Ridiculous beginnings...


All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or a restaurant’s revolving door.Albert Camus

If you are like me and don’t know who Albert Camus is I will save you the Wikipedia search: Albert Camus (Nov 7, 1913 - Jan 4, 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, and then died three years later.

This is one of the reasons I love just “wandering around” once in a while — one minute you don’t know, and the next you do. Not only had I never heard of Albert Camus, I’d also never heard of absurdism. Let me save you another search…

absurdism [əb-ˈsər-ˌdi-zəm] noun: a philosophy based on the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search for order brings the individual into conflict with the universe.

I suppose at the heart of this I simply like discovery and learning something new — it makes me more interesting at cocktail parties (although admittedly it’s utter conjecture). Aside from the joy that comes with discovering new things I did find the quote insightful, particularly if you are searching for something new.

This experience had me thinking of all those forced “brainstorming sessions” of the past and whether we ever really got anything new out of them — there was lots of discussion, lots of sticky notes, countless flip charts stuck to walls, and in the end, we always ended up with a list of activities that looked very similar to what we were already doing. I wonder if it would’ve been more productive to give everyone the objective, put $100 dollars in their pocket, and have them to wander the city for the day. Everyone would meet later in a park to discuss people’s experiences and what they came up with. No flip charts, no sticky notes, no group stretching exercises to “get the blood flowing”; just lots of conversation and discussion after a day of “discovery” (with someone taking notes). Or to Albert Camus’s point, something even more ridiculous.

Albert reminded me of a universal truism — if you keep doing things the same old way you will get the same old results. And this is fine, until of course, you start getting results you don’t want.

I wonder if this aligns with his thoughts on absurdism?


Delaying the discussion...


Here's the thing about business travel — it's really an exercise in efficiency, and unless you are into that sort of thing, the whole activity really isn't that much fun.

It's all about how effectively you can get your ticket and how quickly (and easily) you can get through customs and security — all the while juggling various forms of identification, accessories and bags, belts, and shoes. Sure I was in Boston, but that meant I never really got any farther than a Logon airport hotel, and saw little more than the four walls of a conference room. Of course, that was after I missed my connector.

"It's the Captain from the flight deck. You may have noticed the gate is moving back into position... we have a warning light on and maintenance is going to check it out. We'll get back to you as soon as we can."

"It's the Captain again. Looks like this plane won't be going anywhere. The good news is we are having a new plane brought in and it should be at gate 32 in twenty minutes. We will de-boarding in a moment and I'll see you at gate 32 in about twenty minutes".

An hour and twenty minutes later we were in the air.

You rarely grumble when you travel for business but rather tend to gather your things, inform anyone who is impacted using one (or more) of the many communication tools available, and make your way to wherever you have to get to in the most direct way possible. In the case of this particular business travel experience, as I was collecting my things I couldn't help but overhear someone on the phone explaining his situation and then said something that reminded me of a very important truism —

" I really didn't want to miss being part of the discussion"

It wasn't so much that he was missing a meeting because that happens all the time, but his lament was that he's missing the opportunity to add his voice to the discussion. 

And here is the truism —

Anything (and everything) only gets better when you add your voice to the discussion.

Sure I will admit that it's sometimes difficult, but that makes it even more important.


PS: I ended up getting to the meeting on time, and had a far bit to say. (I think)