The Designs of Humanity

Sometimes I think about who we are.

Encounters

Have you ever thought about how much you’re influenced by those you meet? It’s easy to see in someone else, when they pick up common phrases their friends use. While we see it in those around us, we often don’t realize that we’re just the same way. However, it’s not just as simple as what phrases we pick up, or even what bigger habits we form. It’s a behind-the-scenes life-changing matter.

Imagine for a minute that you’re a drop of rain rolling down a window pane (pardon the thought that we are mostly water). The window is already covered in droplets, some moving faster than others, and some not bothering to move an inch an hour. As you pass a small droplet, you join with it (minds out of the rain gutter, please). You receive something from it, and you leave a little bit of yourself with it when you go. You’re also diverted at least a little bit. This is how it works with the people we meet.

Now take a step back from the window. As you watch the drop find its way down the window it’s fairly easy to see that the path it takes is far from a straight line. In fact, it’s downright crazy. It could start on one side of the window and end up on the other—or make it half way there and decide to come back. My point is, we can’t just shrug off the things we glean from encounters. One way or another, they make us who we are.

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Filed under: droplets, friendship, influence, interaction, metaphor, rain, water, window

Comfortable

What things in your life make you feel comfortable? Take a moment to think about them. If you’re at all like me, you probably just envisioned a loaded turkey sandwich, your favorite after-a-long-day chair, and a fresh-ground French press steaming in your favorite mug—or at least something similar. Well, whatever it is, I hope you’re experiencing it right now, because it may be the last time you ever do so with a clear conscience.

No, I’m not going to lay a guilt trip on you about how other people are utterly without our luxuries, as true as that is. Instead, I’d like to share my latest epiphany: being comfortable is bad for you.

Aside from the worldly attachments we develop when visiting our “comfort caves”, being comfortable is detrimental in another way. When we feel comfortable, we close our eyes to growth.

By deciding that we’re comfortable with our own levels of competence in our respective fields (be they professional or inspired), we stunt ourselves of the drive to exceed our previous performances. For example, my previously mentioned comfort-vices keep me from discovering new types of sandwiches, gaining new perspective from other seats, and finding out how much I really would enjoy kumquat tea (?). While these things are fairly inconsequential, you can see where applying the same principle on a larger scale might reveal one of human-kind’s greatest weaknesses: the lack of drive to improve.

Now, what were those things that make you feel comfortable? Think about them.

Filed under: comfort, ease, growth, influence, learning, strength

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