What do we do when something unexpected happens?
“The readiness is all”, said Hamlet.
And so must we be ready. Not ready to be fools and become silly. But ready to meet that new thing, that innovation, that crazy idea, that new person…more than half-way.
Yes, we may be skeptical. Yes, as Polonius says (careful grandmother that he may be)…we must try our friends well before we truly take them in. [Note below.] And so we must also for innovative ideas.
But first we must be open to them. We must take a risk. And try.
As many a Zen Master has tried to open many a student’s mind to satori.
This all comes to me by way of a new friend made last night, rather unexpectedly. Well, completely unexpectedly. We were forced together, sitting beside each other. Rather than sit in stony silence (as they say) we talked. Exactly why or how it happened, I cannot explain. And, while I deserve little credit for it, it was an amazing and far-reaching conversation. Very satisfying on many levels. I will take some credit that I let it happen. And in part it happened because I had no expectations. I asked and said what I wanted to say at the moment…but I was not trying to win or convince or do or accomplish anything. Well, occasionally I wished to be polite and kind and teasing (as some of you know, I like to tease my friends). But mostly I had no big goal, except to learn and discover.
And later, I was sad. Not sad to have had the conversation, but sad that it had ended.
So, I give myself that credit. And I take it away too. I did not follow up well. The friendship made, the conversation started… But it may never happen again because I probably have lost contact. I was too polite.
And this is true of our ideas about innovation as well. We must have the idea, let it in, remember it, and then do something about it. See if it will fly.
Note: The reference above is to the famous speech by Polonius to his son Laertes, which I have copied here. Polonius is of course proposing that his son be far more careful than I am suggesting in this post. I am suggesting more openness, more readiness. But I am not proposing that we be careless, either.