Gold is all around us.
Michael Carty and I were musing about how much we enjoyed discovering Sumatra Mandheling, truly one of the finest coffees in the world.
“Its a bit of, where have you been all my life?” he remarked.
Michael makes lots of noteworthy remarks.
While enjoying my own cup on this side of the water I reflected on the nature of relationships. Hey, I'm an HR guy – relationship is important to me.
Several recent “aha” moments – like the enjoyment of a good brew that's waited to be discovered – have reminded me gold is all around us.
Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Truly, that includes the people we spend time with. In just the past few weeks I've found a colleague of mine speaks French, another has an engineering background and two of my neighbors are writers.
These conditions pre-existed, I just hadn't realized them.
Similar things happen on line. We take a LinkedIn profile or a few Tweets to establish a sense of persona and we're off to the races. We “know” someone.
But do we really? Do we ever know the people we work with? Our friends?
We tend to sort the people and experiences in our lives into categories or buckets. Its a heuristic we use to make interaction easier. Politics mean this; Mary does that, etc. Social scientists call this cognitive bias, a way for us to label or slot things according to whatever frame of reference exists in our own minds.
Its not ill-intended, just a way of organizing our mental hard drive.
Yet ask yourself if there might be more there. More depth, quality and meaning in life and relationships simply waiting to be discovered.
To be open is to enrich awareness. Try a few simple ideas to stay open to the world:
- Adapt – While some routines [morning coffee] are healthy too much staidness leads us to close our minds to the world around us. Go to work a different way, say hi to those you normally don't and look at old things in a new way. Try one thing different every day. Shake it up
- Reuse – Artists have repainted canvases for years. Cost compels the artist to reuse and thus rethink canvas. Follow the artist's model: rethink your assumptions and beliefs about people and life periodically. You made them, you can change them. Or not
- Immerse – And now for something completelty different. Take a class in Origami, French cooking, neural networking or the history of wooden sailing ships. Or any of a thousand things. For no reason at all expose yourself to something you wouldn't otherwise and watch your senses alight
- Reflect – We complain that life moves too fast but the truth is we don't move slow enough. Make time every day – ten minutes minimum – to simply reflect in silence. Give this gift to yourself and do this completely alone. This daily investment in reflection will enrich your life experience
We are surrounded by gold in the people and experiences available to us but the unexamined life obstructs our view. Simple changes in our approach enable us to better appreciate and affirm these riches.
Truly, so much is waiting to be discovered.