I got a few good books at Christmas. My dilemma this week has been figuring out which to crack into first! A couple days ago I started into “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell, and am liking what I’m seeing.
“The trick to finding ideas [for stories] is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell. I say trick but what I really mean is challenge, because it’s a very hard thing to do. Our instinct as humans, after all, is to assume that most things are not interesting.”
Gladwell writes with intensity and passion. In chapter 1 he tells about “the Pitchman” Ron Popeil, describing his incredible ability to make people want to buy his inventions for the American kitchen.
I think, at least on my bad days, I tend to assume that things are not interesting. When I meet you, I’ll find out where you’re from, what you do, or how I know your friend’s girlfriend’s cousin’s brother, and assume I know your story. I assume that you’re not interesting, and deprive myself of really getting to know you, learning from you, investing in you.
Do you know any of those people that find everything, and everyone, interesting? My father-in-law’s like that. When he visited Denver for our wedding, their accommodations, the scenery, each meal, everything for him was not just good or normal, it was extraordinary! I marvel at adults who maintain a wonder and curiosity about the world.
Sometimes, when we’re bored with life, we talk about needing a “change of scenery.” I wonder if it’s not the scenery that needs to change, but our eyes that need to change, to assume that everything around us really is interesting.
In this new year may we see our scenery with fresh eyes. May we assume people interesting, and listen to their stories.
I’ll let you know how rest of book goes.