Are all of your friends just like you? Do you all belong to the same religion or think the same about political issues? Do you shop at the same grocery store buying the same foods week after week? When was the last time you explored a new part of your own town or state? Do you consider yourself to be someone who tends to seek diversity or do you tend to stick with things that are familiar?
Don’t worry, there isn’t a quiz, I’m just thinking with my fingers here.
As you probably know, I just returned from the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show. While there I got to hug, giggle, talk with, and rub elbows with some of the most creative people in the industry. To say that I came away with a bucket of inspiration would be putting it mildly.
But I also came home thinking about some of the people I interacted with. Their cultures (people come to the show from all over the world), philosophical viewpoints, creativity, traditions, religion, and how similar (or different) their life experiences have been from mine.
I think that It’s good for me to see opposing views. It expands my horizons, makes me really think about what I believe and WHY.
It also fuels my creativity. I love to meet new people and I tend to ask far too many questions about their lives, culture and ways of being. I’m curious. I try very hard not to judge but to be open and receptive. I just want to absorb all that I can.
I love learning about different religions and their icons. I love to explore the color, texture and pattern of their folk art. What are the customs that shape their days, holidays, special occasions? Everything from the label on the gum they chew to how they bury their dead. It all fascinates me. So much to learn! So many people and places to be inspired by.
I imagine some people think it is nice but other’s think I’m a big old weirdo. I’m OK with that. Every time I have one of those interactions two things happen. 1) the world feels smaller and more friendly to me and 2) my creative well gets filled to the top.
I have a challenge for you this week –
Do something you’ve never done before. Talk to someone new. Seek diversity in some small way.
Here are some tips to seek out diversity in people and ideas from OSU.EDU:
- Seek out different opinions. When you encounter a problem, begin a new project, or are looking for a new approach to a current project, seek out suggestions from people with different backgrounds. Apply the collective wisdom you gather to identify an innovative approach.
- Expose yourself to different cultures. Learning about different cultures expands your world view and experience. This helps you incorporate different thinking, and understand where to seek out different viewpoints. Read, travel, and meet people of different backgrounds.
- Understand your unique contributions. Understand how your experience shapes your views, and creates filters. This awareness will help you think of how to take different viewpoints into consideration, and from whom to seek out different opinions. It also identifies times when you can offer valuable input to others.
- Remain curious. When you hear a new idea, encounter resistance, or disagree with someone, think about how their experience shapes their viewpoints. Understanding different perspectives and listening to other’s viewpoints can help you see things in a new light, as well as expanding your appreciation for diverse thinking.