The Power of
Unexpected - Causing surprise or wonder or
As I made my way to my window seat on a flight home to visit
family in Alaska and settled into my spot, the young man sitting in the middle
seat extended his hand and said, "Hi, my name is Andrew, what's yours?" I was
caught a little off guard by his enthusiasm and directness. We exchanged
greetings after which he said, "I can't wait to see who is going to be our
neighbor in the aisle seat."
Wow--this kind of unabashed expression
of enthusiasm doesn't happen with great frequency and
was refreshing. While some people settle in their window
seat, turn their body towards the clouds and consciously
avoid any interaction with others, I have never been one
of those people. In this case, I was glad. This young
man, who looked about 18 years of age, was actually 24.
He had graduated from Columbia and was now doing
research at Harvard. He was traveling to Alaska with his
brother and parents for their first cruise along the
Inside Passage, which was a last minute change in plans.
They had originally planned to go to Italy, but
cancelled the trip because his father could not get as
much time off as he would have liked. Andrew's parents
are from Taiwan and each year they spend a month there,
as well as taking a trip to another part of the world.
This engaging conversation was unexpected. A really
lively interaction with a stranger. I had to ask this
young man for some advice. He'd figured out how to do
something I hadn't. I asked him how he'd managed to do
all of this traveling, yet have his researcher's job at
Harvard. He said, easy--he worked remotely. As long as
he had access to the internet, he could do his research
via the web, take along any needed books for reference
and send his work in from all over the globe. They did
like him to come into the office once a month, but that
was it. Hmmm--I liked the sound of that. He was full of
life, funny, inquisitive and courteous. He was a
delightful young man and before the six hour flight was
over, the two of us and the passenger sitting on the
aisle, could have played 20 questions in regard to each
of our lives. This because of a willingness to engage in
a conversation of which I had no idea of the outcome.
How often have you had the opportunity to connect with
someone you didn't know and you choose not to? Didn't
want to be bothered? Easier to avoid eye contact?
Consider ... reconsidering. It's so much fun to interact
with other people and hear their stories. You may have a
gem of wisdom that you can share with them that really
makes a difference and vice-versa. Who knows what you
might learn or in what way you might be enlightened?
Take The Time
I went to work one morning last year and
as I walked from the parking lot to the front door, a
woman asked me what level we were on; she'd gotten off
on the wrong floor when trying to find her car. We
entered the elevator together, where we remained for 45
minutes, while every manner of people got on and off, as
the elevator made several trips up and down. It turned
out that we had a lot in common. We hit it off and have
stayed in touch, getting together for tea and lunch.
It is quite an adventure to open ourselves up to
interacting with each other--without knowing precisely
what that interaction will bring. It could bring you a
new friend, a partner, an unexpected insight, welcome
laughter and countless other possibilities. It's a new
day. Be open to a new opportunity and enjoy!
Quotes About Communication
"Deep listening is miraculous for both
listener and speaker. When someone receives us with
open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested
listening, our spirits expand."
"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are
all different in the way we perceive the world and use
this understanding as a guide to our communication with
"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen
twice as much as we speak."
Epictetus (Greek philosopher associated with the
Stoics, AS 55-c. 135)
"Communication works for those who work at it."
"To listen well is as powerful a means of communication
and influence as to talk well."
John Marshall (American Founder constitutional law
and the Supreme Court of the United States. 1755- 1835)
My heartfelt gratitude to all of you who
took the time to vote for me in the Oprah "have your own
show contest" and a special thank you to Bobby Marini
for doing a great job of taping and editing the video!
A special thank you to Durner for her
assistance with this newsletter. Your are appreciated