Saturday, July 31, 2010

Being an Interested Person

I watched, spellbound, a presentation by the dean of Pixar University as he talked about how Pixar promotes the idea of collaboration and values the type of employee that has both depth and breadth, that is they are not just interesting people who have succeeded in life but rather people who have met with failure and overcome and are curious about the world around them. (watch it here)
Then, I found this on Andrej Gregov's Weblog:

According to Randy S. Nelson, who joined the company in 1997 and is dean of Pixar University... "We've made the leap from an idea-centered business to a people-centered business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We're trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners. It's no trick for talented people to be interesting, but it's a gift to be interested. We want an organization filled with interested people."

This gives fresh life to the advice my mother gave me years ago when she wisely reminded me that people always want to talk about themselves, so you can always have a conversation by asking them questions. Time and time again I have followed this nugget of wisdom and it has served me well.

I think this goes along with the commonly repeated adage usually doled out for single persons that being the kind of person you would want to marry is as important as looking for the right one. We can be so self-absorbed. Curiosity about the people around us and what makes them unique goes so far in creating healthy interaction.

Babyhood is the time to be self-absorbed, to cry to others for what we want, to think it's all about us; at that time it's perfectly appropriate. But we should gradually grow out of that, and as Mr. Rogers says, "get nicer as we grow older".

We do have to work against the residue of things that have not gone the way we liked in life, but if an airliner can overcome the law of gravity by applying a superseding law of thermodynamics, then we, too, can fly above the disappointments of life to become the pilots of our own mind.

After all, there is so much more that we have yet to discover! The possibilities are endless. Aren't you interested?

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