#182 100 Coffees with Strangers – Alex Waters

When was the last time that you actively went out to meet a stranger? To expand your perspective, to truly listen to and engage with other people?

That’s exactly what I talked about this week with my guest, Alex Waters, who set himself the challenge of having 100 coffees with 100 strangers throughout the year in 2020.

Alex shares his journey throughout the challenge and talks about how it brought a new sense of humility to him, how he learned to receive feedback, how he really zoned in on his own listening and the importance of human connection, as well as just undertaking a challenge for no other reason that you feel called to.

Alex gets raw and candid about his journey, which makes it a fantastic, fun and engaging conversation.

Hopefully, it might just inspire you to go out and meet strangers and expand your own network and perspective.

Read Full Transcript

Bryn Edwards 

When was the last time that you actively went out to meet a stranger? To expand your perspective, to truly listen to and engage with other people.

 

That’s exactly what I talked about this week with my guest, Alex Waters, who set himself the challenge of having 100 coffees with 100 strangers throughout the year in 2020. Alex talks and shares about his journey throughout the challenge.

 

He talks about how it brought a new sense of humility to him, how he learned to receive feedback, how he really zoned in on his own listening, and talked about the importance of human connection, as well as just undertaking a challenge for no other reason that you feel called to.

 

Alex gates really roaring candidness, which makes it a fantastic conversation. But it’s also fun and engaging too. And hopefully, hopefully, it might just inspire you to go out and meet strangers and expand your own perspective. So enjoy, Alex.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Hello, and welcome back to WA Real. I’m your host, Bryn Edwards Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming Alex waters. Alex, welcome to the show.

 

Alex Waters 

Good morning.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So we’re gonna talk to each other about meeting people. Yeah. And your little project, which was 100 coffees. So tell me about at a high level for those who don’t know, because I was one of the 100 coffees. Yeah, come to that later. What was 100 coffees?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. 100 coffees was a challenge. I set myself at the the back end of 2019 to meet 100 strangers or to have 100 coffees with 100 strangers. Yes. And the reason why I challenged myself to do that was that, you know, I were both in Perth, and I’d been really living out of Perth. I grew up here, but I’d been out of Perth since I was 21. Yeah, and I’m now 30. So, you know, majority of my 20s away away from Perth, came back here was living here, realised that it didn’t really know anyone. Yes, isn’t interest based elsewhere. So it wasn’t even really doing business here. And the idea or the thought of sort of going to networking events where we were throwing business cards at each other as quickly as they can. And yeah, you never really talked to them and people just pitching their business at you. Yeah. didn’t interest me. I was at a stage where I wanted to meet and connect with people.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. Yeah. And that’s kind of important, isn’t it? that connect part? Yeah. Because you go to a networking event, and come home with 20 business cards and have 20 conversations Exactly. But they then go to lead anything in terms of a real human connection.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. And that was my objective. It was human connection, or friendship or wherever it wasn’t, I want to grow. I want to do this so I can grow my network and then build my business. So that I can do this and you know, grow personal brand. Oh, it was nothing like that was just Yes. I just wanted to meet more people. And yeah, and and connect with them.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And that’s what I really liked about it when so it was Beth and when Yahoo connected us to come and have coffee together. Yeah. So we were, we were general exchanges before we met. But when she first told me about it, that’s one of the things that I was really drawn to. Because I guess, for me, a lot of people think that this podcast is like the front end of a business. Yeah. And, and a lot of people are surprised to realise it’s not Yeah. And when I did the recent podcast with Nick Hayes, a media stable and I said to him, I don’t make any money out of doing this. I think I’ve had a crystal a loaf of bread or parasol invited to a few, but I have a network of people. I have a whole lot of new friends. And my perspective is just gone. My expansion, so yeah, was that similar for you? At the start?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. I mean, you know, to give people a bit of a backstory of me, I had been backing Perth for about 18 months, two years when I set the challenge, but, you know, one of those years, when I when I say back, I’ve maintained a residence here, but travelling the world and then the next year, I sort of had a baby and you know, was in a relationship and that relationship broke down. And, you know, I kind of found myself in this place of what the fuck do I do now? Yes, like ever? I thought I had everything I ever wanted. Yes, I don’t have that anymore. Yeah, I’m actually really lost. Like, I don’t really know what the fuck I’m doing. Yeah. And I kind of had the luxury of, of not really having to work you know, at that time, and so that’s that Well, yeah, you know, I was just like, Wow. You know, I’d love to have more friends. Yeah, yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And I think it’s up to those moments. Because I didn’t quite tweak that with you. But yeah, I myself having a, you know, a 12 year relationship breakdown here in Perth, all my friends were made through my daughter’s mother who, network, etc, etc. And all of a sudden I realised I have any friends. Yeah. And for me it was signing who my next of kin was on the document and put my dog down with a UK phone number. And they went No, no in Australia, and I snuck it here. So that’s when you think I’ve got to actually do something.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, pretty much. So where did the actual I don’t know if genesis

