Open door. Get in line. Order coffee. Find a dark, quiet corner to work in. Make no eye contact with anyone. Stay completely unsociable.
Work. Read. Work. Contemplate. Think. Leave.
Typically, this is my schedule when I enter a coffee shop.
However, three weeks ago while wrapping up the “leave” section of my coffee shop agenda, I did something completely irrational. Something so over-the-top, unthinkable, and highly unattainable for someone of my introverted status.
I started a conversation with a complete stranger.
I remember starting the walk to my car when I notice a middle aged man opening a small wooden box containing pieces stained glass in the form of a dream catcher. It caught my attention, more than most things of this nature would.
I walked right past him, headed to complete the rest of my typical unsociable day, when my mind stopped me and said “nope. you gotta do it. Otherwise it’ll bother you all night.”
I turned around, look at this complete strange and muddled out some words such as “Sorry to bother you. I know this is super weird. But for some reason I’m extremely curious about these things in this box of yours.”
Now typically, someone who is writing out this story now begins to tell you how this conversation was about his grandmother who was a immigrant who made a living in downtown NYC during the 1950’s by making these trinkets and started a legacy for her family and then this guy being her grandson now runs his multi-million dollar company by selling these dreamcatchers and blah blah blah. And then I’m suppose to tell you that this is what networking and connecting with strangers is all about, so you can be inspired.
Well, that didn’t happen.
It was just some guy. Just a normal guy, with a box of hand-me-downs his mother gave him. He picked a sunny day to sit outside of a coffee shop and investigate this box of stained glass dreamcatchers. He told me a little bit about his family, his heritage, and how is mother’s things were willed to him. And that was it.
I thanked him for his time, and moved on with my day of complete unsociability.
Here’s where all of this starts to make sense.
Situations like these – conversations that brings change of pace, is what makes up new, provocative, innovated stories.
I pondered on this guy all day long after meeting him. I thought about how I didn’t know him from Adam. I wondered what else he would find in this box. I contemplated if he would come across something that would completely change his course of life.
And it made me smile. Because it showed me that when I mix up the things I typically would do in my life, it makes me grow in places I didn’t think I needed to grow in.
If I’m saying anything at all, I’m saying this – do something today that is completely outside of you. Do something you would never do. These occurrences in our lives that we tend to keep locked away in the depth of who we are can actually destroy our creativity. Branch out today. Shake someones hand you weren’t expecting to shake. Blend up your schedule and do something completely irrational.
Your creativity will thank you for it. Promise.