Best Part

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “What is your favorite part about life?”

I’m sorry everyone, but I lied. I provided you with 12 Strangers this time. As you can probably imagine, it’s not too easy to communicate and explain a project to a Nicaraguan in shoddy Spanish. It’s difficult to explain 14Strangers in English, so explaining it in Spanish was even harder for me. For this video, I was only able to provide you with 12. Sorry! But I think the ones that I’ve provided make up for it.

I challenge you to answer this question. I think this was one of the hardest questions for people to answer, considering how general it is. Try to assign one thing in your life with the label “best”. It’s hard. It’s important to do this though. By forcing yourself to distinguish what you love most in life, it forces you to appreciate what you have. You don’t want to be the person that ends up saying, “I wish I appreciated this while I still had it”. So whether it’s family, food, or your friends, go tell them you appreciate them. Because this may be the only chance you get.

So for these next two weeks, appreciate your life and distinguish what is the best. And as always, check back in two weeks for more.

P.S. It took me like an hour to translate all 12 peoples’ responses. The things I do for you viewers…

Personality Change

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “If you could change one thing about your personality what would it be?”

If you noticed the videos carefully, you’ll see there are two speakers that directly contrasted one another. One person said that he wishes that he was a little more reasonable with the the way he has dealt with anger while another person said that he wished he was a little more expressive with the way he has dealt with anger. The grass is always greener on the other side. Whether it’s your best friend’s outlook on life or your rich neighbor’s house, it always seems that the other person has the better position. It’s important to stop comparing oneself to anyone else. It’s even more important to realize that no matter what happens in life, there’s always a “good” and “bad” way to look at it. So for the next two weeks, instead of beating down on yourself for something you don’t like about yourself, just think that there’s someone that wishes they had those exact “fortunes” that you have.

Starting on Monday the 23rd, I’ll be traveling to Nicaragua! You’ll get to see some #14Strangers clips in spanish with english subtitles. Let me know what you thought of this weeks video and leave some possible #14Strangers that you’d like to see for Nicaraguans!

Different

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “Can you describe to me a way in which you are different from everyone around you?”

First off, so sorry about not posting yesterday! The end of the school year gets extremely hectic, so it wasn’t until today that I was able to compile all the videos together!

Secondly, I think for some reason, the past two weeks was the most that people opened up to me. Although it may not seem like some of the responses were as deep as previous videos, many of the participants continued to talk about themselves after the camera stopped recording. Many people told me stories about their life that you wouldn’t expect a stranger to open up to another stranger about. I think this really just exemplifies the fact that sometimes, people just need someone to talk to. It’s not everyday that adults vent about what they are thinking about, and maybe what people need sometimes is just another body to talk to.

Check back in two weeks!

Big Impact – Small Way

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “Can you describe to me a way in which someone has impacted your life in a big way by doing something small.”

As you’ve probably noticed, once again, I went one day without getting a response. This time I even asked a total of TEN people and I still couldn’t get it. After ten people I just threw in the hat and called it a day.

Additionally, I think that this question is very unique compared to my past questions, in that this one is a little more uplifting. Even though this one has a different sentiment to it, this video/question I think may have the most meaning of all. It shows that even the smallest of things that may seem inconsequential can actually have a huge impact. On a side note: this question was submitted upon recommendation, so to anyone else out there, comment down below if you have any suggestions for future questions!

Thanks! See you in two weeks!

Biggest Impact

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “Can you describe to me a way in which someone impacted your life the most?”

I think that there were a lot of interesting aspects to this question that I asked. However, there was one story that really stood out to me. If you look at the video clip from April 29, 2014 you’ll notice that the woman’s voice was low and required captions. I think the story that goes along with this clip is worth telling.

I started out my usual way with this project by approaching this random woman in the library and saying, “Excuse me ma’am. I recently started a project in which I ask a random stranger a question each day. Do you mind if I ask you something?” *awkward silence* She hesitantly agreed and said, “What’s the question?”. I told her the question: “Can you describe to me a way in which someone has impacted your life the most?” She looked at me and half-chuckled and admitted that this is a tough question. She said to give her a second to think. She half-grinned. Probably a minute passed of just silence before she looked up at me and said, “I’m ready.” I asked if she minded if I just audio recorded her response. She suddenly backed away and said that she wasn’t interested in doing this anymore. I ensured her that it would only be an audio recording and the only video would be of the book shelf in front of us. Reluctantly she agreed to do the recording. She leaned in very close to the camera and was completely silent. I originally didn’t look at her because I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable (usually I don’t look at the stranger while they talk because I think it makes them more nervous). Anyway, after about ten seconds of just silence, I glanced over to tell her that she can start to speak, but when I looked over at her, she had tears rolling down her face. I immediately stopped the recording and told her that she didn’t need to do this. I insisted that if this is too much, I totally understand. She wiped her tears and said, “I have to do this.” I told her that when she is ready we can try again. She went on to speak about her daughter.