 

 

of the idea. Yeah,

 

Alex Waters 

well, I don’t know if mine was that drastic. But I do recall having to do something like that. And mine was like, you know, someone in a different state or, or friend, like one of my best friends who I’ve grown up with, but the idea came from, funnily enough through my, my ex. And so it’s not an original idea and not and after I started, I actually, you know, googled it. And there’s this guy who has sort of done a TED talk on his own journey with that as well. Over in Victoria, but I had just, when we were together, we met someone who came around to her house and, and she knew her because she’d had a coffee with her boyfriend. And he had been doing 100 coffees right, years ago. Right. And so the idea had kind of been sitting there for me for a couple of years. Yeah. And it just popped back into my head at this point. And I was like, I’ll just, I’ll just challenge myself to have 100 coffees with 100 strangers.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. And it’s one of those things that just like, yeah, it just got me. Exactly,

 

Alex Waters 

yeah, it just dropped in. And I made a social media post about it that day. And on I was on Tick Tock at the time. So I did a tick tock and I did which is funny youngster. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I don’t have it on anymore. But um, and I posted on LinkedIn and Instagram and asked, you know, for friends to recommend anyone who I might not know. Yeah. And, and it just spread from the air a couple of days out on LinkedIn. And then I posted each coffee that I had, and you know, more people would comment and I’d reach out to them.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, it sounds good life of its own. Exactly. So what was it like with the first couple of coffees? nerve wracking? Starting?

 

 

Yeah, I was.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, I was nervous and excited about it. You know, I actually the first coffee was a guy named miles. And he coincidentally had just reached out to me on LinkedIn randomly that day, before I posted anything, because he’d wanted to connect with some entrepreneurs in Perth. And he was a student at I think, uni. Yeah. And I was like, great. I have to set this challenge myself. You’re gonna do my first coffee. Yeah, that works. For me. It works for you. You know, can we catch up this weekend? At yellow caffeine trick? I was I think I was really surprised at how seamless it was. Yes. Like just two strangers just catching up. And by the end of it, it felt like, you know, we gotten to know each other somewhat. And that there was actually a real, you know, real connection there as well. Yes. So. Yeah. And I think I think within my first 20 there was one or two that were probably one that was more like, someone wanted to have a coffee and they kind of pitched me right on their business. But I learned how to kind of spot those. Yes, but yeah, I’d set myself a few rules. That had to be a stranger. Yes. So yeah, it had to be a stranger. I couldn’t say no, if someone reached out and asked me for a coffee, I had to put aside my bias to, you know, connect with anyone. So it wasn’t, you know, this kind of like, oh, let’s see how many important people I can be with. It was like, you know, just anyone sort of comes come pops up in my sphere. Yeah. And I always attempted to start by listening because people would always ask me about me, but I would, I would, you know, the whole I didn’t want to sit there and talk about myself. No 100 hours or 100 copies 100 times. devolutionary Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yes. So that those are kind of our rules. And, and yeah, just flow down from there.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So, I guess, what are the things? So I’m quite drawn to what’s called meta analysis where so whenever I have someone who’s who’s met a lot of people or a lot of people or worked with a lot of people or done a lot of things, I like to ask what they see across just individually. So I guess let’s start outside. What did you learn about other people in generally, in general from during this?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, I think that, you know, I was reflecting on this. And, you know, in some ways, as much as I met 100 different people, I kind of met the same sort of people in a in a loose way. Yes. Because people who say yes to something, generally have similar characteristics in the way that they might be approaching life. And I think that that was what a lot of it was that they either said yes, to me randomly messaging them on LinkedIn, because there were a connection of a connection or Yeah, or they reached out to me after I put up a post saying, Hey, would you know if anyone else wants to have a coffee? Or someone recommended them? Like, yeah, now case. So I noticed that those people generally tend to have a positive outlook on life. And tended to have a level of humility about them, which was I’m going to go and meet a complete stranger and just connect. Yes. And yeah, I think, just generally, you know, more open to opportunities or the possibility of, of the unknown. Yes,

