How often do we seek education from those that we cross paths with? Until recently I never sought out eye contact, smiles, and much less a conversation with everyday people. Since consciously deciding to put this into practice, my everyday encounters have changed dramatically. I’ve called this process, Education through Conversation.

Each of us are experts on our own lives. This can allow us to share our expertise and to also gain knowledge on the situations and views of others. All we have to do is look for the opportunity. My best example of this comes from a recent vacation. My wife and I were glad to have the hotel hot tub to ourselves as we rested from a day of hiking in Colorado. Unfortunate at the time was that a couple 40 years our senior decided to join us. I don’t know what it is about hot tubs or saunas but I’d much rather be alone in them than spending time with a stranger. However, at this point I had been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone when interacting with strangers. I felt this was a time to utilize Education through Conversation.

Maybe we could have something in common, right? Well, we not only had things in common but the couple ended up being a real live documentary. They both had traveled the world scuba diving remote boat wrecks and traversed the US multiple times on their motorcycle and side car (even passing through our little Michigan town at one point). The conversation was one of the most entertaining and educating that I had ever had. It took place over the course of a half hour and I could’ve talked to them for much longer.

I learned what it is like to stare at a sea wall from depths of hundreds of feet. He shared about his reaction to being stung by one of the most poisonous jellyfish on the planet while going for a morning swim. His wife shared how acupuncture works as she now runs a practice out of her own home. I was genuinely captivated by people who had experienced things I could only imagine.

What began as a nuisance became a highlight of our vacation. I won’t ever forget that amazing couple and the life that they lived. They served as a reminder for my wife and I to take chances, trips, go on adventures, and to enjoy one another while we do it. Not everyone you meet will have traveled the world doing incredible things. However, everyone has a story and most want to share it. Face a moment of being uncomfortable and seek knowledge from your peers. Education through Conversation.