I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Community. Adventure. Service.

It's been a week since the World Domination Summit. I've been thinking as much about the people I met and the conversations I stumbled into while waiting in line or getting coffee as the formal presentations. Many of the people I talked to were also there for the first time, and didn't really know what to expect. Like me, they follow Chris Guillebeau's blog, read about last year's summit there, and decided that they wanted to be there this year.

I expected that the other attendees would be smart, energetic, and interesting -- and they were -- but what struck me the most was how curious everyone was. They wanted to know things. They were interested in finding out. They wanted to understand, explore, figure out.

I've always found a lack of curiosity, the many people who just aren't interested in anything beyond themselves or their immediate circles, frustrating, even though I know I sometimes (often?) veer too far in the other direction -- because I find so many things interesting I don't always have the focus I should. I need to mix a little more discipline in with my curiosity.

But so much creativity springs from basic nosiness. It's hard to get to What if we tried it this way? if you haven't started with How does that work? And maybe that basic curiosity explains why this particular group of smart people seemed to have so many remarkable achievements among them, and for that matter, how we all ended up in Portland last weekend to begin with.

One of the best presentations was by Jia Jiang on his rejection therapy project. He was having trouble dealing with the rejection he faced trying to get a new business off the ground, and he decided to cultivate rejection by making outlandish requests of strangers in order to desensitize himself to the word NO. He knocked on a door and asked if he could play soccer in the back yard. He asked Southwest Airlines if he could make the safety announcement before the flight took off. He asked a stranger to play Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. As he expected, he got to experience a lot of rejection. But a surprising number of people said yes to his requests.

It was inspiring. And I know that while I do try to do things that scare me, I rarely put myself in situations where I can be rejected. I may have been nervous about renting a car and driving out to the coast, but it wasn't as though I had to pass an audition first, or that there was much of a chance that Avis was going to say No to my request for a rental car.

I've decided that my first goal is to start asking people if I can take their picture. I've let shyness and my own dislike of being photographed keep me from doing this; I've taken pictures on the sly, or let the opportunities go. But I'd like to do some portraits, and apparently, it doesn't actually hurt to ask.

1 comment:

Elisa said...

Fascinating post! Thanks. S
ounds like you had a great trip.

Blog Archive