10 Ways to Attract Amazing People Into Your Life

Monday, April 28, 2014 0 Permalink 3

Over the course of my time as a rolling stone, I’ve had the unique opportunity to cruise the world, and meet hundreds of thousands of people. I would produce content for artists & musicians on the road. My tours ranged from high profile arena tours right down to stuffy college bars. It was always amazing. Point being, I met a shitload of people from all walks of life. And across the world, I’ve been able to attract amazing people into my life. Some bonds have been stronger than others. Some romantic. Some platonic. Some kinda soul-matey. You just have to be open to it.

All of these suggestions aim to open yourself up and help attract the right kind of people we all need in our lives. Through some experimenting, you’ll start to understand the value of surrounding yourself with quality relationships.

1. Go on an adventure with someone you don’t know.  Some of the most rewarding experiences we can have are with strangers.  Why? No judgements. No expectations. I promise, if you let yourself, you’ll enjoy a startling honesty when sharing with a brand new friend. And bets are if you’re geared up for a great adventure, you’re already like minded. You’ll probably have a few, if not several, “Damn…that feels good to say” moments.

2. Get in the habit of sincerely asking friends, family, and strangers, “How are you doing today?” You’ll find reward in asking.  That simple question often touches a nerve because EVERYONE is going through something (positive, negative, or neutral).  Life is a series of somethings we’re going through.  Asking someone about their somethings might be the perfect ice breaker to a new and insanely wonderful personality in your life.

3. Remember we all have reasons for the way we are.  Gosh, to have compassion. It’s priceless. It’s so easy to judge a book.  There are a million reasons why “he is like that” and “she acts this way”.  It’s okay not to further your bond with someone, but be forgiving.  You do expect the same, correct?  Simply understand that countless have been through shitty relationships, abandonments, loss of life, betrayals, freak accidents, etc.  We all have our share of baggage which inevitably bleeds into conversations.  Sometimes it dominates conversation. But, for the record, people who have grown from traumas are among the most resilient and qualified in bleeding love. Hands down.

4. Respect yourself enough to be present with others.  Laugh at the things in front of you. Get mad if you’re mad. Respect yourself enough to cry when it hurts. Ask questions when you’re curious. Do your best not dwell.  Enjoy your stories as they play out more than you’ll enjoy telling them. ”Carpe the diem”, as they say, or “Seize the carp.” Everything we feel is just part of this wacky ass emotional roller coaster we all live through called life. Mentally being there for it is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.

Ben Renschen Greg Stump - laughing

5. Listening is not the same as hearing.  Listening is the most popular failure in personal (and professional) relationships.  When someone actively listens to you and asks relevant questions about your life, are you wise enough to recognize it?  If so, don’t you almost ALWAYS walk away with a sense of trust? Learn to enjoy richer conversation by really listening to someone.

6. Call on people when you need to.  Everyone thinks we can handle our own shit. Wrong. That’s what we project. Whether its music, mom, or an awesome weekend with friends, it’s the outside influences that guide and encourage us through. People enjoy being needed when they have something to give you. Also, remember, there’s over 6 billion of us. In other words, you’re not the only person going through your problem. Plus, sharing the embarrassing and shit parts of life with friends and strangers will help forge some of your strongest bonds.

7. Put away your phone when in company.  We’re all guilty, but seriously. Put that thing in your pocket, your purse, or leave it in the car. If you’re buried in Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, email, text, Skype, blah blah blah, people in company recognize themselves as a lower priority to you. Therefore, efforts to get to know you are already being sidelined. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even shake a hand. Go to any gathering with the intention of giving your time.  It is why you’re there, right?  The energy you put in, more often then not, you’ll get right back.

banksy mobile

8. Ask questions about anything you’re remotely interested in.  The simple act of wearing curiosities on your sleeve will open yourself up to more than you think.  When you start understand how enjoyable learning is, you’ll want to absorb faster than you can keep up with. And even if you don’t go “gung ho” into a hobby, the worst you did was learn a little and build a relationship.  Also, most people are multi-talented so forging a bond here could be an “in” to something so much better in the future.

9. Practice hospitality by inviting people into your home. This will not apply to all, but many of us use our apartments, condos, and homes as caves. They are a safe haven. A place where we get to store all our privacy’s. Try, once, to host a dinner or a party.  Shake it up a bit. Even if your apartment and kitchen are small and you have only one bathroom.  It’s a good experiment to see what people take away from your hospitality. Think of this way, do you not want to be friends with someone who generously invites you into their comfortable home and cooks you dinner and offers you a drink? Life could be worse.

10. Let people watch you learn.  Of course, there’s always some fear in letting people watch you “give it your best”. What if you fail?  What if you embarrass yourself?  You’ll quickly shed layers of ego by encouraging a bit of humility to take hold.  As walls come down, friends come pouring in. Just the way it works. And you’ll attract quality people if you help others learn how to learn.

11. Travel the world. That’s a bonus one, but trust me.

When you’re tired of all this law of attraction crap, drink a beer and watch some episodes of Family Guy to normalize.



Feature image by Jenna Rosenfeld. follow her on Instagram.

Two men laughing from the short docu film Road’s End.

Banksy image from an article on This Is Colossal.

