So I’m reading this book called “:Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives” by Tim Harford. Harford references a psychology study where executives, entrepreneurs and high-powered consultants and similar go-getters were invited to a high-power networking event.
But there was a twist. Each attendant got a tag that tracked where they were in the room, and who they talked to. And it turns out that although every attendant stated beforehand that they went in order to meet new people and make new business ties, immediately upon entering the room, they made a beeline for old friends – and stayed there the entire event. If they did speak to a stranger, it was because the stranger was a friend of a friend.
By doing so, they were keeping up their own filter bubble, confirming their own world view, and killing their own creativity. Creativity, like compassion and understanding, builds from exposure to the divergent, the different, the unknown. If we surround ourselves with nothing but what we know, we’ll end up doing what we’ve always done – and we’ll end up fearing and hating the unknown and the other.
So this is my challenge to you: next week, decide to talk to one truly new person. It doesn’t matter who it is – the clerk at the supermarket, the old geezer always sitting on the same bench in the park, the stressed latte-mom pushing her stroller, or someone completely different. The only thing that matters is that you don’t know them, and you talk to them.
Let us know how it turns out!