This weekend I was hanging out with a friend talking about different life experiences. She argued that I was an interesting person and she was boring, when I said “he who dies with the most stories wins.” I can safely attribute 90% of my stories are not because of me, they are because of who I surrounded myself with – intentionally or otherwise. I think I’m a pretty boring person to be honest.
One of things that I’ve done through my life is to put myself into a position where I can grow as a person. To do this I’ve done a combination of playing it safe but making decisions that allowed me to meet new people. For example when I went to Pitt a big group of my friends went there with me. However, I decided to live with new people and ended up living on a floor with all engineers. Which allowed me to meet a ton of new people as well as hang out with my old friends from high school. This choice had a pretty significant impact on my social life and likely enabled many of the craziest of stories that have happened at my places. I met 2 guys my freshman year that led me to meeting the 5 girls I lived with where my HS buddies and our extended group of friends really did some crazy things.
After graduating I again decided to do something different than most of my friends. I moved to Austin. I had 4 job offers and I decided to pick the job that was in the best city with the largest number of people that would be my age starting – this is the main reason I picked Samsung. Because of this choice I met some awesome people and some really interesting opportunities in Austin and met my beautiful unicorn of a wife.
This decision then led me to the Netherlands, which was a practical choice for a Master’s because it was so much cheaper than studying here in the US. While there I was put with a range of interesting people and I got to learn a lot about Pakistan, Colombia, Turkey, Netherlands, and the rest of Europe. I’ve spent a lot of time around people with very different backgrounds, life expectations, the definition of a good life, and all of that. These have influence how I think and helped me become a more interesting person because of these experiences.
Now after moving back from the Netherlands I eventually ended up in Portland because of my wife’s job. I’m again putting myself in a new situation and growing and learning a lot of new skills.
If I’m at all interesting, it’s because of the people around me that have influenced me. I think that for anyone in highschool, college, or without kids take advantage of spending time in Europe for school or some other country. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and meet people with some fantastic different perspectives on life. If you can’t or don’t want to get another degree at least spend some time working over there. In many cases you’ll get special benefits being a knowledge worker and help learning about the culture and language while you’re there.
Go out an meet new people and try to learn new hobbies. This is really hard being an introvert. I know that because I am one. It’s even more important that you force yourself to do it. Not every day, but at least once or twice a month try to get out and meet new people and try new things – especially when you’re in a new area. I’m currently struggling with this and I’ve fallen into a routine of watching my friend from High school stream on twitch.
So, try to surround yourself with people you find interesting. Because of them, you’ll have interesting stories and through keeping a networks of interesting people you’ll be a “structural hole” in all of their networks to keep sharing new and interesting ideas to them. These all make you a more interesting person. That’s what I’ve done to be the person I am today. If i’m interesting, it’s because my friends are interesting, not because I am. I’ve written about the value of friendship on here before, and this is why it’s so valuable to me.