I think that this is a prime example of the importance of such a project. People each have their own stories and it may not always be one that’s completely explicable. This project has certainly opened my eyes about the strangers I pass each day. And I certainly hope it’s opened your minds as well. Check back in two weeks for another video!

Most Challenging Moment

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “Can you describe to me the most challenging moment of your life?”

With this question for the past two weeks, I discovered a new aspect about this project. Through this question, I realized that people actually feel comfortable talking to a random stranger about personal topics. Going into the project I thought that people would be much more reserved and be much more hesitant to tell a random stranger about his/her life. With this question, the participants certainly proved me wrong.

Each person lives a different life filled with his/her own individual defining experiences, and I think this question in specific really demonstrates to me the essence of the #14Strangers project. Check back in another two weeks for 14 more strangers.

One Change in Life

For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “If you could change one past event in your life, what would it be?”

For some strange reason, these past two weeks were even more difficult than the previous times. Usually people are extremely willing to participate in my project, however this time around, it took three or four people to actually get one person to agree to join in the project. Maybe it was just beginners luck for my first video. But hey, once again, I’m really pleased with the responses I got.

I thought it was particularly interesting with this set of answers that there was only 1 person out of probably the 25 people I asked that said, “I regret nothing in my life so I don’t think I’m the one to take part in this project.” I thought that more people wouldn’t have any regrets in life, but it turns out, people really have things that they would’ve done differently. This time around, I also started to pass out sheets of paper to the participants with the URL of this project. So if I asked you a question and you are watching yourself on video right now, I salute you and apologize for having an awkward conversation with you.

Check back on April 23rd for a new round of responses to a new question. If you have a suggestion for a future question leave a comment! I’ll be going to Florida for spring break so all you Floridians out there, you better watch out, because 14 Strangers is coming to you.

One Piece of Advice

So here’s my first segment of 14 Strangers! For two weeks I asked one person every day the same question: “If you could give me one piece of advice to last me for the rest of my life, what would it be?”.

This was definitely a new experience for me. In the past, I have never had trouble with public speaking or with talking to new people or anything like that. I guess I’m a pretty outspoken person. But with this, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I realized how nerve racking it would be to just approach a totally random person and ask them a deeply metaphorical question. At the end of the day, when I’d add the daily video onto my iMovie draft, I was really glad that I had approached the specific person because it was extremely interesting to hear what each person had to say about life.

Right from the first day, I knew that this was going to be a great project. I had originally thought that there would be a few people who would repeat their “best advice”, but to my surprise, each piece of advice was different from the next. It just goes to show that every person has their own story. Check back on April 9th for the next video! Feel free to leave a comment if you have a good suggestion for a future question

The Beginning

Think about how many times per day that you pass by a stranger and simply pretend like you didn’t see them. You keep on with your daily routine without acknowledging their presence.  Each person that you pass has their own specific story and unique experiences that they have lived through. Each person has seen different scenarios and lived through different lives. Each person has something that you can learn from. Each person has their own special wisdom. Ignoring strangers isn’t necessarily bad, but think about how much you could learn by simply asking one question to the stranger you passed by at the supermarket.

The world is a bustling place but it doesn’t mean that it has to be an unwelcoming one too.

That’s why I started 14 Strangers. My plan is to think of a thought provoking question and ask that same question to 14 strangers; one stranger each day for 14 days. Each person will have 30 seconds to think of a response to the question and after 30 seconds of thinking, the film starts rolling and their response will be recorded. At the end of the 14 days I’ll think of a new question and repeat the process. 14 new strangers. 14 new days.

By the end of a year of this project I’ll have met 365 new people and gained 365 new perspectives. Every two weeks I’ll post a video of the responses I received and give you some insight about the process and the people I’ve met.

So here we go I guess. Awkward conversation: initiate.