The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Challenge of the Week: Start a Conversation with a Random Person
Humans. Humans everywhere. Nearly every human comes complete with a set of challenges they have faced, a life they are currently living, problems and struggles they have experienced, and joys and happiness to which they have fond memories. Everyone has a story to tell and many of us are very quick to judge others.
Whether they are homeless or rich, we make instant snapshot judgments towards them, without talking to them, or getting to know them. I have friends who are richer than me and who are poorer than me. Since childhood, we were being brought up differently, exposed to different ideas and perspectives, and figured out how to make our way through the world. Some of us graduated high school and quickly joined the workforce while others went to college, and then eventually entered the workforce.
The homeless person may be homeless by choice or they may have not realized that one bad investment, getting laid off from a job, and being denied unemployment would put them out on the streets, kicked out by their landlord, unable to take care of themselves or their family. The rich person, on the other hand, also struggled a bit throughout their life, made a few good choices, and earned their riches earnestly, and that person still gives to their favorite charity, as well as helps out in a soup kitchen once a week feeding the homeless.
We tend to make judgments on almost every person we come across, even if we spark a few words of conversation. Someone has had to make their choices based on what they know, their education, how they were brought up, and on the tools, knowledge, and experiences they have used to survive up to this point. They are a complete universe unto themselves, with so many things going on, and they are just trying to find a balance in all the chaos that is life.
Some people had an easy life of very few choices needed to be made, while others suffered hardships and were exposed early to the pain that life has the capability of bringing. Regardless of our situations, we are all alive, living, and breathing. The beauty of all humans is that within there is a book waiting to be written, most whom never get a chance to write it, but no one can ever experience the same exact thing that someone else experiences. Very rarely do two people interpret the same exact experience and understand it in the same exact way.
Strike up a conversation with a random person this week, get to know someone, and do it without judgment. Don’t pretend to have walked a mile in someone’s shoes, or give advice on what you would do in their situation. Instead, just listen to what they are saying to you, and embrace and respect that person for who they are, for their struggles to their joy. They are just like you, a soul in a body, trying to make it in this world.