"On December 1st, my husband, my son, and I all went to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. It was snowing and cold but we had a great time, took some pictures, and made hot cocoa once we got home with the tree. Later, I looked at the pictures and was disappointed to see that something white marred a bunch of the pictures of my son. I blew up a picture to see what it was, and my disappointment turned to wonder."
The preceding photo and story was provided by a friend and colleague of mine, Diane MacKinnon. I found it quite fascinating that the source of disappointment was in fact a source of awe. It got me to thinking just how often we discard things (e.g., people, ideas, hopes, and dreams) because they appear to be flawed or blemished in some way. Worse still, how many times have we done so and never once realized what we passed up?
As business people we have "a lot of stuff on our plates." We have to apply some type of screen to remove that which is not worth our time. One such screen is the apparently flawed and blemished stuff. We don't want them but as you can see from the photo above, things are not always as they seem. How can we possibly avoid throwing out the good stuff, even when it appears to be less than worthwhile?
First of all, we cannot avoid it altogether. Try as we may, there will be times when the good things will get away. But we can be a bit more careful about "checking things out" and it does not have to take up too much precious time.
It helps to start with an open mind. Every last one of us has blemishes and flaws and just because we see them elsewhere does not mean there is more than meets the eye. Being open to possibility does not require effort at all; it simply requires a bit of consideration, rather than a quick rush to judgment.
Think of the times you did rush to judgment; surely there have been times where you later learned that you missed something of value. The next time you are impatient and looking to throw something away think back about the lessons learned. Perhaps it will inspire a bit more patience. Just maybe it will reward you in ways you had not imagined.
Curiosity Did NOT Kill the Cat
And it won't kill you either. Be inquisitive, ask questions and explore the possibilties. Curiosity never hurt anyone, but the lack of it has left a lot of folks short of their hopes and dreams.
Those flaws and blemishes are effective masks but it may surprise you what lurks beneath them. Time is limited so use your discretion, but don't ignore the possibilities just because what you see at the surface seems a bit off. Ask questions, be curious and open your mind.
After all, look at the precious gift that was right there in a blemished photograph.