 

 

yes. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

It’s interesting. Yeah. Did you find that? Okay, I like you’re almost caveat that most people will say yes. Did you find it almost really, somewhat reassuring in human spirit that we’re a lot more similar than we think?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, I think there’s a lot. Yeah, it was one of those things of like, Oh, we do so much, unconsciously to separate ourselves. And, but actually, we are, we’re all the same at the root of it all. And, you know, I had these moments with with some coffees actually was one in particular that stands out. And she was an older lady like me, maybe, you know, older is the wrong word. I still, in my, in my mind, I’m still like, 21.

 

 

Yeah,

 

Alex Waters 

I forget that. I’m 30. And sometimes I look around at other 30 year olds who are way older than me, but I forget how I look. Anyway, um, she’s probably maybe 60. Yeah, you know, and she reached out to me, after I, you know, posted about it on LinkedIn, was maybe around, you know, the Midway mark. And I remember going to it and thinking, what are we going to have in common? Like, yes, you know, has this really gonna go? Is this gonna be a hard coffee to get through or something like that, and it ended up being one of the best ones I’ve had. You know, I just think like, the ability to relate to someone else doesn’t mean you have to have had the same experience as them or anything like that. And the differences in our life experiences and perspectives actually made it so much more interesting. But we did see a lot of the things the same way and shared a lot of, you know, the same values. And she was just incredibly light hearted and funny. And I just sat there laughing the whole time. Like, yeah, it was a really great conversation. Mm hmm. And that, that helped me through a lot. Like I think I already had been working on this unconsciously. But at that point, I was like, Oh, you have so many biases controlling your, your decisions. Yeah. And most of the time, they’re bullshit.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. So that takes me to my next question. What did you learn about yourself during this what how did you how did you change and morph during it? Yeah, cause Just know, I just know, from all the conversations I’ve had during this, that I’m always different at the end of a conversation, let alone 10 Yeah. 100 So,

 

Alex Waters 

yeah, look, I know you’ve, you’ve recorded some interviews with, you know about narcissism and yeah, I actually think I had a number of like narcissistic traits, probably more, I probably still do, but, like, more prominent back then then, than I do now. Like, my pattern in life has been too alien alienate myself from people, right? Because as a as a child, I didn’t feel loved or accepted. And so it’s to alienate myself from people so that I don’t have to deal with that question of whether they do

 

Bryn Edwards 

need to worry about man except

 

Alex Waters 

and, and it’s not necessarily conscious, like as an adult, I’m not like off Fuck, I’m just gonna push everyone away. Yeah, you know, I don’t have to deal with this. But it’s just an unconscious thing that plays out. And by the time, you know, like OFAC, you know, but that’s, that’s how I feel like at 20 minutes again, exactly, like at 28. You know, 29, I think, which is when I started this. You know, I really didn’t have a great circle of friends around me. I had some Interstate and that seemed but not not hate. Yeah, it’s like, you know, you think kind of after that time, you would have collected at least some, yes, some friendships along the way. And so. So for me, I was really challenging myself to go outside my comfort zone. Yeah. And I think that would be surprising for people who have known me for a longer period of time. I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve owned several businesses, I used to auction, you know, property in front of people as a real estate agent. I’ve done huge charity auctions in front of big audiences. So yeah, I’ve never been afraid to put myself out there in that way. But when it comes to connecting, and being open, and you’re It feels like vulnerable, so it’s easy to play the role and do the thing. Exactly. And be Alex? Yeah. Especially because the purpose of playing the role and do the thing was so that I can be more accepted? Yeah. I know how minds work, but isn’t it? Um, yeah. So that was, it was really me putting myself outside my comfort zone. And I think I had really developed a level of humility throughout the process. Because I had to override so many of my defaults, which would be to talk about me because it’s more comfortable or talk to talk about a projected version of me.

