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An Unconventional Answer To A Common Question

Written by: Ben "Doc" Askins, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Ben "Doc" Askins

“So, what do you do?” We’ve all been asked the question. On a plane. At a party. At a party on a plane. How do you usually answer?

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I typically get one of two responses when I ask. Either someone gives me the most brief, boring version of their life:

“I do ABC for XYZ and watch my favorite thing on the nearest screen the rest of the time…” Or they give me the most long, boring version of their life:

“I was going to tell you all about me, but I was already explaining everything that I do, so I’ll just keep going on and on about myself until I realize the plane has already landed and the party has already ended, but I’m still talking your doggone ear off about how cool I am and, hey, I like you, you’re a good listener, do you wanna split an Uber…” Either way, it’s always boring. So, when I get asked the question first, I like to put some ridiculous spin on what I do like I’m some kinda superhero. Then I drop the mic and wait to see if they pick it up. I use psychedelic medicines to do ten years of therapy with people in a day.

I published a book that’s a psychedelic integration guide and my life story in about 150 pages. With pictures! It usually makes for an immediately anti-boring response. Most people are surprised and start to ask a ton of questions. Which is fun. Once in a while, someone can’t get away from me fast enough. Which is even funnier. I see that look in their eyes: “I knew I shouldn’t have gone to a party on a plane… What was I thinking?!” I’m no hero, though. I’m nobody. I’m not lying either. It’s just a fun game to play. The reason I answer the question in this unconventional way is simple. I project out this ridiculous, over-blown spin on what I do to grab their attention. Once I’ve got it, I quickly reflect the question back and take a genuine interest in the other person’s answers. It changes the script completely. The people who might usually be more closed-off tend to open up. And the ones who might be a bit long-winded tend to refrain from overdoing it. Well, sometimes, at least…

Either way, it’s rarely boring.

I usually wind up doing a lot of listening and leading the discussion by asking my conversation partner lots of questions and I enjoy that. When people are being authentic and sincere they are so darn interesting, it doesn’t even matter what they do. They speak from their heart instead of their fear or their pride. Most people will at least try to be genuine if you give them the space and the opportunity.

Sometimes it turns into a free therapy hour. Occasionally, I even wind up talking someone into wanting to live again. On a plane. At a party. At a party on a plane. It happens more often than you might think. But I’m getting used to it. We all need a little free therapy once in a while. Just not all the time, please. I’ve got kids to feed.

You should give it a try in your own way. I bet it will be anti-boring. See what happens if you give an unconventional answer when someone asks you, “So, what do you do?" the next time you’re at a party on this plane…

If you found this article interesting, you might enjoy some of my other psychedelic science war stories here. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Threads to join the conversation about the psychedelic science research renaissance. Also visit my website for more info!

Ben "Doc" Askins  Brainz Magazine

Ben "Doc" Askins, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ben "Doc" Askins has degrees in Outdoor Education, Intercultural Studies, Physician Assistant Studies, and Divinity. He has two decades of experience practicing and teaching wilderness, tactical, and expeditionary medicine in the military. In civilian life, he is a Psychiatric Physician Assistant with an integrative approach to mental health and extensive experience providing psychedelic-assisted therapy and precision medicine. He is certified with the Multidisciplinary Association on Psychedelic Studies in MDMA-assisted therapy. Doc is a National Outdoor Leadership school alum, a veteran of the Global War on Terrorism, and has postgraduate training in Neuropsychiatry and Genomics.



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