Over a decade ago, Coco was my student. Now she's my friend. We have the best talks. Our meet-ups are always interesting, comfortable and productive.
Why that is fascinates me. At first glance, it makes no sense that we connect. We're soooo different.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio. She was born in Beijing, China. Her first language is Mandarin. Mine is English.
I suck at art and design. Coco is an aspiring architect.
I work out practically every morning. Coco doesn't work out at all.
I played and watch sports. Coco didn't and doesn't. We don't read the same books or watch the same shows. She loves Ethiopian food. I crave peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She's not into pop culture. I watch American Idol and The Bachelor.
So why are we close? How can we have compelling talks about important issues?
I asked Coco that and her answer is the one of the best lessons ever.
"I think we have more shared values than specific interests, which shows how unimportant these interests are."
One of those values is having interests. Having things we care about. Things that drive us. Things that make our lives (and us) worth talking about. We may not be infatuated with the same things but we're infatuated by some things. And we like hearing about each others' things.
We both live ambitiously, think deeply and want to improve the world using our different interests, talents and intelligences.
I asked Coco her thoughts. "What other values do we share?"
"We never have free time because we always have too many things we want to work on.
We brainstorm ideas to help people connect more meaningfully - (your Meet-up Journal and my socialhaus.co have a lot in common)
And I think this overall North Star of believing in the ability to make things happen. I remember our conversations have been empowering since when we talk about ideas that may otherwise be crazy to others, I find encouragement and assurance.
And I loved how you would randomly reach out to, I think, the girl that started Daybreaker, just to talk to her, since I find myself doing the same."
Shared values > specific interests. So true.
By your students you'll be taught.