The other day, walking through Grand Central, I bumped into a friend, here on vacation with his fiancee.
I got to thinking about why New York City attracts so many tourists, more than just about any city in the world. Not because of natural wonders or even outdoor sports activities. It might be because:
- It’s different here (as in not the same)
- You can find someone to have an argument with, about just about anything
- There are fringes–cultural, educational, architectural, societal
- More than 42 languages are spoken at the Queens public library
- You can get something that’s not the regular kind
- There are profit-seekers who will happily sell you something, anything
- There are many who do things for no profit at all and will eagerly entertain, entrance and change you for the better
- You will find a diversity of religious belief like no other
- It’s changing
- The food hasn't been entirely homogenized
- People are active
- A stranger will go out of his way for you, perhaps, and more often than you expect
- There is more information per minute, per meter and per interaction
- Neighborhoods are more important than homogeneity, and co-existing is most important
The thing is, here can be anywhere. There are New Yorks going on in towns large and small, in companies big and tiny and in families that support and respect at the same time they embrace and encourage difference.
I remember ten years ago like it was yesterday, looking out the window of my office and wondering if it (all of it) was over. I remember those that suffered and were lost, and those brave enough to risk everything. Not sure we'll ever forget, or if we should.
But now more than ever, I believe we have an obligation to stand up, stand out and to do work that matters. Wherever you are, there's an opportunity to be different, with respect.