Today marks the beginning of National Gratitude Month. I am a person guilty of harboring a multitude of character flaws but, if there is one thing I am especially guilty of it is being an ungrateful @$$hole. There’s a lot that hasn’t been going “well” for me lately, and I am a naturally “Glass half-empty” kind of guy but, I still have so much to be thankful for. While I can’t hope to radically alter my deeply ingrained habit of ingratitude in 30 days, I can make it a point to create spaces and opportunities to be more purposefully and intentionally grateful.
In his book Against Happiness, Eric G. Wilson writes that
“When a person views the world only through his own experience, he divorces himself from the polarized flow of existence, that persistent dialogue between self and other, familiar and unfamiliar.”
I am grateful for Eric Wilson’s writing. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from it. Grateful that he was actually willing to be a guest on my podcast. And, I am so grateful for what I learned from the insights garnered from our conversation together.
When we fail to engage with the perspective of another, when we neglect the opportunity to see the world from an alternate view, we fail to see the fullness of the human experience, the fullness of the world, the fullness of “Being” itself.
Every one of us are on our own specific journey. Everyone knows something individually that we collectively don’t. Everyone has experienced something that I haven’t. Anytime we get to bridge the gap between ourselves and another person, it can only be fruitful, it can only be enlightening, it can only be insightful.
We live in an amazing time. The opportunities for connection and communication have never been more abundant, more alive, more vibrant, and more readily available. Kwame Anthony Appiah writes that “the worldwide web of information…means not only that we can affect lives everywhere but that we can learn about life anywhere”. Tim Harford explains that “the modern world gives us more opportunities than ever to forge relationships with people who do not look, act, or think the same way that we do.”
Every encounter with another person is an opportunity to get an insight that we didn’t have before, to get access to knowledge we wouldn’t have come across any other way.
Jean-Paul Sartre says “The Other holds a secret – the secret of what I am”.
The insight of the Other is insight into ourselves. Revealed in the portrait of the Other is a picture of who we are. To gaze into the eyes of the Other is to glimpse into the reality of Being. To begin to understand the Other is to begin to understand everything.
I am grateful for all the “Others” I’ve been lucky enough to meet and deeply encounter, people who have given me their time to have discussions that continue to teach me so much about myself. I am grateful for the insight of the Other…
P.S. I am also specifically grateful for the conversation I had with Brady Hester on his podcast, The Braddog Media Show, which inspired parts of this post.
Keep showing up, Keep doing the Work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful.
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