 

 

Yes.

 

Alex Waters 

Then actually sit down and allow someone to ask questions about me and it hurts honestly. Yeah, and like I said, about my biases. I really think I had this hierarchy of how I viewed people and where they sat on my level of importance.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Is that your judgement higher? Yeah, it’s a judgement.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, yeah. I was. I was incredibly. I was judgmental, but not in a overt. Like, yeah. Are you wearing a blue shirt? You mean, look at Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Do it nice doing this than that?

 

Alex Waters 

You know, like, in that way, but yeah. judgmental, as in, oh, who deserves my time? Right, you know, heading into it. And, and obviously, that was one of the reasons I set the rule up, which was, you know, I can’t say no to anyone, if they asked me to have a coffee with them. And whoever presents himself I’ll have coffee with. Yes. So it completely obliterated all of that. Because, as I said, you know, one of the, the single coffee I was judging the most was probably one of my best. And to go through something like that, it’s humbling. Yeah, you know, it’s humbling for your, for yourself. It takes what it takes edges off you. It does, yeah. And it kind of, you know, for me, it was kind of like, Fuck, I have Fuck, why have I been doing this to myself all my life, you know? Yeah. And I, you know, to fast forward a bit, obviously, I throw a party at the end. And yeah, that was great. And I didn’t get emotional speaking, because I was like, I didn’t expect for this to be how it’s turned out. Yeah. And it’s helped me change so much about myself. And generally, I’m a more happy person because of it.

 

 

Yeah. You’re all settled within yourself. Yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. More settled, more grounded. You know, it’s been a lot of other things go on that have contributed to that. But this is kind of in this, this journey that’s sort of taken me there and then started me there.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So I think certainly just came up. So I’ve been thinking about for hours, and it really came up strongly when I was listening to you there is, you know, we, we grow up. And we might have brothers and sisters and stuff like that. And then we go to school. And we were sort of constantly in this close environment and school can be pretty brutal, you know, when you’re out on the playground, if I think your deck, I’ll tell you, yeah, or pencil or something like that depends on what school you go to, that you get a lot of feedback. And it’s, and it’s direct, and it’s real. And it’s people’s visceral response and stuff, I get a lot of that feedback. And then as we go out into the adult world, particularly now in a very politically correct world, we get less and less and less of that. So that then in a strange kind of way, this is how I view visualise it that in a strange kind of way, that means that we end up going on this very isolated lonely path, where even those closest to you won’t tell you things because they don’t upset you. Or they don’t want to be in a in an awkward situation, or they don’t want to say it because, you know, let’s just arbitrarily say, you’re, you see someone putting on weight, you don’t want to say anything, cuz that triggers the fact that you can’t recognise that you’re putting on weight. And you don’t want to think about that. So there’s all this sort of stuff going on. Right? Which, and I almost call them not conflict, but collisions, just people doing that. And, and we have we grow up in such a rich environment to that, and then it doesn’t really happen. And so as we become adults, you know, we start to develop views on the world, and how we do the world and how we make sense of the world and sense of our own sense, etc, etc. It’s not until you act to actively put yourself out there, do you? Do you continue that process of refining? and developing? Yeah, that, you know, hanging out with your comfortable mates talking about the same shit is not going to do that? Yeah, it’s great. It’s like putting on a T shirt when you really need it. And that has its place. But there’s also a place of putting yourself into the eye now look at it in terms of put yourself into the furnace of do my ideas really stack up against, you know, the onslaught of other people’s ideas, and yeah, and rubbing against it. And so as you were saying, some of your biases and good judgement, hierarchy and stuff like that. So getting that’s getting real time direct feedback. You’re sitting there judging the shit out of someone before you turn up. And then you sit, there you go, this is an awesome conversation. And and I get it all the time with the podcast, even now, I’ll be like, see what this conversation like sometimes. is usually after I’ve had a conversation with someone in the week before, and then the next week, it’s like, live up to the expectation of last week. So he sounds good

 

Alex Waters 

because of a break over Christmas.

