As we near major #RCUS-making at BIF7, let’s move onward to U! You and U! We’ve discussed Random Collisions, so its time to talk about Unusual. (I do tend to think ‘differently’ - in paradoxes, oxymorons so bear with me.) Unusual created the image of a slinky in my mind: what we know greatly depends on whom we know which greatly depends on what we know which greatly depends on whom we know…iteratively in a potentially closed, yet expanding slinky spiral circle.
Therein lies the challenge! How do we expand our circle beyond the usual? How do we create intersecting circles? How do we even step out on the edge of the circle? Well, it’s not that different from how we put ourselves in situations to have Random Collisions. Etymology first. The word unusual is ‘not’ (un) in front of the word usual which comes from the late 13th Century Old French usuel, from the Latin usualis meaning ordinary and usus meaning custom. Not a big surprise; no big revelations. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help thinking of Capt. Renault ‘s (Claude Rains) classic line in Casablanca, “Round up the usual suspects.” (By the way, Casablanca is one of the most quoted movies of all time!)
When we think of unusual people, we think people who are a bit different, perhaps a tad bizarre, perhaps distinguished, eccentric – different from you and me. We usually don’t expect to meet these types of people in our everyday lives and routines, but perhaps we could! Since I live in Oberlin, Ohio – home of the eponymous college - it’s pretty easy to meet unusual people in my ‘routine’. But I’d posit that meeting unusuals is not just an issue of physically colliding with them, but a mindset of looking at the unusual, atypical, unique aspects of people we already know, as well as new ones we meet. Porter Gale, in a terrific post, talks about the impact of her serendipitous encounters in seat 4C.
In the past year, at least for me, it seems the velocity of serendipitous #RCUS’s is increasing. You know when you’re looking to get a new car you start seeing that car all over but you didn’t before? I wonder if we start becoming attuned to look for the unusual the more unusuals we meet! In hindsight, as I look back at the many unusuals I’ve met over the past 18 months, the collisions don’t seem as much random as somehow ordained, even destined. There is a great word in Yiddish – Bashert (באַשערט) – destined, fated, meant to be. That defines most of my #RCUS’s over the past year or so. And these #RCUS’s, while starting out on a professional plane quickly becomes multi-dimensional – adding depth and impact. They have led to amazing clients, colleagues, collaborators, co-conspirators, co-creators and chums.
So, in this upcoming week, can you step to the edge of your circle to meet some unusual people? To discover something unusual in the usual people you meet? Take Good’s 30-day challenge with me and let’s share meeting unusuals this week!