The “How to be interesting” series

The complete “How To Be Interesting” series:

  1. The “How To Be Interesting” Series (this post)
  2. The Interested
  3. How To Be Interested
  4. Belief Beverages: 3 Flavors And 3 Nutrients Of Interest
  5. Main Course: Action 6 Tastes Of Delicious Deeds
  6. Conversation Cake: The 4 Ingredients Of Interested Experience
  7. Why bondChristians Are Interesting

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Photo by RedHand

This began as a list post. A few tips, a few habits to try, you know, the normal blog post thing.

You won’t find that here.

Instead it turned into a series. Over the coming week, I’m going to add new installments to this series regularly. Here’s what we’ll cover:

~ Why it’s too hard just to be different
~ The only characteristic you need in order to be interesting
~ How to apply this characteristic to make your beliefs, actions, and conversations interesting
~ And finally, why bondChristains should want to be interesting

I hope you learn as much from these posts as I am learning writing them.

As the series progresses, I’ll update this post to provide links to each of the new posts. If you want to keep up, you can bookmark this page and get all the latest updates here. Or you can subscribe to the RSS feed, which I recommend anyway.

Without further delay, let’s get started.

How to be Interesting in a World of Different People

Too many people are different. One of my Philosophy professors once said,

“We are all the same insofar as we are all different.” – Dr. Barry

In other words, we each have our own personality, our own habits, and our own experiences. That’s what makes us the same. We are the same because we are different.

One of my favorite illustrations of this is the Indie music crowd. Indie music lovers have some odd tastes and preferences. Some like speed metal or ‘80s rock; some like country goth or hip-hop.

You’ll notice, however, that all Indie music lovers are roughly the same. They don’t want to be associated with mainstream music, which all sounds the same to them. They try so hard to be different, whether in the way they dress or talk or enjoy music, that they end up being the same.

You can see this in most rebel social groups also. Teenagers all with long hair and spikes for example. I’m not trying to pick on these groups. I’m simply pointing out a pattern.

The pattern is more blatant in these examples, but it saturates all life. We’re all trying to be different. Many times we succeed. But in succeeding, we only become like everyone else: different.

If everyone’s different, then no one is

I use to play sports at a local YMCA. They try to promote the attitude that everyone’s a winner. In sports, that’s a serious problem.

It’s impossible. If you play a sport like baseball or basketball or football or what have you, someone has to lose. That’s what makes it a sport.

The YMCA can’t have that, so what do they do?

They change the rules. Now I’m all for changing rules. I’m a maverick in that sense. But it’s not teaching kids anything about losing if you decide to not keep score or hold kids back from playing their hardest. Instead it teaches mediocrity.

People are different. We shouldn’t force it out of us.

The problem then still arises: if everyone’s different, no one is.

One way we might try to get around this is to adopt a Continuum of Speciality (that’s not a word, but it sure does sound sophisticated). A Continuum of Speciality would grant that some people are not quite as special or remarkable as others. Being special is a continuum or a sliding scale if you will. Rather than a yes / no answer, it’s like rating how special someone is on a scale from one to ten.

I agree that it seems closer to the way it works, BUT…

It’s bologna (pronounced the way it looks). The whole purpose of saying we are all special is to remove differences, but guess what? We can’t. Even on a scale from one to ten, people are different. If you’re a five and I’m a four on the scale, we’re different.

Another option is to say we all have the same ‘specialness’ but in different ways. Again I agree with the ‘in different ways’ part, but it still means we are all different, which means no one is.

That’s the problem with everyone being different. Everyone is different = no one is different.

Now unless you are going to say that everyone is interesting (which in that case, why bother read about how to be interesting?), you might start to notice that being different isn’t what makes people interesting – or at least you might concede that being different is a difficult way to be interesting.

This is all a bit confusing so let me try to be explicit. In short, everyone is different, but being different isn’t enough to make everyone interesting.

The Bible mentions many times how our downfall is when each of us tries to follow our own separate way, doing what is right in our own eyes (Judges 16:6). Here’s what Paul and Barnabas said about this:

“…We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” – Acts 14:15-16

I want to propose a solution.

Forget about being different. You are already. It doesn’t make you interesting.

If you think being different will make you interesting, shed this belief right now. Go on; reject it.

What makes us interesting then?

To be interesting, be interested. Specifically, be interested in other people.

It’s that simple. Check back tomorrow (or grab the feed) to continue this series and learn about interested people and how to be interested.

Serving Suggestions

(1) Stop trying to be different.

(2) Consider how you might be trying to be different just for the sake of being different. How much of that energy could be redirected toward serving?

(3) If this series is helpful, please pass it on to someone else. I’d appreciate it.

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