I remembered this last night when I was thinking about how easy it is to get myopic in our views.
A couple of years ago, when I was still down in Los Angeles, I was on my morning walk through West L.A. and I ran across a homeless gentleman collecting cans and bottles from a dumpster. I stopped to talk to him. We talked for about for fifteen minutes.
We talked about a lot things, the weather, the BP oil spill and eventually the conversation turned to the economy. His take was that he thought things were getting worse, rather than what we’d been hearing from the news media. “How did you come up with that?” I asked him.
“Well I see more cheap brand cans in the dumpsters than I used to. Even last year when things were supposedly worse, people still drank Coke and Budweiser . But now it’s changed.” It’s Shasta and Natural Light.
Interesting, a frame of reference I wouldn’t have gotten through my normal channels.
I remembered a post I read in copyblogger.com talking about the Medici Effect during the start of the Renaissance. At the end of the Dark ages poets, artists, painters, sculptors and the like came to Florence, Italy to study and collaborate thanks to patronization of the wealthy Medici family. Essentially, this melding of different backgrounds and disciplines started the Renaissance.
How can we personally duplicate this for ourselves?
Get out of your comfort zone. Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to do the same things, associate with same type of people and be influenced by the same sources as we always have.
Mix it up!
If you are a doctor, hang with a plumber. If you’re white, talk to a black person. Take the bus sometime (no – people on buses don’t bite). If you live on the west side, have dinner on the east side. And most of all if you’re old (yes Boomers you are old) … get some insight from someone young – someone that’s not your own kid.
Our brains are nothing more than synaptic connections which are built and strengthened through habitual activity and thought. Build some new ones, God only knows we could use more.
Who knows … maybe your next piece of inspiration may come next to a dumpster.
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