It’s like a keystone habit but for moments.
A keystone habit is a term created by Charles Duhigg that was featured in his book The Power of Habit, in Duhiggs words it is ‘small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives’.
But what if that could be applied to moments that we experience.
Sometimes all it takes is a conversation to create a shift in perspective and if you follow that feeling it could end up changing your life for the better.
Imagine you’re pretty frustrated and uninspired by life then one day you meet someone and have a conversation about aspirations that moves you. So much so that you’re driven to make changes like start a project, spend more time with friends, make time for the people you live, go for that promotion at work, volunteer or pick up a hobby you’ve been meaning to try.
Chances are you have at least one conversation everyday so that perspective shifting moment could come at any time. However, it’s also important to not be too reliant on external factors in order to drive change in your life.
If you’re not happy with where you’re at you probably have some idea (no matter how vague) of the way you’d actually things to be.
You don’t need a stranger to prompt change in your life.
Probably the most obvious life changing habit of all, yet in this society with the prominence of social media in our everyday lives it can feel almost impossible.
How do you engage with the content of strangers without getting sucked in and forgetting about you?
I find that disconnecting is key, as in closing the app or logging out.
But it is also useful to make time to ask yourself the important questions like: How does this make me feel? Or is this a valuable use of my time?
The balance between focusing on yourself and what others are doing should always heavily be tipped in your favour.
I feel much better doing hand embroidery, going for a walk or drawing than I do focusing on the lives of strangers.
It doesn’t better my life to know that you had poached eggs on avo toast for breakfast or that you just bought another pair of Manolo Blahniks.
But don’t get me wrong I enjoy that kind of content a lot but I shouldn’t be focusing on others more than myself.
The same way you could with great ease spend an hour watching YouTube videos or 30 minutes scrolling Instagram should be the same way you spend time on yourself.
It’s easy to be kind if you’re willing to care.
Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.
I’ve had days where the kindness of strangers has been enough to totally transform my day.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. It can be something as simple as saying ‘Good morning’ or holding the door open for the person behind you.
It feels good when someone does it for you so don’t forget to do it for someone else.
There are people I’ve never met and will probably never meet that have impacted my life more than many people in my life.
I love that through youtube, newsletters, blogs, instagram and twitter. I’m able to consume things that have the ability to change or impact my life on a daily basis.
It’s all down to the generosity of strangers the people that choose to create stuff and put it out there for anyone who want’s to read, watch or listen.
So there we were 2 strangers on the train sitting in first class. The train had come to a standstill as there were some issues at the train ahead.
We heard a voice over the loudspeaker suggesting that depending on our destination we should either get off the current train and travel via a different route or get the bus.
Based on where I was headed the bus was my only option and as people started to leave the train I began talking to a stranger who looked just as inconvenienced as I felt.
So we got chatting, left the train and got the bus together as we were heading in the same location.
Even though we’d just met, there was a level of comfort/familiarity as though we weren’t strangers, as if we were already friends.
Our conversation was pretty open but we were by no means BFFs, we were instead 2 strangers caught in an inconvenient situation who perhaps both thought that it might be easier to have someone else to get through it with.
We reached the point of parting around 45 minutes after we met and just like that the friendship was over.
Something insignificant yet so significant is a conversation between strangers on the train.
It’s mood changing, not from happy to sad or vice versa. But it adds something to your day when you can casually chat to someone you don’t know and will perhaps never see again.
It’s a mutual thing too because despite having never met the person there’s a sense of knowing that you’re both willing to override social norms and just talk to each other.