I like to consider myself as an understanding guy, in most instances. And I try and hear people out on things. I really like being able to see different peoples point of view. It allows me to evaluate my view on different subjects. I have found being open minded, and having a willingness to accept I might be wrong sometimes, really lets me hear and see some interesting things. I haven’t always felt this way.
At one point, I was a close minded individual. I had my views on things, and everyone else was wrong. I had a lot of confidence in knowing what I knew. But I didn’t really know anything, I just thought I had it all figured out. But the one thing I figured out, I only know what I don’t know.
A lot of things have contributed in this growth. I had a kid, I moved, I got married. These things played a role, for sure. But I contribute most of it to the people I have met. Now all three of those things were basically because of the same person. But who’s keeping track?
Think back to a time in your life to where you really felt an impact. Maybe it was when you were a kid, and it was your first time playing organized sports. The coach really mentored you and instilled confidence in you. Or maybe it was a friend’s mother who brought you in to their family as their own, and treated you like one of her kids. Yes, this includes getting in trouble too. The examples are endless, both positive and negative. But think about how those things that happened really affect how you approach things today. These people may have come at a pivotal point in your life, but they aren’t the only ones that played a role.
Have you ever been standing in line somewhere, maybe for a concert, or an event somewhere? Most of us have, right? Then there is that one person that just starts talking to you. Or maybe it’s you that starts talking to the person in front of you. You don’t know this person, but the words exchange anyhow. Maybe you enjoy the conversation, maybe you don’t. But after the interaction is done, at some point, you think about it. Even for a moment, you think to yourself, that person was nuts. Clearly that’s not every interaction, but hopefully you get my point. Most times you will at least revisit the moment in some capacity. They may not be a long-term memory, but it still affects you nonetheless.
Now think about how many times this has happened. It’s hard for me to think that these interactions don’t help transform you into who you are. But for me, because of the interactions like this, I found myself giving more people a chance. Some even becoming friends.
I have had my cycle of people I would consider friends. Some I no longer talk to, not necessarily because of a falling out, but because our lives were on different paths and they just intersected when we met and continued. But I owe a lot of who I am to these people. I’ve shared beers, frustrations, good conversation and great times with these amazing people. Each one of them helped open a new side of me.
I enjoy a diverse group of people because of these interactions. I have learned about a lot of cultures. I have found enjoyment in things I never knew existed. Through every person, and every interaction, a part of me changes. Not always for the better either. Some people make your life extremely difficult, while others just simply make you happy your paths crossed when they did.
Who you are is never because of one person, or thing. All things in your life contribute. Think about your life and evaluate it periodically. Enjoy the good moments, and appreciate the bad. But learn from both.