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Be Interesting

"If you want to be interesting, be interested."

I was raised in an expatriate community in Brussels, Belgium where people would move in for a short period of time, torn from familiar circumstances and thrust into a world where everything was different. Even the McDonald's had a different menu option and was the expensive meal.

Often I'd listen to friends say they felt alone, unsure, unwanted, unneeded and even isolated. They felt like they were missing out on everything fun and interesting. My response as a 16 year old was, "Then make others feel like they are missing out on you." Do something remarkable. Even if it's just for you to feel like you're remarkable. In one instance I joined a friend to do 100 push-up's in a row. That made us both feel like we were worth something.

If people didn't want to hang out with the guy that could do 100 push-up's in a row, it was their loss....obviously.

Ultimately what I was getting at is to be the person you would want to hang out with. A few years later, I realize I only had half the story. Yes, do awesome things. Accomplish. Work. Achieve. Be great. But your greatness is only half the story. The other half is the greatness of what's around you; especially the people around you. You might be interesting to me, but you'll never be as interesting as when you're interested in me.

Have you heard the story of the woman who approached Dr. Louis Agassiz and expressed a longing to be as interesting as him, and visit the interesting places he had visited? Dr. Agassiz asked her what she did each day, "I skin potatoes and chop onions to support the boarding house my sister and I maintain."

"Where do you sit during these interesting but homely duties?"

"On the bottom step of the kitchen stairs." "Where do your feet rest?" "On the glazed brick." "What is glazed brick?" "I don't know, sir." "How long have you been sitting there?" "Fifteen years." Dr. Agassiz then handed her his business card saying, "Madam, here is my personal card. Would you kindly write me a letter concerning the nature of a glazed brick?" The woman took the request seriously. She looked up "brick" in the dictionary, which stated that it was a piece of baked clay. This definition was far too simple to send to a famous scientist, so she continued her search moving on to the encyclopedia. As she read about bricks, she came to words that were unfamiliar to her, so she looked them up in the dictionary. She became more and more intrigued. She studied geology to understand how clay beds were created. She visited museums and libraries to obtain more in-depth articles. She even visited a local brickyard. When she felt her studies were complete on the matter, she sat down and wrote Dr. Agassiz a 36-page letter on the subject of glazed brick. In time, a reply came from Dr. Agassiz in which he informed her that it was the best article he had ever seen on the subject and then asked, "What is under those bricks?" She looked under the bricks and discovered ants. Thus she began an in-depth study of ants. She found there were as many as 2,500 different kinds. In order to understand the ant family she needed to study other subjects as well. After extensive reading and careful study, she wrote 360 pages on the subject to Dr. Agassiz. This time he published it as a book and sent her a large sum of money which she used to travel and visit all the lands of her dreams.

This woman became interesting (and lived her dreams) by being interested.

Look at this photo. Those most interested are the ones most easily noticed. They are the ones most interesting to us. They stand out physically. A perfect illustration of how we stand out most to those around us when we are most interested in those around us.

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