 

Bryn Edwards 

They’re all good. Yeah. Because, as I was gonna say, once you get it into the conversation, you realise they’re all good. Yeah, they all have their place. They’re all serving you. And it’s not necessarily the way you mentally want it to. Yeah, it’s way you need it in a bigger, bigger way. that’s bigger than just how your mind can see it. Does that make sense?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we constantly go about, typically go about our life. If we’re not aware, controlling everything around us and our environment and circumstances. And you put that into a project, like 100 coffees or a podcast, you end up controlling the narrative of the interview or, you know, trying to control the way that the conversation might go by starting first and then asking all the questions, and then you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s the same as at a networking event, people controlling their projection Oh, of who they are. So what do you do? What’s your name are great. And what about this? This is great. Here’s my business card, off you go. You don’t ever actually have to deal with that feedback either by doing that. So I think, yeah, I think it’s, you’ve got to be at a crossroads where you are open to it, as well as probably open to it seeking it and and then put yourself out there as well. Right? Yeah, you can put yourself out there and you just won’t get it because people won’t tell you or it was opinions. You know.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Another question I thought to ask you is what did those closest around you notice about you as you went through this?

 

Alex Waters 

Wow, man, I mean, since I started the 100 coffees Like, I had, I had just had my life obliterated, like not only did I go through the the breakup, and you know, then dealing with not having access to. I was settling and dealing with not seeing my son full time. Yes, I did still have access to him. You know, he’s only three months at the time. I just broken my femur, my right femur. Wow. So it’s like, it was like, honestly, life just came and wanted to crush me for a little bit. Yeah. to humble me. And so it’s been a big journey, the last 18 months of my life, and a lot of that was really finding myself again and who I am. And connecting with that. And, you know, a lot of that involves has involved my work with psychedelic medicine and things like that that I’ve used, which is MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline. DMT, five Meo DMT, all different sorts. Yeah. So I think, you know, I got a message from one of my best friends, Morgan, who I grew up with his, you know, my oldest friend, I’ve known him since I was 10. I got a message from him on Christmas or around you new year, and he said, something along the lines of, you know, this year has been a huge year of growth for you. You know, you are always enough, you are always loved and accepted as you are, but for you to consciously realise that yes. And be living from that place is a whole different. Yeah. You know, congratulations on a great year or something. So, yeah, for sure. You know, that that sort of thing actually means the most to me. Yeah. You know, talking about Christmas and giving it’s, it’s that those sort of heartfelt interactions, that that really the biggest gift for me. So yeah, that’s, that’s what people around me closest to said, said to me, you know, but there isn’t actually a lot of people like him in my life that I’ve known for a long period of time as I’ve got a lot of friends that I’ve known for kind of a couple of years now. Yes, but that’s because at the start of the 100 coffees, I was making a conscious decision to almost like blank slate, it was, you know, a lot of my friends. Now, my closest friends, I’ve only known since July of last year now, July 2019. And I started the 100 coffees in October. So it was kind of a real big shift for me in my lung. At that point,

 

Bryn Edwards 

yeah. Another interesting thing that brought up is that we can often we can often go on this journey of when we do have the call to find more about ourselves. And this is often a big part, which is I’ve got to go within to find out who I am. And, you know, psychedelics are great instrument for that, because they’ll take you to a place and, and, you know, there’s the walking on the beach by itself, and the journaling and all of those great stuff. But again, you end up being an island of one.

 

 

Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

I think the great thing about what you’ve done is you’ve done that work, but also this work of, but I am also the person that sits in amongst the sea of many, many, I’m going to go out and swim in that, and then see what that has to do.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. Yeah, I think so. makes it more balanced. Well, I think you have to have a combination of both because, especially for someone whose pattern has been to alienate themselves. And, and reinforce, in your, in my own mind that what I’m doing is, is good and okay. But yeah, I think it comes down to, for me, it comes down to what do I want in my life? And that, that is the first question I start with. And for me, it was I want to have more friends, I want to I want to have a loving relationship where it’s not toxic, and I’m not toxic in it. You know, I want to, I want to experience all of these things. I want to be a great friend to other people. Yeah. And so that that caused me to have to get feedback from other people. Yeah. Because other people are the only measure of that. And then there’s still a game of we, you’ve got to choose who you’re getting feedback from and understand their perception and the place that you’re getting it from, and, and sort of mesh it in with your own understanding of yourself and whether you fully taken on Because if you did one or the other completely, which is, you know, you’re just living by other people’s feedback and opinions. Yes, you become someone who is not you.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. So, but there are those days when certain feedback turns out we don’t if you find that certain feedback turns up, and it’s almost like someone’s taken the cleanest, sharpest knife and just go straight in here, and you’re like, Oh, yeah, come on board. And I’ve got to just sit with that for a while.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah. Yeah, I had that yesterday. Yeah. Yeah. You know, when someone delivers words that resonates so deeply with your mind and your soul, you can’t? You can’t ignore it. Yeah. And that’s, that’s hard. Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

