The other day I was sitting in an airport waiting for a friend of mine. As soon as I realized that I’d forgotten to bring the scrap of paper on which I wrote down her flight number and arrival gate, I had a flash of insight. I used to do something a certain way, and then after that I did something else. But then I realized that if I could organize things a little bit differently, I would be able to actually do them both better, as one was a natural extension of the other. I was doing them in the opposite order, not because I thought they naturally went that way, but because I was doing the first thing because although I recognized that it was necessary, I also realized, on some level, that it was uncomfortable, and I wanted to get it out of the way.
I don’t know why I had this flash of insight while I was sitting there in the airport, but I took out my notebook and scribbled it down, hoping that I’d remember to look at my notebook later so I could reverse the order of the way I was doing things in hopes of doing them better.
I read this in a book by about developing creativity. Always keep as small notebook with you, that way when you have a flash of insight, you’ll be able to remember it later, and use it to help yourself get whatever it was you wanted to get.
After I wrote this down, I couldn’t help but notice all the people milling about in the airport, waiting for people. Some looked happy, some looked a little sad. You could tell which people were separating, and which were reuniting. It is always nice to see people get together and express an open appreciation for each other, and it always makes me a little sad when is I see people saying goodbye.
It reminded me of a book I was reading the other day, which was about job relocation. The author was talking about how when people change jobs, which in this day and age should be a given, considering that the average person has at least five careers in their life. When you change jobs, the skills that are the most important are not the technical skills that change with every job, but your people skills. Those that have the best people skills will always be in demand, and always make the most money. So the bottom line, according to this book I was reading was that you need to always be working on and improving your people skills.
One way to do this is to always make it a habit of talking to strangers. I think it is an exercise that was inspired by Ben Franklin, who said to “Always look for the virtue in others.” The exercise is to start an innocent conversation with a complete stranger, and try to covertly extract a virtue or two from them, and then share their own positive qualities with them. This will greatly increase your self-confidence and ability to interact with others to get what you want and to promote yourself.
And when my friend finally showed up, I was surprised that I had remembered the correct gate. Imagine that.