Sunday, March 23, 2014

CrossPollination

We sometimes get “stuck” in our work life, or even in our personal life.

I believe one cause of that stuck-ness is due to becoming insulated within one worldview or kind of thinking.  

In both our work and personal lives we tend to associate with the same folks all the time.  We go through the same motions almost every day.  We use the same software to do our work.  We walk/drive the same paths repeatedly.  In fact, it seems we have the same conversation(s), over and over and over.  It’s not that our co-workers, friends, and family are deficient in some way;  neither do they have ill motives (of course, there are some exceptions).  And, certainly, having some sound routines that produce good results is hard to argue with.  

However, what seems to happen is that we tend to approach the same problems, go through the same processes, talk with the same people, who see the same things we see, day in and day out.  We lose our sharpness, we lose our freshness, we lose our enthusiasm, and we lose our curiosity.

One thing that has helped me get un-stuck is to step out of my comfort zone.  I’ll read books written by people who don’t do work anything like mine.  I’ll watch videos of folks whose worldview is completely different from my own.  I’ll strike up conversations in airports or hotels with folks who look, smell, talk differently than I do, just to see what I can learn from them.  Even when I go to conferences that are within my own professional genre I usually seek out a table with folks I don’t already know.  

Meeting and engaging with these unfamiliar things/others almost always forces me 
1) to be extra attentive, 
2) to ask good questions, and 
3) to listen carefully.  

That’s a very useful triad for me, IF my intention is to learn something I didn’t know.


Which it is…

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