27 September 2023

Vive la difference! Learning to love new ideas

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It is easy to surround yourself with people who share the same ideas, but Bruce Kasanoff* says when you search out people who are different, the two-way exchanges can be doubly rewarding.

It takes a conscious effort to expose yourself to new ideas.

Most of us have a natural tendency to associate with people who share the same ideas that we do.

Young parents have an easier time meeting and hanging out with other young parents.

University students hang out with university students.

It takes effort to deliberately reach out to others who are very different from yourself.

This is one of the things I love best about giving a speech, which I have just done after a lull of several years.

It exposes me to a completely new group of people, so they can hear my ideas and I can hear theirs.

I once gave two speeches in the same day at the Utah Governor’s Conference.

A tall, grizzled man with long grey hair and a cowboy hat sat in the third row for my first speech, and he came back for the second one, again sitting in the third row.

At some point during the second speech, I realised he was holding a hammer.

When he started to approach me at the conclusion of my speech, I actually checked whether there was an exit nearby.

It turned out that the hammer was the top of his cane; he wasn’t going to attack me, and only wanted to talk.

I mention this because it illustrates that sometimes people who are different appear dangerous to us, when in fact they are fascinating.

The man had been a contractor for five decades, and he used many of the customer relationship strategies I had shared, but in ways I never imagined.

I learned more from that man than he did from me, thanks to my willingness to travel thousands of miles to the edge of the Utah desert (at the time, I lived in Connecticut).

Get out of your comfort zone.

Go meet someone who thinks differently than you do.

In the process, you will expose your ideas to many other people, while they perform the same service for you.

Question: What’s the best new idea you’ve heard in the past few weeks?

Alternative Question: Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met recently?

This might be a great opportunity to give them a shout out.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

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