it’s actually quite a skill to take on board feedback. It’s so easy to be defensive, and, and, you know, deny or nullify or debase other people’s, you know, always he knows a date, you know, the colour of his shoes. You know, you know, discredit somebody See, don’t have to listen to what they say. There’s always a grain of truth in there somewhere. Even if you really discredit the person.

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, I think the key is, you know, if you’re open to feedback, and you want it is to set set up the environment in such a way that people feel comfortable giving it as well, because as you said, most people won’t give it because they are worried about what your response is going to be. And this thing that I learned in a, not that I’ve used this recently, but the thing I learned in like a personal development workshop I did was, we had to go away and do these feedback interviews with that, say, three closest friends or family. And we had to set the interview up by saying, I’m going to ask you a couple of questions. I’d really love for you to answer honestly. And truthfully, and all I will do and can do is to say thank you. So there is no response back. Yeah. And then the question is, or something like, you know, what is? What is one? How am I ineffective in our relationship? How am I effective in our relationship? You know, what is one thing that is holding me back from my own greatness sort of questions like that? Yeah, yeah. So you get really honest answers from people. Yeah. As to how they say it.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Super. Well, there any other sort of unexpected benefits from doing this? Where you look back now and go, that really surprised me?

 

 

Um,

 

Alex Waters 

well, I started my own podcast in 2020. As a consequence of having so many interesting conversations, yes. And that has even made it really easy to get podcast guests to start with, yes. Because I was basing it off these fascinating stories that I’d heard from people that I’d had coffee with. Yes. So that’s one benefit. Another is, you know, I actually made actually made about 150 grand on a deal I did with someone I had coffee with. So that was a developer, property developer. I actually known of this person from years ago, when I was doing real estate in karratha. Yeah. And like we’d emailed you know, back then. A couple of times. Yeah. And so I actually reached out to him to have coffee with and we did and this opportunity just come up at the time. And I, I just talked to him about it, and brought them in on it. They helped me execute it, and then managed to make some money off of it. So yeah.

 

 

Both of them.

 

Alex Waters 

Well, how exactly yeah, that and all the coffees. But yeah. So that was an unexpected benefit, for sure. And I think being getting the opportunity to do things like this, yeah, I really value these types of conversations and being able to share my experiences. This is really fun for me. So yeah, this wouldn’t have come, you know, had it not been from that for the 100 coffees. And I think I’ve been on maybe two or three podcasts now as a consequence of that. Yeah. Beyond the tangible the other intangible stuff has been like, I have so many more friends now. Yes. You know, I was at a news day event and say two guys, I had coffee with who, like, we’re now really good friends. Yeah, I’m invited to their birthday party and, you know, that’s awesome. Like it’s Yeah, it is enriched my life in it. intangible way that I could not have thought that that was going to be how it was before you know, and I I never really understood the thing of like Perth small and I never understood it before because I never It was never connected enough. Yes. And I really understand it now. Yeah. Because you know, most people I know know someone else on Yeah. And vice versa. Yeah. And through the 100 coffees journey I was also able to connect people I’d had coffee with who Yes, two people have done doing business together. Which is looking really slowly when you can do that, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s it’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, so so many things. Yeah, it really underpinned I think the theme of 2020 for me. Yeah. And how how that year went? Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. strikes me that at a time when people are getting more and more isolated. For into the other extreme of Yeah, more and more people. Yeah. I sorry, easy to get stuck in your own echo chamber?

