ThinkerToys: Chapter Ten: Tug-of-War

Challenge: Approaching a Stranger

Best Case Scenario:
The stranger will be welcoming and respond.

Worst Case Scenario:
The stranger will ignore you or respond in a rude way.

-time of day
-personal life

People are generally in a better mood when it is warm and sunny. People typically do not want to be bothered when it is cold and rainy.

Some people have attitudes and do not want to be bothered. Other people are very friendly and love to chat.

Certain places make it easier to talk to people such as a club, lounge, church, school, etc. Other places strangers do not normally start conversation i.e. the store, mall, park, etc.

Certain events call for social discussion.

Time of Day
A person that is tired after a long day may want to keep to themselves just as someone who woke up early may not want to be social. However, some people do like to be greeted in the morning and a nice conversation after a long day may improve their day.

Personal Life
A person may be going through something on a particular day and may not want to be bothered. A person may also be lonely and want someone to talk to him or her.

Some people are more welcoming and approachable than others.

Some cultures are more social than others. It is necessary to be aware of that. Also, different cultures have different social rules.

Each negative could be viewed as a positive. For example, under the condition of personal life, I noted how a person who is having a bad day may not want to be bothered, but instead of deciding not to try you can turn the situation around by trying to comfort the person and put a smile on his or her face.

This exercise showed me how further exploring an idea can show another view point. I was so quick to dismiss opportunities of engaging in conversation with certain people in particular situations. This exercise allowed me to see how I could turn a “negative” situation into a positive. “Negative” situations often become missed opportunities. It even seems that “negative” situations could actually be a better opportunity to start conversation. I really liked this exercise because it provided a way for me to look at a situation differently. This exercise can be applied to much more than just a challenge.

I completed this challenge at work. I work in an office where it is quiet and I sit at a desk. The only interruptions I have are phone calls. While completing this, I was very focused. Although I was interrupted several times, I was able to jump back into my thought process because the office is a relaxed place for me. I think it is important to be relaxed when trying to think because your ideas flow better. You are also less likely to filter your thoughts.


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