“Only a fool knows everything.”— African Proverb
Since March 2020, most of us have been working from home, and the days blend into each other and look the same. This is not the first time I have experienced this type of feeling.
My commute — New York to New Jersey — is what folks in my area call the reverse commute.While going to the office, my days began to look the same: riding the subway to a bus to a shuttle to get to my job. Have you ever arrived at a destination and not even realized how you got there? This is how I began to experience the world everyday. I stopped paying attention to my surroundings.
Because I worked a lot, the only time I would take off was for the holidays. During this time, I was a consultant and was coming to the end of an existing contract. For six years straight, I did this, until I decided to take six weeks off work to travel to Europe and visit places I had not seen before.
A family friend let me stay with her in Munich, Germany; I did not speak German, and so began my adventure. I was in a new place, where I did not know anyone, and I got lost every single day. My eyes were opened to the fact that every day is an opportunity. It just took me going on a trip and traveling halfway around the world to realize it. There are new things to experience each and every day.
When I returned to the U.S. and went back to work, I made a conscious decision to make each day different. Sometimes I would walk a new route. Some days I would take another train. Each change meant I saw something new: new clothing, new buildings, and new faces. It really impacted the way I viewed myself in the world.
But what do you do when you cannot travel? Seeing a situation with new eyes takes practice, and you can still create the opportunity to see something by not taking your surroundings for granted.
How do we do this? For me, I adopted a new philosophy of being WOQE: watching, observing, questioning, and exploring.
Let go of assumptions to open up your mind. This takes looking at yourself and understanding your be