This was one of my Dad’s favourite sayings. He used it whenever someone did or said something that seemed odd to him. It’s another way of saying ‘people are endlessly interesting’, which is a phrase I use a lot.
What makes us all interesting are our differences. If everyone behaved and thought the same, there would be no surprises but also perhaps little growth or development. Perhaps there would be little cause for friction too, but some friction can be a good thing if it makes us look at different options and ideally work towards a collaborative outcome.
There are so many factors that contribute to who we are as individuals. Firstly there is our own unique history and personality that makes us who we are. To someone with a very different history and personality we would probably seem interesting or, in my Dad’s words, queer.
How easily do you get past those differences to accept that everyone has a different way of seeing the world and of behaving within it?
It’s very easy to get locked into believing that your way of thinking and behaving are the ‘right’ way – but what if there could be more than one right way?
To accept that idea doesn’t mean you have to abandon your principles or values. It simply means opening your mind to the possibility that other people see themselves as equally right, and to find that interesting rather than challenging.
If you’re someone who usually comes up with great ideas and can see how amazing they would be when they come to fruition, it’s possible that the person who jumps in with ‘But what about (this risk)’ and ‘Have you thought about (that risk) will irritate you when they do that.
Alternatively, you might be someone whose priority is the wellbeing of the people involved in any project. If so, you might be in conflict or disagreement with someone who seems to only focus on the final outcome, with seemingly little regard for potential upset to individuals along the way. For example a CEO who makes some staff redundant in order to preserve the greater whole might not be popular with you.
Of course the opposite also applies. All of these different traits usually mean different ways of thinking and behaving and different ways of interacting with others. The reality is that a balanced team or committee benefits from the input of all those people and their different ways of seeing the world.
We need the ideas people to come up with a concept. We need the CEO type to identify what needs to happen and who needs to do what to make it happen. We need the risk assessors to evaluate the whole project and to help plan for eventualities. We need the people people to look out and speak out for the human factor.
However queer, interesting or irritating folk may be, they all have a value to add.
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