When I started writing this column, a question popped into my head. Why does one write a column for the Daily? Reach isn’t the reason — I’d be happy if even my housemates read this. Impact? I mean, it’s a small student newspaper (no offense). Money for sure isn’t being deposited into my bank account. Why does one type away at square keys and put those results on the World Wide Web for all to see?
That’s maybe a rhetorical question, but I’ll give one answer: I’m writing this column to hold myself accountable. I’m writing this column to prove something to myself. I’d be really happy if you joined me on this 10-week journey and, perhaps, be a part of a dialogue. But the audience of this series, the shareholders, the persona numero uno — that’s me.
What’s this column actually going to cover? Why is it called “Transferable Skills?” To be transparent, I’m not totally sure about that first one. And that’s okay. All I know is that I want to reflect on myself more openly, relate my struggles with the struggles of humanity and the issues in society. To be a bit selfish, I think I’m pretty wise. And I like doling out advice. If my words, created in random, stream-of-consciousness glory, connect with you, help you or even inspire you (in addition to serving moi), then I will have done my job.
I call this column “Transferable Skills” because (a) I’m a transfer student and (b) I think a life well lived comes from adding tools to your toolbox. Like the ability to hold two different, disparate and maybe even opposing things at once (there’ll be a lot of that!).
Here are some ground rules or pieces of advice that I hope I can stick to and that might be of use to you as well:
1. Vulnerability isn’t the same thing as oversharing. In other words, I’m not trying to be that guy who complains all the time.
2. Specificity is attractive and universal. What I mean by this is that people are more compelled when you are specific, and from a storytelling perspective, the more specific you are, the more universal you can be.
3. Curiosity killed the cat but saved the human. Curiosity is just my favorite. If you want to learn how to get out of a funk, start with curiosity. If you want to be a better listener, start with curiosity. If you want to enjoy an academic subject, start with curiosity.
4. Optimism is more joyful than truth. Truth can be gratifying. Truth is probably “right.” But if you’re constantly looking for the truth about the world, about others or about yourself, that honestly doesn’t sound too fun. Everyone hates the person who’s trying to be right all the time, but I don’t think I’m ever annoyed at anyone who looks at the bright side of things.
5. Don’t just be nice, be generous. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Be flexible, forgiving and effortfully kind.