If you want to be more interesting, you should take a page out of Benjamin Franklin’s book. The man could have starred in his own “The Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials. Then again, he was too busy pursuing his interests anyway.
First of all, I have a confession to make. I’m the biggest commercial fanatic in the world. My oldest daughter and my youngest daughter are charter members of the I Hate Commercials fan club, so they think I’m a complete loon (probably not the first time), but I am fascinated with commercials. When a favorite television show goes to commercials, for me, it’s like, “Let the fun begin!” I love to see which commercials I think are well done (Michelle Wie’s Kia commercials, the most interesting man in the world commercials for Dos Equis, Hardee’s “Ugly models don’t sell” ad – brilliant! The model’s face when she says, “It’s true” gets me every time.) I also love to poke fun of the ones that are lame (messing with Sasquatch…. seriously? I wish I bought what they sold just so I could stop.).
Anyway, there you have it. My confession for the day. When everyone’s running out of the room to grab a snack or check Twitter, I’m in my element.
Recently, my husband and I were watching a fascinating show on another obsession, The History Channel, about Benjamin Franklin. Now, with all due respect to the hilarious “Stay Thirsty, my friends” guy, Benjamin Franklin truly was one of the most interesting men in the world. Here’s the thing we can take away from his life: He was interesting because he was interested. In just about everything!
As the narrator went from one of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and areas of interest to the next, I couldn’t help but be impressed. To the tune of staggeringly impressed.
Benjamin Franklin’s Inventions and Credits:
- Lightning rod
- Franklin stove
- One of the first to successfully chart the Gulf Stream
- The first to explain how electricity works.
- Swim fins – perhaps a precursor to foot flippers. Ben Franklin loved swimming and was even inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968.
- Glass armonica (because of his love of music, this was his personal favorite invention)
- Flexible catheter – invented due to his love of his older brother, John, who suffered from kidney stones
- “Long arm” for reaching books on high shelves – still used in books as well as stores
- Credited for being the first to suggest Daylight Savings Time
- Fire Department
- Credited with creating the first political cartoon
- Years before Dr. Oz, Franklin touted the benefits of fruit, particularly for maintaining gums and skin.
- And who knows what else!
I also couldn’t help but think about the many people who claim that you have to ENGROSS yourself in your work or field of interest – to the exclusion of just about everything else. Benjamin Franklin is proof that you can (and should) have as many interests as possible. No wonder Franklin had such a busy social life, imagine how interesting he must have been!
Have you ever been around people who seem to have one train of thought? Each conversation with them seems like the one you’ve had before. One of my daughters once had a friend like that – the conversations were brief and they revolved around the same subject, the individual’s work. F-U-N! I told her to do everything in her power to give this friend more interests – drag him to movies, force books into his hands, turn him onto sports, take him to different events and places of interest… basically OPEN up his world because his enclosed one isn’t very interesting.
I’m surrounded by a lot of fascinating people in my life, thanks be to God. A few days ago I was walking with my youngest daughter and I believe we covered 8 different subjects within 30 minutes. We talked about Angels, canning pickles, Donald Trump, making money with blogs, Albert Pujols, robins, PETA, and… oh yea!… sushi. We didn’t exactly solve any of the world’s problems, but (like Pujols) we covered a lot of bases and had some very lively conversations.
We’ve always tried very hard to make sure that our daughters look at the world through a wide lens. We’ve exposed them to many different types of music, books, and experiences. As a family, we always traveled a great deal and made sure that our girls paid close attention to each place they visited. I’d often tell them, “Take it all in.” Even today, they love to go different places, see different things and “take it all in.” I’ve gone overboard sometimes, I’m sure. In fact, whenever they got into a rut of listening to one type of music or reading one genre of books, I’d always insist they branched out and gave the rest a chance!
One of the things that made me commit to raising my daughters to view the world as a wide open field was an experience I once had with one of their little girlfriends. This little girl stayed with us a few days and I was floored by how little she knew. She was a bright little girl but by sheltering her, her parents had put a heavy shade over her light. When my girls would try to talk to her about something they were studying in home school, she’d crinkle her nose and say she didn’t know anything about it. When she didn’t know what an Underground Railroad was, two of my daughters wrote her off while the third ran to a shelf, retrieved a few books and began explaining it to her.
When my girls were really young and they were learning something new in history, we’d use their Barbie dolls to “act out” the story. I wasn’t surprised when, after getting the books she needed, my daughter ran to the back of the house and brought a box full of Barbies. The history lesson was about to begin!
It’s perfectly understandable for a young child to have a fairly limited knowledge – after all, they can only do so much to take the heavy shade off of their light. However, when it comes to adults, they’re fresh out of excuses. Seriously, is there anything more painful than trying to carry on a conversation with someone who has only one or two things they know anything about? The only thing I can think of that’s worse is the individual who is so self-obsessed that not only are they the only thing they can talk about, they’re the only thing they want to talk about.
It reminds me of a line in an Emily Dickinson poem, Not knowing when the Dawn will come, I open every Door.. Open all the doors you can and let in as much life-giving light as you possibly can.
I’m sure you see it coming, so I might as well roll with it… Stay interesting my friends.
Make each moment more interesting!
** For those of you who haven’t seen the commercial I’ve referenced here, you probably think I fell out of my tree and hit ever limb on the way down. I apologize for that! If you search for “the most interesting man in the world dos equis” on YouTube you’ll see that I’m still in my tree. Maybe not on the top limb… but that’s another story.