It is quite important to speak with different people. Not only from different social and cultural background, but also from different ages and abilities. We can learn a lot from them. At most we can learn from groups of people who are quite different than we are. For example, we can learn from disabled or very old people who live and think entirely different. We all have some beliefs and conceptions of life, which often appear to create boundaries. Such boundaries are not good for our personal development, because they constrain our creativity and innovation potential. They often constraint us not only in mind, but also in our emotions, so we can’t fully unfold our capabilities and talents. And we start to think in categories like “normal” and “abnormal”. There are not such categories in the world. There are not normal and abnormal things. It’s only our perception that creates them.
What is even worse, we segregate people who are different, we don’t meet such people and we miss the opportunity to learn from them. We miss the opportunity to develop and we don’t let them improve as well. And when we meet some people, we automatically have some opinion. We are already biased in our opinion. But we can learn much more from them when we meet them as they are without opinion and absorb curiously what, how and why they are doing. There is one other very important aspect of meeting kids or disabled people. They are almost always ingenuous. They can definitely teach us how to be like this as well, to forget our place in the society and behave like we are.
When was the last time you’ve played with a child? When was the last time you’ve spoken with old people and let them tell you their unique stories? When was the last time you’ve met a disabled person? What have you learned from them? When was the last time you’ve talked to stranger on the street or at the train? I’m always inspired from projects like 6 million others and Interview Project. These are interviews with random people on the street.
I’ve just started to talk to people instead of reading or sleeping in the train and it is really amazing how many great and interesting people you can meet. For politicians it can be even more interesting and necessary to speak with random people. Such politicians are always much more successful. The best example is the major of Mississauga – Hazel McCallion. But also for business people it can be always enriching to speak with random customers and non-customers.