Tell Me About Yourself…

First impressions our important. They can be the difference between making a new best friend and looking like a weirdo so when someone says to me, “Tell me about yourself,” I want to have a good answer. I want to be open, honest, and interesting without appearing too strange, different, or disconnected. Being too equanimous can be a little boring. So how do I discuss my meditation practice?

Many people are interested in meditation, vegetarianism, and new perspectives. Some stay interested when I talk about a daily meditation practice, taking a 10 day meditation course, and talking about buddhism. Most people start pulling out the weirdo flag if I get too excited talking about the entire course being silent, focusing on the upper lip for hours at a time, that I meditate 2 hours a day, or if I express that I don’t really understand how the technique works but I’m still trusting it in transforming my life.

I can go with some more acceptable answers by talking about being a biology graduate student. I can usually say something cool about biomechanics but then I need to talk about work and who wants that? I huge part of connection is being excited about who you are and the life that you’re living so I need to figure out a way to go beyond the surface level without coming across too strong.

Of course there’s also the “I don’t care what you think, this is who I am,” method. This certainly weeds a lot of conversations that I’m not interested in having. The trouble is that I’ve started a new job and am creating a new social network so I don’t want to seem conceded.

I think I need to use my old hobbies as my power card. I can get excited talking about some of the awesome backpacking or travelling I’ve done. That reminds me. I need to get back to doing more awesome backpacking and travelling. This way I have an interesting fun topic to discuss with new friends. I can test the waters with meditation discussions but I don’t need to share all of my secrets right off the bat. Okay, time to begin operation “I’m a Vipassana meditator but I’m still a normal fun person.” Time to make some new friends!

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

2 thoughts on “Tell Me About Yourself…

  1. I assume you’re talking about networking with scientists here, and since there’s a lot of convincing evidence that supports various benefits of meditation, you should be able to talk about it without coming off as weird. Try using their language! When you start referencing neuroscience and how you’ve applied those “discoveries” to your own mind, people think it’s super-cool. Let me know if you want me to send some papers, but you can find a bunch on PubMed.

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    • Thanks Tryg. I think it’s just weird self confidence stuff. I’m still trying to become comfortable living as a meditator but recoding my brain is strange. I’ll get there.

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