There are three kinds of posters on social media:
(1) those who only post original discourse or creative content based on their areas of expertise (think LinkedIn articles), (2) those who only repost other people’s saucy or maudlin quotes and drawings (Facebook), and (3) those people who post a hybrid collection of personal observations and thought-provoking facts, stories or videos. The most interesting people/sites to visit are the last, of course, where you never quite know what you’ll find.
When you think about the most interesting people you know, an eclectic style is likely their calling card. They oftentimes surprise you with their conversational range, from historical knowledge to the latest clone experiments. These people don’t dwell within a defined comfort zone; they explore the world and share some of the interesting stories they collect along the way. These networking queens and kings draw others toward them like a magnet. They aren’t always the ones who talk the most but they are the ones with the best stories when it’s their turn to contribute.
If you, too, want to build up your “interesting” intellectual muscles, here are a few quick activities to add to your schedule:
Daily: Listen to far-reaching podcasts. Stuff You Should Know features lessons on how food tasters work, the history of steamboat travel, and woolly mammoth facts. This site posts a different topic daily to explain the oddities and the unseen forces that created or shape your world (and beyond). Or check out Stuff to Blow Your Mind. These podcasts are a bit more cerebral, with offerings such as The Great Transhumanist Rapture War or The Curious Incident of the Guinea Worm in the Dog. Enjoy!
Weekly: Spend one hour soliciting the life experiences of octogenarians. At a local retirement facility or nursing home, a routine question (“What was your most interesting life experience?”) always results in a learning opportunity. For example, a stylish matron delighted me with fascinating tales about being a missionary in an extremely remote African village, where she survived an elephant stampede. A reserved gentleman offered an insider’s view of early space travel launches and near misses; he was a retired engineer who had helped develop the 1960’s NASA space program. All of these life stories are accessible if only we ask to hear them, and they help expand our own perspective of American life.
Monthly: Take on a mini-challenge. It could be anything from discovering the five most luxurious bath experiences to sampling and ranking 30 desserts in 30 days. The more quirky or pleasurable the quest, the more interesting it will be to discuss your findings at the end of the challenge.
Quarterly: Attend a seminar that has little to do with your core interests. Friends are good to tap for this exercise. I accompanied a friend to a “Death and Dying” two-day scientific seminar and wound up having dinner with the famous Dr. Moody, who coined the term “Near Death Experience” during his breakthrough death research in the 1970s. Another friend invited me to attend a seminar on psychedelic drug research and the implications for creativity. That’s one I’d never have sought out, but I met some of the best-known international pioneers in the field. That was an education I would not have gotten elsewhere!
What mind-expanding experiences could you tap into in your area? Make it a monthly challenge to come up with your own list!