I think one of the most fascinating parts of life is that we all exist in different bubbles and therefore display unique perspectives that inform our decision making. What I have been particularly interested in lately is just how these perspectives form, and have been thinking a lot about a concept of “optimizing for collisions.”
A collision is whenever two or more of “your bubbles” come to an intersection. For instance, your college life intertwines with a book you read. Or the paper you are reading reminds you of a television show you watched. Or something your friend told you triggered you to think about a time you spent hiking in China which got you to remember some podcast you listened to. You get the idea – a “collision” occurs whenever your brain ties things together. This “tying” is a muscle, being able to pair two seemingly unrelated things together is a powerful, strategic skill when honed in the correct direction.
Cool. Why does any of this matter?
One of my primary motivators for attaining unique experiences (traveling the world, reading old books, talking to interesting people) is to increase the surface area for which I am likely to run into or cause a collision. The more I am able to weave across the problems of life and things I truly care about, the more clarity I have.
Without collisions, I find we are all lost, digging holes in random directions.
Collisions are like the fourth dimension, they inform why things matter. They connect the dots. They are the language for which our memory operates. They turn randomness into conviction.
This last point…building confidence around ideas…is incredibly effective.
So how do you have more collisions in life?
One simple idea is to first ensure you are surrounding yourself with lots of different types of people and a wide array ideas. Second, make sure you are being an active listener – not just trying to fit your pre-existing narrative. Being open to new ideas and experiences helps you broaden your range of possibilities.
You will find over time this mindset helps you cultivate interesting ideas.
You can also do things like read two books at the same time and draw intersections. You can back this by having conversations about the various topics. And really even just thinking or writing down your ideas can be helpful.
These all help you form a mentality, a skill-set, something that sets you apart.
We all run into collisions all of the time…we just do not recognize them!
Also published on Medium.