Listen closely and you’ll learn something

Never take for granted the fact that everyone you meet can teach you something. Here are just a few recent examples of things that I’ve learned in the last few days:

  • Last night, while visiting an older friend (I believe she is 88), I had what was easily the best rice pudding I’ve ever had in my life. To cut down on the need for sugar she added just a few raisons. I’d love to sit with her and watch her make it and write down each step so that this recipe is never lost.
  • Craig Mod, on Twitter, recently linked to this New York Times post about email strategies over the holiday weekend. I thought this tip was insanely powerful: “Anyone who emails them gets an auto-reply saying the employee isn’t in, and offering contact details for an alternate, on-call staff person. Then poof, the incoming email is deleted — so that employees don’t have to return to inboxes engorged with digital missives in their absence.” I’d like to set something up like this so that, when I return from a vacation, I have a relatively empty inbox.
  • Our new Coalwork neighbors have taught me a lot in just the first few days. One thing is that it is OK to rely on your neighbors. Sharing resources, leaving keys and backup plans with each other, and learning who provides the best services such as window cleaning, waste removal, etc. We all work together here. It has been a very welcoming experience.
  • While visiting a friend who lives, works, and part owns Keen Lake Campground I learned how much the environment, laws and regulations of the state, and the passage of time affect their business. This year these factors will likely cost them more than an entire year in revenue to keep their campground open and safe.

These are random and just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been noticing that if I listen closely I can learn something from every single person I encounter — and often, more than one thing. I sort of wish I kept a small notebook full of these tidbits.