Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Read Any Good Books Lately? March 26, 2010

“Never judge a book by its cover.” It’s a sage old piece of advice that we all have heard and most of us have had the experience of witnessing the validity of, but how often do you find yourself guilty of doing just that in order to make a quick assessment of any given situation? I think a lot of us rely on our short-hand observations in an effort to be efficient in the investment of our resources. There are a lot of opportunities within the course of a day to go deeper but we resist because we don’t have the time or the desire to exert the energy it would require. It’s easier to make a snap judgment, get in and get out and not risk the entanglement that might ensue if we were to take the time to go below the surface. But what price do we pay for the “the fly over” approach to living?

When I was in graduate school, I held several jobs to pay the bills while I put myself through school; one of those positions was as a chef for a catering company. The caterer I worked for had a solid reputation in the greater Boston area, and we did a lot of work for some very high-end events and clientele. For the most part I was in the kitchen, and did not have to interact with the guests very often, but when I did I often felt the same sense of being dismissed and disregarded as the hired help. It’s a service industry – and I was one of the hired help – pure and simple. People who in a different setting would sit beside me and eagerly engage in communication with me took a look at my chef’s coat and black pants and made the assumption that they knew all that they needed to know about the person in front of them. Conversely, I dismissed them as elitists who cared more about appearances than substance. No need to give anybody the benefit of the doubt in either direction, right? Now granted I was there to do a job  not to “make friends” but it was clear that there would be no blurring of the lines between guest and employee if the opportunity presented itself.

But I wonder what would have happened if either side extended itself beyond the existing boundaries. Who could I have met that would have had a positive impact on my life? Whose story would have moved me – who would have considered themselves lucky to have had the opportunity to meet me? I’ll never know, but I have plenty of opportunities everyday to explore beyond those same boundaries in other situations I find myself in. Maybe I would be “un-moved” but maybe I would make a new friend. Every day we are presented with opportunities to “go deeper” the question is how often are you willing to take the risk? We get out of life what we put into it. Sure we have to manage our limited resources and make investments based on instant assessments of risks and benefits everyday – but how often are we missing out on the best story we have ever heard because the book jacket is not to our liking? You never know until you crack the cover and dive in…