Whether you are a door-to-door sales person, a Mormon missionary, or a campaign fund-raiser, knocking on strangers’ doors is a required skill. It could also be very scary for the non-professionals, because you don’t know what will show up when the door opens, whether it’s a smiley face, or something unpleasant if not downright scary.
Then I wondered, instead of knocking to ask for something, what if I simply offer something that’s almost universally welcomed, such as planting a flower in their yard? It also defies their expectation of a solicitor. Will people welcome me with open-arms, or reject me with stiff-arms?
This is the first time that I do garden work for strangers for free, and be this happy… In fact, this is the first time I am happy about doing garden work, period. It simply is not my cup of tea. However, I learned that Connie loves roses, and what I did really made a contribution to their yard.
Also, this is my third time knocking on doors. Previously, I tried to play soccer in someone’s backyard, and to join a random Superbowl party. I didn’t get shot or even rudely rejected in any of these attempts. Again, we often think of the sensational worst outcomes, but reality is often much more benevolent. In her famous TED talk on fear, Karen Thompson Walker explained how fear can force us into wrong decisions… very wrong decisions.
Learning: 1. With the right attitude and intention, knocking on doors isn’t as scary as we think. That’s why it’s happening everyday and everywhere. 2. Fear often makes us reject ourselves before someone else can reject us. Just like how suicide rate dwarfs homicide rate, self-rejection happens much more often then rejection from others.