Crawling out of a Closed Mind

I must admit, I’ve never been a people person, the nerd in me always calls for introversion and perhaps a callous attitude towards meaningless interactions. Some witty philosophers gave this “defect” a name — the atomistic mindset. A view which sees man not as part of society but rather as an isolated organism of which society is something wholly exterior. Some folks call it selfishness but it the portal through which most of our best thoughts emanates. In business, there is need for introspection and foresight into the nature of a venture — activities best undertaken in solitude. But that was about to be challenged.

A few years ago at my place of work, there was an opening for a low skill job and I was tasked with the recruitment and oversight for the project. In my own thoughtful way, I had already mapped how everything will be undertaken. Cometh the day and hour of interviews something changed; the first two interviewees to show up had not sent their applications in prior, neither did they have them at the time. The first guy went “You know, I have a daughter and I would like to provide for her, can I have the job?”. He said nothing about his qualifications, I still found myself giving him a chance to “audition”. Then came the next interviewee, a lady in her early thirties walked in and said “I’ve just left my baby in the bed, I don’t mind doing a quick interview”. In total three people showed up with no applications, in my Utopian world they deserved no chance. After a day full of interviews one of the ‘no application’ interviewees got the job. I started thinking, this did not go as planned in my deep solitude thoughts.

The experienced opened up a new side of me, I begun changing how I interact and relate to colleagues. Instead of walking straight to my desk in the morning to research on algorithms, first I’d inquire about the general welfare of other people, a few jokes here and there, then settle into work mode as we had loose chats. I came to the realization that business is a social entity, people matter as much as the product. The random smiles and jokes eased interactions and gave way for more ideas to be thrown around on the product development. They say fatherhood changes a man’s perspective on life, business does it on a grandeur scale.

Article first appeared on blackorwa.com

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