The What I Be Project Will Give You The Holy Shits

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4 Permalink 0

I am honored to be authoring the narrative of Steve Rosenfield’s book on his controversial What I Be Project. Entire communities, family units, and friend circles are being jarred as Steve shines a light on traditionally “shameful” topics. Participation requires courage as this often sets an uncomfortable path. This project is far from a gimmick.

It is changing lives in profound ways. People are boldly addressing their depression, rape, bigotry, coming out as gay, molestation, cutting, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, etc. Unfortunately, not every participant has survived their demons. But by encouraging participants to face their darkest insecurities, Steve’s project went viral in early 2014 and now inspires millions of readers, viewers, and participants alike. It usually takes a closer look, but when you truly start to understand the impact of the What I Be Project, you too, should have that “holy shit” moment. It usually comes with reading the overwhelmingly positive responses on the project’s Facebook page.

The format of the What I Be Project is simple. The title of a subject’s image always begins with “I am not my…” With that insecurity, story, or stereotype in mind, the subject bears an image or phrase on their skin to share their point of pain. Steve snaps the shutter and posts it online. The idea being that the subject DOES, in fact, identify with their insecurity. But they are also saying, “This is not the only part of me.” Rather a small fraction that doesn’t merit a full character judgement.

What I Be Project Website

I am not my amputation.
I am not my turban.
I am not my bulimia.
I am not my body image.
I am not my number.
I am not my gender.
I am not my adoption.
I am not my guilt.
I am not my abortion.

As a behind-the-camera person, it was very uncomfortable when he asked to photograph me. However, the message behind his efforts convinced my participation, and about two years ago, Steve captured the below image at my apartment in Orange County.  Two years went by and I still hadn’t written a statement about where my insecurity had come from (something Steve requires from everyone). I think mostly because I couldn’t have articulated what it was at that point. Now that we’ve engaged the book writing process, I’ve been forced to address what I’ve been avoiding for years. The people I’ve latched on to and the people I’ve abandoned.

Here is a sneak peak into what you can expect from the What I Be Project Book.

This is my image and my statement. Both of which pale in comparison to the bravery of other participants. I would encourage you to scour the thousands of images online. You’ll discover people who are going through the same difficult shit we think we’re alone in. Thank goodness for community. Thank goodness for **this** community.

And thank you, my friend, Steve.

Ben Renschen What I Be

STATEMENT (addressing my insecurity)

“I am not my self-indulgence”

You know how people say they have “types”? My type was the girl whose guts were scattered across a sandbox. I thought, “I can put this back together.”

I come from a cush life, cush family, cush everything. We were far from wealthy, rather, I was emotionally well protected. Too protected.

As I grew out of boyhood and into manhood, I dated bulimics, the anxiety ridden, and severely abused. I was a moth into the flame. It became a specialty. I was a fixer. I had so much positive to give that, surely, I can overcome the negative.

It started in college. I enjoyed getting girls to cry in our dormitory lounge about their problems because, to me, that meant we were developing a bond. It’s college, we’re supposed grow, ya know? I didn’t know much about pain or sadness at that point so it was like this movie I had to watch. I loved it and I got to pull all the strings.

What I didn’t realize then, was that I had started stirring the pot without any intentions of actually making soup. By getting someone to open up and share their story, I got to feel a bit of pain. I got fulfillment in that. But because I never wanted to see my own reflection in those conversations, I would just as quickly abandon those people. I would just stop talking to them. Easy. It scares me, still to this day, how easy it is for me to walk out on people.

Congratulations, me, and thank you, you. On to the next.

Years go by and I’m still doing the same because I’ve justified that I’m a learner, a challenger, a grower. So I started consciously speaking my desire for pain. I’ve dug around in wounds so deep that I got lost.

I was head-to-toe covered in a girl’s mess one time. I didn’t understand the twenty questions I was asking her without actually asking them. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. It took the wisdom of one girlfriend to tell me I had no business making her traumas my own. Not because she was unwilling to let me play in the sandbox, but because she’d spent her entire life building a sandcastle that worked. It protected her. It was her roof. It was her safety. There was this beautiful relationship between the way she cared for it and it cared for her. I knew it protected her inner child from the storms that I was busy brewing. I didn’t even care. I still wanted to knock it down. I had to if I was going to build a sandcastle big enough for the two of us. That statement alone tells me how selfish I am. It tells me how presumptuous I am for how things are “supposed to be”. I still think that way. Needless to say, we are not together.

But I am starting to get it.

There is no such thing as either party being free-from-harm when you penetrate the source of a wound. I told one girl that I wanted her pain. She laughed and said, “Ben, you can have it all. And if you don’t want it all, I have enough for the both of us.”

So, now, I’ve spent the better part of the last ten years consciously seeking other peoples’ traumas to use as my own learning curve. This goes for friendships & relationships alike. Friends, family, men, women – no one is off limits. I’m afraid it repels a lot of relationships as people get to know me. I’m always trying to be aware of this so I don’t do more harm than help.

I don’t know if it’s truth or ego speaking, but I can still say with confidence,

“I am, in fact, going to use you.”

That hurts me.

I hope if anyone is reading this that has been on the wrong end of my process, you can forgive me. I promise you that I’m slowly growing and I love you for what you’ve given me.