It’s now late summer, and the complaints of boredom are starting to register. Despite the strict “no complaining about being bored” policy at our house, my kids have played all the games, built everything they could think of out of blocks and legos (and other toys), swam for hundreds of hours, and written their own (impossible) video games. But they are too young for Pokemon, and their tv minutes quickly run out. I can see the look in their eyes, but they keep quiet to avoid the well-advertised boredom cure of household chores.
Meanwhile, I have been preparing for the Great Arizona Code Challenge – a 36-hour coding competition for kids from all over the state.
The 2016 event is next weekend, and I’ll definitely have more to say about it. But for now, I have been marveling at the amazingly interesting people I am meeting as part of the planning process.
People like Daniel Valenzuela, who has added cheerleading and inspiration for the local tech community to his already long list of responsibilities with the Phoenix City Council.
And that’s just the prep – I haven’t even met the 150+ kids and teenagers coming to the Code Challenge!
Meeting these people got me thinking about the concept of interesting. Is interesting something we are? Is it a label placed upon us by others? Something we choose? Can we have interestingness thrust upon us?
Every interesting person I have met (and I meet a lot of them) would be hesitant to claim that they are interesting by sheer force of will. In fact, they likely have never thought about it. Being interesting is not a goal, not a destination.
Rather, it is a natural outcome of doing interesting things. Be interested, act upon it, and soon you will be interesting. The magic here is that interesting is completely self-defined. You can decide what you think is interesting, regardless of what everyone else thinks. That means it is really easy to become interested. Anyone can follow their interests, and so everyone can be interesting.
And by doing interesting things, you will find yourself bumping into all kinds of other interesting people following their interests. It gets really fun!
So let’s get to it. Find something you’re interested in (it doesn’t matter what it is), and follow it farther than you otherwise might. You’ll be surprised where it takes you.
For more on this concept, you can watch my friend Mark Rober in this TED talk, explaining how curiosity is the key to creativity.