Knowledge, learning and people
I love learning from and talking to people. And meeting new people. I'm also quite good at it.
Don't get me wrong, it is not necessarily easy. It's an acquired skill that required a lot of practice. I'm not naturally charming. I grew up being a grumpy kid, and that grumpy kid still lives in me and comes out too often, especially when my stomach contents are running low. But people fascinate me, and whilst I believe we can learn a lot of things, I also believe there is only so much we can learn. So having people around me that hold different types of knowledge I can access from time to time is amazing. And it's one of my proudest achievements.
It's a proud achievement because I worked really hard to get where I am. I read hundreds (no, really, hundreds) of articles, watched videos, went to classes and attended evening events. I forced myself to speak up and speak to people I normally wouldn't. I started listening more. I started asking questions. It took me years to harness the skills to leave the corner of a room to go to the centre to talk to strangers. The thing is everyone is a stranger until you meet them.
That might come as a surprise for some, especially for the friends I've made in the past couple of years. I'm now known for my willingness to speak to everyone and anyone and for doing so effortlessly. Some people don't know that it wasn't always like this.
Learning conversational skills was perhaps about happiness and survival. When I moved to London I didn't know anyone. I was in such a diverse environment, but I wasn't making friends because I wouldn't start conversations and I wouldn't encourage them either. It wasn't a deliberate process, though. I didn't think I needed to get good at this (even though I did), I simply wanted to. It wasn't just about making friends, but about collecting stories. Because for me, it's the people we meet and the things we tell, show and teach each other that matter.
So, talk to me. Let's see what we can learn from each other.