I was reading an article in the New York Times yesterday. It was a profile of one of the founders of Atlas Obscura, a site that focuses on sharing the “oddities” of the world that in some cases might be right in front of us (here’s a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/nyregion/how-dylan-thuras-a-founder-of-atlas-obscura-spends-his-sundays.html?_r=1).
In the interview, Dylan Thuras shares how easy it can be to get local blindness, and be unaware of all the cool stuff that exists around us.
I think there is a lot of truth in this comment. Too often, we miss so many great parts of our world that may be only minutes away. For instance, I live an hour from New York City, and have never visited the Empire State Building. That’s an extreme example, but one closer to home was that up until recently, I had never spent time in a national park that is literally minutes from my home.
I’m not sure why this tends to happen. Maybe we believe that local is less amazing than far away. Maybe it is a bit of “grass-is-always-greener-itis” in that we truly believe that things are better where we aren’t.
As I was thinking of the Thuras profile, it also reminded me of the importance of welcoming the amazing in our professional worlds. Sometimes what seems ordinary is actually extraordinary, and if it didn’t happen in our own backyards, or in our own buildings, we would recognize the amazing nature of it.
That’s one of the reasons why I believe we need to do a better job of recognizing “small” successes, and celebrating the great work that happens for us, and to us, on a daily basis. This means, of course, that we have to do better jobs of paying attention, and going that extra mile to check out as much of what is happening around us as we can.
Sometimes this isn’t easy. Goodness knows that none of us are hurting for more work to do or more experiences to encounter; if anything, our lives are too full. And yet, the need to showcase what is happening in our own homes, our own places of work, is beyond important. We are only as good as what we share, and if we assume that no one is interested in what we are sharing, then we miss an amazing opportunity to open the eyes of others, and our own, to all the great that exists just steps away.