 

 

Yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

I often wonder, you know what? Like, we’re saying that what is? What am I going to look back on in in a year’s time? And and at now, and maybe listen to this, and he has time ago? I did not know what I was talking about, then. Oh, yeah. You know, like, what, what is that right now? For me? Yeah. I often wondered that, because you can’t see it until you see it.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Did Yeah. And there’s there’s two parts to that. I find. One is, what is it that’s about to emerge from me, which will mean that the hind side? Well, what is it that’s about to emerge for me, that will make me look at this and go in six to 12 months time. But also, there’s the retrospective part of, you know, if we went back 10 years, like you can, I can think of something that was so important to me that I now look for. And if I went back eight years, I could get something in six years, and four years and two years. So, so we know that things that are important to us, or ways of thinking about the world, or sensemaking perspective, were probably really important at that point. But we know that they were wrong. But if you took an audit, right at this moment of everything you know about the world, you wouldn’t be able to pick out which is the which is the next one to be proved to be wrong. You know, I mean, so to me, there’s almost like two bits, there’s, there’s gonna be stuff that’s going to come in, and there’s stuff that’s going to go out, I don’t know what’s gonna go out. But what I do now is right now, all of them are important. And all of them are right. Yeah.

 

 

So

 

Bryn Edwards 

you said you started a podcast was the focus of that. Now? Is that a continuation? Or is that a bit more of a focus on things?

 

Alex Waters 

Yeah, when I started, I was, you know, maybe gonna call it 100 coffees maybe gonna call it something else? Yeah. And I just signed it on the Alex waters show.

 

 

It’s gonna spring.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

So, you know, I think the intention originally was to just have interesting conversations with interesting people. And as a process of sort of going through that I got comfortable with starting to talk more and more about things that maybe I’d felt were a bit taboo before which a big one is in psychedelics? Yeah. It’s, it’s probably one of my biggest passions. Yeah. And so the direction of it now is heading more towards that, and, you know, its place in sort of human evolution and expanding our human experience. And I think the rest of it is, is more focused on conversations that share interesting aspects of the human experience and unlocking human potential. Yes, so for me right now, I’m getting really obsessed about my health and how I can stay young and live longer. That kind of theme and yeah, get the most out of my brain and my energy. And so I’m sure I’ll be sharing stuff on that as well. Super. And and getting experts in because I’m not an expert.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, well, that’s the beauty of Yeah, podcast. Yeah. You stick a straw in someone else’s soup and suck it

 

Alex Waters 

out. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Do you think that on one level, a majority of us should do more of getting out and meeting strangers? If you tell Yeah,

 

Alex Waters 

yeah, absolutely. I’ve said that a couple of times to people who like, Oh, I want to do 100 coffees, but I can’t because it’s your thing. And I’m like, it actually wasn’t my thing. I start like, I took it from someone else. Yeah. I think everyone should do something like that. Yeah. And even if it’s 20 Yeah, exactly. 20 because that would be, you know, one every fortnight for a year or something like that. Yeah, so 100 was on average two a week. Yeah. Yeah. Which isn’t? You know, it’s not substantial. I think anything that I think most people don’t do enough, including myself of committing to things, which consistently put them outside their comfort zone? Yes. And the paradox with that, I think, is because we first need to think outside of our comfort zone in order to get outside of it.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. So you got to go and find the

 

Alex Waters 

edges. That’s right. So it’s, you know, almost got to put your thinking into the unknown a little bit to kind of come up with these things. But even just starting with anything, really. So for me this year, it’s more around. Challenging my mind and body. You know, I’d like to run a marathon. I’ve never done anything like that. But yeah. And, yeah, but yeah, I think the knock on let me let me start that sentence again. When I was doing this, a lot of people would ask me why. And were surprised at my wire, which was I just want to meet more people and connect with them. It’s like, oh, but it’s, it’s so you can you know, do something after that, isn’t it? Or are you going to do something with this later?

 

Bryn Edwards 

They want a big emotional Dziedzic focused exam. Yeah, they want you to go. I’m going to do a because I don’t get to be exactly if I’m what b is. Yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

And so that, you know, one of the biggest things I took out of the challenge was, I had been my entire life focusing on an outcome more getting a result. And the greatest result came when I let go of that, because there was so much intangible that happened. I was open to that. And, you know, I think if we can do more things, just because, yeah, that’s the end of the centre. Yeah. And, and just because it’s important to us, like, you know, connecting with people is important is and was important to me. Yeah, I think that is, that is the beautiful experience that he can’t tangibly. Yeah. quantify or put words to?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, I totally get that. Yeah. And, and that’s probably similar to what people ask me. How much money do you make from doing the podcast? Yeah. Yeah. But I am a very wealthy man because of it.

