Advertising
Advertising

Why Unexpected Friendships Can Be The Best Ones

Why Unexpected Friendships Can Be The Best Ones

Friends are important parts of our lives. They laugh with us, share their joy, make us feel better when we are down, brighten up our days, and offer genuine support and advice. When we are mature enough to become well-acquainted with our interests, we seek out to find friends who are alike, so that we could spend hours and hours talking about the same books, music or movies we like. We believe that those are the people that we would get along with since we have so much in common. But have you ever tried to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people that are different than you? There is something good in the unexpected – we can learn something new about ourselves and become a better person.

When fate brought together an illiterate prisoner and an encyclopedia editor

For some prisoners, being incarcerated brings about retrospection of their lives and a desire to change for the better. This is what happened to Robin Woods during his time in Maryland Correctional Institution. His desire to change led to quite unusual friendship with Mark Stevens.

Advertising

Woods, growing up in a housing project in Cumberland, Maryland, never really learned how to read as a result of resentment towards authority figures. He decided to learn how to read during his time in prison, which brought Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia in his hands. During one of his reading sessions, he spotted a mistake, and he felt the need to inform the editor, Mark Stevens, even though he wasn’t sure his message will reach him.

To his surprise, Stevens responded, and thus this unbelievable friendship started with exchanging many letters and later phone calls. They finally met in person after almost a decade since the first letter. At their first meeting, Woods honestly said to Stevens “I never met you until today, but I love you very much. You’re a good man.” These two people have nothing in common at first sight, yet they found something good in each other – inspiration, support to stay on the right path, and a whole new perspective on life.

Advertising

When the number one tech guy met the big-shot investor

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett in 1991, at the request of his mother, he hardly thought they would get along as he believed they have nothing in common, since Gates considered himself “a technology nerd” and Buffett as “a big-shot investor.” However, on their first encounter, they started talking and as the hours went by, Gates realized he was wrong: “We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by. He didn’t come across as a big-shot investor. He had this modest way of talking about what he does.” This friendship still lasts to this day, as they constantly learn something new from each other, challenge each other and grow together.

The key is to step out of your comfort zone

You may think some relationships seem improbable, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be great and full of love and respect. Meeting people who are nothing like you will open completely new horizons to you, and bring new perspectives to life, and many new benefits.  Break the pattern and step out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve personal growth. Be open-minded and try to experience new views. Although these kinds of friendships might not look as they will last for a long time, they are the ones that last for a life time since there is so much you can learn from each other. This can bring benefits not only to you, but to community as well, as we can see from the example of Emily Farmer (25) and McEwan Voorhees (100) who became friends as Emily decided to play the piano to elderly people at Heritage Place in Bountiful. They’ve become close friends and learned so much from each other.

Advertising

Challenge yourself to do something new every day – travel to some new place alone, and try to make friends by walking up to complete strangers and starting random conversations. Or, make use of so many meeting apps out there. You would be surprised at how many great friendships you could start once you open yourself to the possibility of meeting people who seem to not share any of your interests. Try out activities you’ve never dared trying before and by pushing yourself further, you will meet new people that will challenge and push you even more to reach your full potential.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via images.unsplash.com

Advertising

More by this author

Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

Who Says All Introverts Hate Socializing? Here’s The Truth About Introvert And Extrovert Every Time You Drink A Beer, Remember To Drink The Same Amount Of Water You’re Exceptionally Creative If You See The Correct Image (Only 1/100 People Can Do This!) If You Have These 6 Struggles, You’re Highly Intelligent 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy

Trending in 20-Something

1 One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem 2 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 3 How To Go Through College And Stay Sane 4 The Battle Of The Voices In My Head 5 How to Have the Best Spring With Your Pets

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 5, 2019

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

1. They Read on a Daily Basis

Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

2. They Attend Various Courses

Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

Advertising

Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

Advertising

5. They Have Diverse Passions

Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

6. They Love Making Progress

If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

Advertising

Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

8. They Embrace Change

A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

“We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

12. They Never Settle Down

“Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

More About Lifelong Learning

Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

Advertising

Read Next