the world for the greater through entrepreneurial endeavors. I have no idea where this is going to go other than 100 Strangers… 100 Days. I may ask some more friendlier faces as I realize, too, that some familiar faces are just surface-level connections. As I said earlier, I want deeper connections, so maybe I go beyond Strangers. I don’t know if this will be a book. I don’t know if this will amount to anything “commercially viable”, but I’m good with that. I hope this journey motivates bigger effects on us as a community, as a nation, as a race. We all have common threads as well as beautiful differences. I want us to embrace each other and the effects of this journey for greater aspirations whatever they may be.

What do I want out of this project?

Outside of the purposes above… nothing… Kind of. A few of the points in the purposes above are a little lofty because connections are great, but inspiring others to connect on a deeper level makes sense if the connections are sustainable. But then again, not every connection needs to be life-long… perhaps one or two will. Perhaps finding the deeper motivations of a friend will shape the rest of that friendship. Hard to say, but I hope!

For me, this isn’t destined to be a book or a podcast — what many have suggested to me. I just want this to be “organic”. Meaning: I don’t really know what I want it to be. However, I want to move from Day to Day, Stranger to Stranger. I want to be present in my meetings, and I want to learn. That’s my only goal beyond inspiring and motivating others. For me, maybe this will change me for the greater which I’m sure it will.

Who am I?

I’m just a regular dude trying to do extraordinary things one “inflection” point at a time… hopefully, change the world for the greater through entrepreneurial endeavors. If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me. Also, you can learn more about my motivations and me at www.EntrepreneurialNinja.com.

Closing notes.

So stay tuned and check out these beautiful Strangers on http://100strangers100days.com – I’m on Day 12 today. Also, you can follow the journey via Twitter @StrangersXDays or Instagram @StrangersXDays or follow the hashtag #100strangers100days!

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  1. […] doesn’t take much to start something important to you. I came up with the idea for 100 Strangers, 100 Days while hiking one Saturday morning in September. Within two hours, I interviewed my first Stranger. […]

  2. […] whole project. Specifically, she was curious about how this project came about — can read About 100 Strangers, 100 Days. She was fascinated most because, I think, she really enjoys connecting with others. She talked […]

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