When was the last time you talked to someone completely different from you? It’s all too easy to find that our social – and our professional – circles are quite limited: friends who live near us – they are similar to us; friends from school or university – similar to us; friends we’ve made at work – similar. In a roomful of people, there will inevitably be a few to whom we naturally gravitate, even if we couldn’t say exactly why, and it is likely the reason for our attraction to them will be some sort of similarity.
Whatever the cause of the stresses in your life, it’s a truism that a problem shared is problem, if not halved, then very much easier to deal with. Talking things through, as I’ve said many times before, is always a helpful way to develop and crystallise one’s thinking and there are usually plenty of people to have those sorts of conversations with.
I love the enthusiasm of new Pluralists. Those who join the Pluralists Club – and those who talk to me about it prior to committing – are full of ideas and excitement. Their brains are firing away in all directions, they’re exploring a great wide range of interesting new options, they’re completely ready to jump into a new life.
No! I don’t mean quitting your Pluralist life but I have been thinking about all the things I do and have done and I’m wondering about whether I should put some of them aside.
It’s amazing how our commitments stack up, incrementally, until we realise that every moment of the day is accounted for. It’s so easy to agree to things, to take on a ‘little’ project, to add one day a month (it’s only a day!). It’s easy to get involved in a discussion, have strong views, feel passionately about something, only for it all to translate into an obligation we slightly resent.
There are many common themes amongst the conversations I hear at Pluralist Club events but the word I probably hear the most is ‘time’. Time to do all our work, time to fit in meetings, time to research new projects … time always seems to be in short supply.
However, there are also occasions when time is our enemy in the opposite way. We rush about making arrangements and plans, only to find that other people aren’t ready. We believe that we have got organisations involved, only to find that their decision-making processes are glacial, leaving us high and dry. The more people and companies involved in a project there are, the longer the chain gets and the slower everything becomes.