Twists, Turns, and People

This morning I was thinking about the twists and turns life takes, and how they have a profound effect on who we meet, what we do, and who we become. At the time, many of these events seem random, serendipitous even. But when we look back on them, they weave together the tapestry of our life: who we are, and who we become. In hindsight they take on more significance. We can tease out themes, discover what is truly important to each of us, and discover who we are, or who we are meant to be.

I was an unhappy lawyer who wandered into a bar one day. Without really thinking about it, I got a job. That job propelled me on a totally new life course, one that I am finding infinitely more satisfying.

At the time, the event seemed random – spur of the moment – with little forethought. But looking back, it was one of the more important decisions of my recent life. If I hadn’t walked into that bar and asked for a job, I would never have started working in restaurants,  would never have met my business partner, and wouldn’t be embracing my creativity. I wouldn’t have met many of the people I now know.

For me, some of the most revealing conversations and best decisions – ones that have felt the most powerful for me – have been made when I feel raw; as if I have pushed into a corner and don’t have a choice; or when I let my mind get out of the way and trust my heart. When I tap into that primal energy, not calculating how my saying something will make other people feel, not weighing out the pros and cons of what I’m going to say (or at least not agonizing over it) – those are the times I get the most stuff done. The times I can dig deep and get to the nub of an issue.

I’ve had a couple of experiences like that. Days when I’m feeling vulnerable and just let my thoughts run out. And when I just kind of spill it, more often than not, good things happen. In a conversation, I can more quickly get to the real issue. It’s actually what allowed me to move forward with many of my new ideas. Specifically, it was that raw energy, that lack of calculation or forethought, that allowed me to suggest partnering on my newest business venture.

Sometimes we need to get outside of ourselves, let our instincts take over, and trust that, by and large, most people are pretty good and want to help us and each other.

Especially during this tumultuous election cycle, where so many people are trying to highlight differences between the candidates, between red states and blue states, between different kids of people. But rather than focus on the things that make us different – the things that divide us – let’s look instead at our similarities, our commonalities, and the things that make us all members of the human race. I have found that, despite our difference, with rare exception, most people are well-intentioned. Now, we can disagree on what the right intention is. Of course, we have different ideas about how the final product should look, or what policies we each thing are best for our country. And these differences of opinion come from different backgrounds and different life experiences, all of which inform who we are, how we value and prioritize things, and what we think is best to do in any given situation. But, when we strip away these differences, at out core, I truly believe that most people are doing what they think is best. We may not always agree; but I believe that people are generally good, and are generally trying to do what they think is the right thing in a given circumstance. Like I said  – we can disagree on whether a particular choice is actually the right one. But people are generally acting from what they think is a good place.

And that is why, I think, when we expose ourselves and let out our raw emotions, good things happen. People genuinely care about one another, and will do their best to try to help each other out. After all, we are all members of the human race. That commonality binds us. When we tap into that shared humanity, good and powerful things happen.

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