To me, the most interesting people:
Defy convention. All their lives they were told things had to be done a certain way and they went and they found their own way. Their motivation was not to be contrarian or to rebel but rather a sincere, curious, frequently painful search for identity and happiness.
Challenged the odds. Something happens to a person when they do something everyone arounds them assures them cannot be done. Their perspective is affected and as such they affect the perspective of everyone around them.
Exhibit courage. Interesting people speak up and stand for something, take a side. They don't do something because it's easy. They often wish they could blend in, be pleasant. But, they don't agree, and so they can't. The most interesting people are accidental revolutionaries.
Question ordinary, everyday thinking without really intending to. Instead of asking what, or how, or by when, they ask why. They don't want to argue. They want to make sense of things.
Do things wholeheartedly. They do even simple things with real passion, with discipline, dedication, determination. They show up on time, follow through. It's not that they promised. It's that they made a commitment to themselves. They are internally motivated.
Are highly competent. Competency is so very interesting. How did you learn to do that? Why do you have so many answers? How can you make something complicated so very simple? Why do people who don't know what to do seem to gravitate to you?
Pursue deeply personal interests. I appreciate so much spending time with a person to suddenly find out they know how to speak Latin. Or, can make a canoe. Or, collect Inuit art. Or can roast and carve a chicken.
Are gentle. There is an elegance, a grace, a thoughtfulness in how they carry themselves. They know what the right thing to say is. They know how to listen.
Have learned the value of communicating clearly. They avoid irony, cutting remarks, being passive aggressive. I have nothing against sarcasm but I think it's unfortunate that it's so often mistaken for intelligence. I would rather marvel in what someone is saying than expend energy trying to figure out what they really mean.
Are good. I find cruelty decidedly not interesting. It's careless. I find virtue, - the earnest attempt to continuously do the right thing - decency and kindness endlessly interesting because we are all intensely flawed so there is an inherent, textured struggle in trying to be at your best.
Possess a singular perspective. I love it when my eyes are suddenly opened in a way that makes me realize I have been wrong, like I unwrapped something resplendent and clarifying.
Have a knack for changing my mind. This feels less like "you are wrong" and more like looking at a wall and being turned towards a window with a beautiful view. "Look, see? See how true it is if you look at it this way instead?"
I suppose you can pursue outside things to make yourself more interesting. I have deep appreciation for lovers of books and art and travel.
But it's the work done inside that never fails to captivate me.
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