I read a blog post by Seth Godin earlier this year that reminded me that risks and opportunities often come in the same package. One example can be found in the form of ‘strangers.’ Godin said this:
“From an evolutionary perspective, strangers represent danger. They are not only a direct threat, but carry the risk of rejection and all the insecurity that comes with it. But the opposite can be true: Strangers can represent opportunity. The opportunity to learn, to make new connections, to build bridges that benefit everyone.”
This is so true. As I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago (Give ‘Different’ A Chance), our tendency is to gravitate toward the familiar. We walk into a room full of people and automatically look for someone we know. When choosing a seat at a dinner party, we sit next to a friend. If given the chance, nine times out of ten we seek out and choose to spend time with people we know or people we perceive to be most like us.
As Godin said, strangers—or the unfamiliar—represent danger. It’s unlikely we consciously think that, but it’s hardwired into us. There are exceptions of course; there are people who eagerly seek out unfamiliar faces and regularly make new connections. But typically, most of us hold back. We choose to avoid the perceived risks of “putting ourselves out there” rather than seeking out the countless positive possibilities that could come from connecting with a stranger and welcoming the unfamiliar.
Godin went on to say,
“When we look for rejection and reasons to hold back, that’s exactly what we will find. On the other hand, if we seek possibility and look for people that need us as much as we need them, there they are.”
How about you? Do you hold back because of the perceived risks, or do you put yourself out there and seek possibility? Choose this week to seek possibility… I think you’ll be surprised by the results!
To read the full article by Seth Godin please click here.