Why Be Interesting
To limit your regrets.
So you can respect yourself.
In order to banish boredom.
So that you can leave a mark, not a blemish.
And most of all, because you can.
Step 1: Go Exploring
No one has seen exactly what you have. No one has been to all the places you’ve visited. No one feels just as you do.
Find out why.
How far to go? Roll the dice. Seven blocks it is. Take the train? Roll evens and buy the ticket. Two dice can take you practically anywhere and save you lots of time on unimportant decisions. Keep them in your pocket. They’ll help keep things interesting.
If only for a few minutes. Stroll around in the early hours, when the sunlight is a sliver. Walk to a different mailbox. Read magazines in a Laundromat. Shower in the dark. Sip hot chocolate in an alley. Reclaim your spare moments.
Each detail tells a story. And every room holds a thousand details. Look for them.
Parents hate it when kids do it.
And on and on. But try it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a simple Why? can turn into a fascinating Because.
Step 2: Share What You Discover
And be generous when you do. Not everybody went exploring with you.
Let them live vicariously through your adventures.
Do not wait until tomorrow.
Say, do, or make it now. Go where you need to be. Do not wait to be invited places. Host your own parties. Do not sit by the phone. Pick it up. Spread the word. Press the buttons. Buy the tickets and enjoy the show.
Don’t just tell. Don’t just listen. Make introductions. Set up strangers. Pass on what you know. This is how ideas snowball into events. You can be the fulcrum upon which an entire community turns.
Step 3: Do Something. Anything.
Dance. Talk. Build. Network. Play. Help. Create. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it. Sitting around and complaining is not an acceptable form of “something,” in case you were wondering.
Real life is always in 3-D. It’s always in high-definition. Outside is where the fascinating people and happenings are. It’s where you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for
If it is unappetizing: Do not eat, date, or sign up for it. If the mere thought of it is depressing: Do not major in it, sit through it, or devote your life to it. If it is not important to you: Do not do it only because it is important to someone else.
You will thank yourself.
Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it. Embrace it. Master it as well as you can. Own it. This is how to combine a sense of freedom with a feeling of safety.
Step 4: Embrace Your Weirdness
No one is normal. Everyone has quirks and insights unique to themselves. Don’t hide these things—they are what make you interesting.
Dress up. Dress down. Grab a pail for the seashore. Put on a hat only you like. Put on what makes you feel like yourself.
Sometimes the right pair of shoes can make you feel better in your own skin.
You are not wrong to be unique. You not incorrect because you are different. You should not be sorry for being interesting.
What makes you interesting makes you valuable: Only you can express what you know, do what you do, and know what you know. You don’t need a giant niche, just one big enough to plant a flag in.
Step 5: Have a Cause
If you don’t give a damn about anything, no one will give a damn about you.
A place. A person. A creature. A song. Now devote a little more of yourself to that memory.
Ask yourself: Is this the best that’s possible? Then ask: Well, what is?
And spend your time working on that.
Bring together as many people as you can to help you. Share your energy. Share your ideas. Share your cause.
And make sure you have plenty of cake. Everyone loves cake.
Step 6: Minimize the Swagger
Egos get in the way of ideas. If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.
Everything you’ll ever know is only a fraction of a microscopic dribble in the great, churning universe of information. Let this humbling fact be comforting in its enormity.
Kings and Queens. Doctors and Lawyers. Popes and Mayors and Fishmongers. Prostitutes and Librarians.
It’s not the title that matters; it’s the person behind it.
Majesty. Glory. Beauty. Balance. Wisdom. The more often you are amazed, the better your odds of being amazing. Really: How will you know how high to aim if you’ve never looked up?
Step 7: Give It a Shot
Try it out. Play around with a new idea. Do something strange. If you never leave your comfort zone, you won’t grow.
If you decide that there is more than enough to go around, you’ll find that you’re correct. The inverse is also true.
Afraid to fail? Afraid to fail and that other people might find out about it? So what if you fail? Really: So what if you fail? Would that really be so bad?
To deny a dream is to kill it in its infancy.
Don’t feel guilty for taking a shot at something. Don’t feel terrible for wanting something.
Save the guilt for never giving yourself the chance to try.
Know that obstacles scare away most of the competition. And that the hardest things are the things that are the most satisfying to be done with.
Step 8: Hop Off the Bandwagon
If everyone else is doing it, you’re already late to the party. Do your own thing, and others will hop onto the spiffy wagon you built yourself.
The smaller the niche, the less room there is for copycats.
If you want to be interesting, work with specifics, not generics.
You don’t have to be world famous or filthy rich to be successful.
You simply have to do what you do best.
Revive forgotten stories. Read old books. Dust off forgotten trends. Listen to rare music. You might find your favorite thing hiding in the woodwork.
Step 9: Grow a Pair
Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water-cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.
If you have a personal dream or a wish or a desire, know that you’re the only one who gives enough damns to see it realized.
If you find yourself working for something that feels pointless or fruitless, stop. Don’t fight for anything you don’t see value in. You’ll be surprised how many others join you in the protest.
In order to do interesting things, you need to have the freedom to explore, experiment, and innovate.
Authorities mainly work to confine, contain, and limit such behavior.
Work around that as much as possible.
If things are unsatisfactory:
Few people ever bother with that second bit.
Step 10: Ignore the Scolds
Boring is safe, and you will be told to behave yourself. The scolds could have, would have, should have. But they didn’t. And they resent you for your adventures.
If you’ve got bad memories attached to places, things, and even people: Let them go. You will feel lighter almost immediately.
Don’t return their calls or take their antagonistic bait. The only way to win their game is to quit playing along. Besides, no one is fascinated by your constant irritation.
The heinous little voice inside your head that puts you down and wears you out? Shut it up with actions that prove it wrong. Caution: This may take years.
Maybe your past isn’t perfect. Maybe it was brutal. Maybe you were brutal. Maybe you’ve got more scars than you thought one skin could hold. You can’t linger on those thoughts. You will drown in them.
After all, it’s only an interesting backstory if you can get past it.
If you’re not dead, you can still change things.