Getting Ready to Eat an Elephant
Every time we meet up like this, it reminds me that meaningful encounters are often a result of our willingness to step into the unknown.
I sit down across him looking at the menu, a fusion of Mexican and Korean cuisine, while he is ogling his Nokia for God knows what. It has been quite a long time since we did this, I tell myself.
When we go out, there are always odd looks about how we could be related: a young woman in her late twenties and a more mature Chinese man. We always seem to be a subject of fascinated eyes from the staff after hearing our often lively (I would like to believe) intellectually stimulating banters about life, relationships, business, and economics. It would seem like as if, they too wanted to share that space, almost always staying closer to follow our conversations.
I like the restaurant we picked that afternoon: wood, hints of orange, pink gladiolas in a mason jar, graffitis – rustic meets modern. I am excited about how these two cuisines fused together will taste.
We start with our usual how are you’s and what’s new and he begins by telling me about his recent ventures. He has always loved challenging the norm and he realises how sick he feels seeing the same ideas over and over again. In the many times he has attended business seminars and served as a panelist in most discussions, he remembers just a few ideas that contradicted or challenged old and existing business models.
My thoughts trail back to the movie I watched just the night before titled Local Color. The main character Seroff, a great painter turned vodka enthusiast and profanity specialist is approached by an 18-year-old student who despite his homophobic Russian father who doesn’t understand his love for the art insists on becoming his understudy.
In one of the scenes, while the two visit an art contest that assigned Seroff as the judge, a similar incident happened. Seroff launches into a fit of licentious oration. He expresses his mildly intoxicated disappointment how he cannot see anything new or moving.
Every time we meet up like this, it reminds me that meaningful encounters are often a result of our willingness to step into the unknown. To trust even before you see a hand is reaching out on the other end of the spectrum.
It wasn’t long ago that I fell in love with the entrepreneurial world and in my quest to uncover answers and quench my thirst for further learning, I found myself asking friends who they thought would make a great mentor. The rule of successful entrepreneurship they say is to find good if not great advisers or mentors and be aggressive in actions not only in ideas.
When I got his name, I googled for his email and wondered if he would ever reply or dismiss it. At that time, he was the Program Chair for the Engineering department in one of the top universities in the country and teaching business at the local state university. I wondered then if he had time.
Eventually, he replied and he invited me to one of his lectures. Our first meeting was that of old acquaintances always engaging and motivating. After that, random lunches and long drives. Four years forward, with too many heartbreaks in between, we were still the same.
Our meetings always prove to be productive, because we always bring home new ideas that impact our views about business and life decisions. There’s always that warm, uplifting feeling our lunches leave behind. He always coached me to consider the pre-requisites and impacts of my decisions. And I, on the other hand, always tried to rebut what was unconventional which then works better. After all, he always believed in innovating or else what should be the point of reviewing related literature if not to prove something has not yet been done.
But today is different.
Today, I would talk about my ventures in the online sphere where businesses take client relationships from the online world to real life. He had done the same but with a limited view into the multitude of possibilities that awaits whoever steps into it.
This time around, I am the teacher and he; my student.
He gets intrigued and curious to know more. This openness in him is what I’ve always liked about his company. We may at some point clash on some matters, as it is essential in strengthening our most valued relationships, but he always remains open to new ideas. Unlike listeners who only remain to listen, he ventures out and applies what he learns… a quality he and I both share.
Today, we agree about taking a journey together where he reignites his passion for writing about what matters most to him. I will guide him this time around and show him the possibilities of exploring this virtual reality.
So I set up a free Wordpress site for him in a jiffy, find a suitable theme to focus on his content and publish 2 articles from the countless samples he sends me on the spot.
Today, my master becomes my student. Who knew roles can be reversed. Life is a wheel indeed. An open mind is always a vital requirement for the wheel to turn.
If business, entrepreneurship or SME’s interest you, you can explore his musings here. He writes deeply on matters concerning how these two impact daily life.