I came across an old post from Tom Peters the other day on the Pursuit of Luck (originally published in 1992). One of the themes running through it is the importance in putting yourself in new situations or meeting different sorts of people.
Here’s a snippet from Tom Peter’s article to give you a flavour:
5. Read odd stuff. Look anywhere for ideas.
6. Visit odd places. Want to “see” speed? Visit CNN.
7. Make odd friends.
8. Hire odd people. Boring folks, boring ideas.
9. Cultivate odd hobbies. Raise orchids. Race yaks.
10. Work with odd partners.
Recently I had a really good example of this, although there was nothing ‘odd’ about the people involved they just came from a different background!
I was walking with a friend and his two daughters over Hungerford Bridge in London when we came across a ‘moose’. It made a good photo opportunity so I took a quick snap.
Normally it would have ended there. However on this occasion someone approached and asked if she could have a copy of the photo. The conversation went something like this:
“We’re three art students and we designed and made ‘Benny The Moose’ as a promotional piece for Kingston University. We were intending on taking photos of people’s reactions to Benny but as some have taken photos themselves we thought it would be good to have theirs as well. We’re planning on setting up a blog on Benny and his day out, including the photos”
“Yes, that would be fine. Funnily enough I run a blog too, on local environmental issues”
“Actually I’m involved with a local eco-charity in South Wales, so I’d be curious to find out more about what you do – it sounds similar”
After an exchange of emails and a visit, Lauren, Anette and Kasia are now working on their own creative project helping us communicate some of the environmental challenges faced at Fleet Pond – a really good win-win!
OK, there was an initial fortunate circumstance, but it’s interesting to think through what actually made things happen:
- Get involved, don’t just look and comment to yourselves
- Be inquisitive, ask questions and seek/assume connections (even if they initially seem unlikely)
- Follow-up quickly and take an interest in the motivations and aims of others
I’m increasingly convinced that we have more interests and connections to nearly everyone than superficially apparent – the six degrees is often a worst case! It obviously takes two to communicate but it’s impressive how a very brief conversation can develop into something worthwhile, creative and different.
You may also be interested in a previous post I wrote about luck.