 

Alex Waters 

Yes. Yes, exactly.

 

 

Yeah.

 

 

Hmm.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Are there any other things about the experience?

 

Alex Waters 

I just had fun. I just had so much fun doing it. And, you know, it was probably the first time in my life that I’d committed to something like that and executed on it. Yeah, like black that, that wasn’t making any money. In fact, it was costing me money. Yeah, spending money on coffee, I think you might have bought it. Or you may be offered to you know, it just it really brought hard home for me that that nothing means anything without people. And without connection. I can go and start a business and make money from it, or I can go and do this thing. But without the connection and the interaction with other people. It really, you know, it loses a bit of meaning. Because the things that we’re all aspiring to at the end of the day, you know, in terms of things, yeah, without other people, they are meaningless. They’re like, you know, you can have a big house, if you’re in it by yourself, what’s the fucking point? Exactly. You know, all of that kind of stuff. You can go and you can have as much money as you want. So you can do whatever you want, but if you’ve got no one to do it with, yeah, once again, share it, though. You’re gonna be somewhat lonely. And so it just it really is I think the best one of the best things about doing something like this is that it was repetition. And it is it’s helped me recondition and re wire my brain to think differently. And so, you know, now, I can start to think about things more, more easily. Around will, less about the outcome or the things that I’m trying to get, and more about the journey and the right now and, and what’s important right now

 

 

being present. Exactly, yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

taught me that I was really shitless. Now. It’s taught me so many things like that. Yeah.

 

 

It,

 

Alex Waters 

it’s, you know, it’s rare that you sit there and just listen to someone for a long period of time. And I would notice myself at times, drifting off or thinking about things, or they would say something would prompt a thought. And then I’d come back five seconds later, and I realised I just missed a part of what they said, it happened once in this conversation already. It’s human, it is human. But you know, it just I think the more we notice those things, the more we can kind of improve and just really be present. And that whole premise of needing to say something next is to fill the gap. And there’s actually nothing wrong with the gap. No.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So the last question I always ask my guest, is, if you could upload one question into the collective consciousness, so everybody just sat down for five or 10 minutes and pondered? What would it be?

 

Alex Waters 

Why am I here?

 

 

Yeah.

 

Alex Waters 

And the reason why that question is, because I think if you start to question that, but that question has different layers and levels to it. So it’s, why am I here, right now in this house doing this thing? You know, why am I here in my life? And then there’s kind of the existential part of that, which is why why am I here, and it gets people to contemplate life and death. And I think contemplating death has been a really healthy part of my my growth and journey. You know, understanding that it could end at any moment, it could end tomorrow. And that, even if I get everything that I ever desire, it’s also still then going to end. Yes. I think that question adds a lot of meaning. Or it adds a certain like sadness to life. Yeah. But that is also a reality. Yeah. And it also makes has made me far more present and patient and gets me to refocus on what’s important. Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

it’s been absolute pleasure talking to you today.

 

Alex Waters 

Thank you.

 

Bryn Edwards 

It’s been very nourishing. Because I feel like I’m speaking to somebody else who understands the importance of just talking to people for the sake of the sake of talking to people. Yeah, and then see where it goes. And as you as you pointed out, we become so outcome out. What’s the target was the goal? focused? is kind of funny, because, you know, more often than not, the goal is to be something different to which I can perceive right now. And so how can I tell you what the goal is going to be? Which is why I think a lot of coaching falls on its head at the start, but that’s another conversation. Yeah. Yeah, that has been awesome. So people want to reach out and find you.

 

Alex Waters 

bestplaces on Instagram. Yeah. Alexander waters. And

 

 

yeah, that’s it. And obviously, the Alex waters show. Yeah. All the platforms. Yes.

 

Alex Waters 

on Spotify. Apple, wherever. Yes. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Thank you very much.

 

Alex Waters 

Thank you.

 

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