The End of Another Year

Stephen Marino
by Stephen Marino

I was asked to write an end of year/holiday post, and have been struggling with what to write. There’s the "Year in Review" post. The "Tech Trend Predictions for 2018." Or the ubiquitous "What’s Hot, What’s Not" list that’s always just infuriating. All of these ideas bored the hell out of me, so I tried to determine: What Doesn’t Bore Steve? The answer wasn’t very encouraging, and that became what I wanted to write about. Not being bored anymore. 

As we move into the New Year, reflecting on the past and looking forward to the new, I’ve decided that I am not going to do things that bore me anymore. Everything is becoming predictable. Routine. Mundane. It’s time that we change things up a bit. It’s time to bring back some excitement. 

I’ll kick the proverbial dead horse and boldly state that I will reduce my social media consumption because it is a boring waste of time. I’ll challenge the notion that we’re not going to do any more boring work for our clients – it’s either bold and groundbreaking or we won’t do it! Not going to happen. Clients need what clients need and it’s our job to give them the best solution – and hopefully not be boring in the process.

But to really challenge myself and not be bored anymore, I’m going to do something simple. I’m going to spend more time with people. And I don’t mean quantitatively, but qualitatively. Greg just mentioned, as we sit here on the 7 AM Acela to NYC for our last business trip of the year, how impressed he was with how thoughtful our company’s Secret Santa gifts were yesterday. Our people took the time to get a gift for their Secret Santa that really reflected that person’s tastes, likes, hobby, whatever. People took the time to find the right gift and not some boring afterthought bought at the last minute.

So to be less boring, or more importantly, be less bored, I’m going to make the effort to spend time with people. I want to know more about what makes us all so different. I want to know more about why someone thinks differently than I do. I want to connect with people directly. The conversations we have may seem boring in our fast-paced, social media sound bite world, but they are actually enlightening, because you’re getting to know a person for who they really are.

I look back on this year and I realize I’ve spent too much time trying to figure out why people are the way they are through projections and assumptions. I project my own fears, insecurities, problems on them and try to explain to myself why they are the way they are. And I’ve realized what a boring waste of time this is. How much better would it be if I spent time with these people and understood them, instead of pretending I “get them” through nothing but conjecture?

Co-workers. Clients. Neighbors. Yaghoub who knows my order at Starbucks. My kids. The one or two people from my past on Facebook that I should have spent more in-person time with in the past. I’m going to spend time with them and learn about them. Get to know them for who they really are. What makes them tick. I’m not going to live a bored life anymore because I’m going to fully engage with world around me.

Being bored is so 2017. I’m going to be un-bored in 2018. And being un-bored means putting in the time and effort to spend time with people in a hopefully deep and meaningful way. Am I hoping to be enlightened? Maybe. Am I hoping to learn more about myself through others? Perhaps. Mostly, I am looking to spend more time looking in someone’s eyes and talking about whatever, and listening to them. Really listening.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re bored reading this. Put it down. Go find that person and start talking to them and get your head out of your screen. Stop reading the rants and raves of individuals and instead talk to that person and find out what’s beyond the superficial. The world isn’t boring. We are, because we don’t go out and experience it anymore. In 2018 I pledge to be less bored and more engaged.

Now I’m going to get an early start, put this post away, and talk to Greg about his new granddaughter who’s visiting from California. That way, when I walk into my 11 AM meeting, I won’t be bored, because I’ve nourished my soul on something that really matters – the stories a grandfather tells about his granddaughter. I’ll be coming in energized and refreshed after connecting with a friend. I’ll be a better professional because I spent the time being a better person.

And a better person is never boring.