Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Man You're Pretty Smart For A Dude in Flip Flops & A Star Wars T-shirt!"

To which I responded...."Why thank you! I think."

So you'll hear me say over and over again don't judge a book by it's cover.  So many of us miss opportunities because we let these stupid self-imposed mind filters prevent us from experiencing certain things life has to offer.  Such as....

Meeting new people because of the jobs they have, how they look or simply because they are different from us.

Trying new things because we think they may be dangerous, silly or childish or a combination of all three.

Learning a new skill, a new language or new hobby because it looks too hard or takes too much time.

Taking advantage of a new career opportunity.

Having a chance to play your part as a human by helping someone who's really in need.

Today I found myself eating alone at Wendy's.  I brought in a book to read but found myself watching the other solo eaters fiddling with their phones and generally all trying to act inconspicuous as they munched on their double bacon burgers, french fries or in my case salad (clearly from the picture above you will see that I need to eat more of those!).

As I watched I wondered how many of us came to lunch alone who didn't really want to be alone?  The woman next to me played on her crackberry but looked up every time someone came in the door.  I smiled at her and she quickly smiled back but uncertain what to do next resumed playing with her phone.  A guy two tables over was reading a book but clearly wasn't into it so he seemed to enjoy people watching.  Then the guy immediately next to me sat down, no phone, book or anything other than his food to occupy his time.  He wore a shirt with the logo of a corporation that I happen to know.  I decided to engage him in conversation.

I started the conversation off by saying I couldn't help but notice your shirt and proceeded to ask him if he happen to know someone I knew that worked there.  Of course that kick-started our conversation and before long learned he had worked for the company for four years and had recently been reassigned to a new position.  As he proceeded to tell me about what he focused on he seemed impressed I had a general knowledge of the space and could contribute intelligently to conversation.  After a fun back and forth and even a little strategy discussion he let the the quote with which I titled this post sort of slip out.

I laughed.  He laughed..  I then told him a little bit about The Ripple and why I dress down more often than not.  I find I am more comfortable and my creativity and innovation tends to kick in when I dress super casual.  We ended up talking for quite some time about spurring our creative urges and before long the woman with the smile piped in and we had a full on Wendy's summit.

I am quite positive the guy would never have given me a second thought had I not initiated the conversation with him.  I also know that despite my engaging him in conversation his perception of me was skewed ever so slightly because of how I was dressed - regardless of how cool flip flops looked.  I thought as I left Wendy's how many times we all discount someone based on looks and just how much prejudgment robs of us in life.

Well this flip flop Star Wars t-shirt and shorts wearing dude enjoyed meeting two very nice people and I suspect we will be swapping stories over burgers and salads again one day very soon. 

So score one for me - prejudgment zero.

Ripple On!!!

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