Tom Leu: I love to read.
Ricky Midway: I know you do.
Or maybe it’s more accurate to say I love to learn.
Perhaps… reading may just be a means to an end for you?
Maybe. But that’s another conversation entirely.
Tell me about these books of yours.
Well, I have lots of books. Lots of great books full of great information. But I also have several “bathroom books.”
So are these “bathroom books” anything other than the obvious?
Nope, just books that may or may not be full of great information at the time of reading.
Books that you read, uh, while in the bathroom right?
If you say so.
I’m saying what I think you’re saying.
I’m saying that I frequently have serendipitous moments in the bathroom while reading my “bathroom books.”
Serendipitous moments? In the bathroom?
Yes. I’m just passing the time while taking in a bit of reading. And then it happens. Bang!
C’mon, you’re killing me here… IT happens? That’s banging…
It’s simple. I read something that blows me away. Something valuable jumps out of the reading that I wasn’t expecting. Something that stays with me and teaches me something. And I’m thinking: “How can this be? It’s just a bathroom book?”
And then it keeps happening time and time again right?
Yeah, that’s the strange part. After several episodes of this I start to realize that my bathroom books are every bit as important as my other books. They contain the same, if not, more useful information than any other book in my collection.
So playing devil’s advocate right now… the cynics out there are asking themselves, “WTF does this have to do with anything?” Books or bathroom books, who cares?
And I’d politely say that they’re missing the point entirely.
And so the point is to read more bathroom-type books?
No. The point is to be open to discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary… no matter where you find yourself or what you’re doing. The point is to keep your eyes open for new learning that can take place anywhere, at anytime.
Whether you’re in the bathroom, the bedroom, or the boardroom right?
Okay, I think I just found one… right here, right now, based on what you’re saying.
Good. That’s the idea. Seeing things from a slightly different perspective can sometimes change everything.
Kinda like the scene when Robin Williams is standing on the desk in “Dead Poet’s Society?”
Yes, exactly like that. But it’s hard sometimes. It takes work. It takes extra effort to find the different perspectives.
But most people are very attached to their world views; the way they “see” the world is predictably the only way it’s ever seen.
So true. Which is why most are unwilling and/or unable to do the work to “see” things from any other perspective except their own. And then they wonder why many of their interpersonal relationships are so often strained.
I believe this willingness to choose to see things from another person’s perspective is technically called [double-consciousness]. Is that right?
That’s it. And I think that’s the goal with all of this. Double your observation. Take a deeper look. See beyond the ordinary; just underneath the obvious. Consider another perspective; take in some new information; risk being wrong because we all often are; have an open mind. You never know what you might find. If we all did this just a little bit more, a little bit more often, we might be able to do a lot with a little, you know?
I know. And now I must go.
To the bathroom?
No, to find the proverbial “other” bathroom. The one that few others find.
Way to go.
**More Conversations with Tom archives.