Just got home from an awesome day on the beautiful waters of Oahu with my old friend and Coworker Keith. The wife and I head out on the water with Keith and his family to get some boating and wakeboarding in every now and then.
When we got home, the wife needed to head to the store to get a few things before dinner, and I was cleaning up the clutter on the counter. Anyway- I came across this article from one of the random pieces of mail I was going through, and decided to share it with you…
I have one thing to say… Do, talk to strangers.
Never pass up the opaque oppotunity. An opaque opportunity is an opportunity that doesn’t show its light initialy, but shows it over time. It is presented to you at the most random of times, and often by the most random of people.. It comes to you when you least expect it, and often propels you in a postive direction you might not have expected.
You will never know when an opaque opportunity will show itself. It can emerge while you are running painfully up hill, or while you are walking steadily back down. It can come in the form of a friend, or a stranger. It sometimes surprises you and comes from your smelly overweight dorm mate who lived down the hall in your freshman year.
The opaque opportunity comes from doing things and talking to people you might not initially feel comfortable with. If a friend asks you to help him do his laundry, do it – you might find a dollar in the dryer. If it doesn’t present itself from getting a thorn in your foot, it could come later from the elderly lady across the street who helps you get it out. If you have the chance to hang out with an old person, do it… Good things always happen when it comes to dealing with old people.
If you find yourself with a blank schedule near lunch time, go talk to a foreign exchange student who doesn’t speak the same language. Who knows, you might find yourself at home over seas. If you are an athlete, make a drama major your housemate, but only if you find them on Craigslist. Sometimes brute muscle and light hearted sophistication make a great team.
If anyone ever asks you if you know how to do something, say yes. You will learn. When you turn down an opaque opportunity you risk never knowing what you have missed.
The opaque opportunity can come from siting in the middle seat in class, just so you get the opportunity to sit by two strangers instead of one. It almost always comes from talking to the person no one else wants to talk to.
It was transparent to me in 2006 that the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation was offering me an unbelievable opportunity by supportung my educatuon to the University of California, Irvine. What I wasn’t aware of, was the amount of random spontaneous opportunities that would present themselves in resulty of their generous offer. Yes, in college I learned how to solve long economics equations, connect the dots to certain elements in chemistry, and read how Emile Durkheim wants us to live our lives. But it has not been in the classroom that all my lessons were learned. The exposure in college to many kinds of people, backgrounds and ideas is what I will remember most from my experiences. In the four years, I have learned to stay open to ALL people and to ALL opportunities.
This may not be what you take away from college, but trust me on at least the first part… DO talk to strangers.
Through the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation’s generous support, I accepted a transparent opportunity, and collected the opaque opportunitites that have followed in its wake.
“Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.” – George Whitman
Written by Kelly Noecker, 2006 recipient of the Fukunaga Scholarship. Great article Kelly.
My wife was a Fukunaga Scholar and Scholarship Recipient, and this article was in a mailing from that organization. Great concept isn’t it?
Talk to strangers.