What would you talk about if you had a blank check for somebody’s attention? Imagine they weren’t anybody who would make major changes based on your conversation, but just someone who was genuinely interested in whatever you wanted to talk about. What would you pick?
That question might be challenging for you. Even if it’s easy, I’m guessing you don’t always choose to talk about that thing. We make so many other choices when we do have someone’s attention – so many other agendas to our conversations. So rarely do we just talk about the thing we care about.
Sometimes we have good reasons – there’s a time and a place for everything, after all. But sometimes we have bad reasons, too, like thinking that the other person doesn’t want to hear about the thing we’re passionate about. But that’s all the more reason to do it! Seek out people who share your passions, and if that means boring a few people who don’t along the way, they’ll survive. So will you.
But there’s an even worse reason to not talk about the thing you care so deeply about. Some people, for reasons I’ll never understand, want to keep their passions a secret. They have something they care about more than anything in the world, and they don’t want to share it with anyone.
For these people, it’s not about fear of rejection or social anxiety. It’s the legitimate belief on their part that their passion will become less valuable, less special somehow, if other people become passionate about it as well. If you’ve ever scoffed at someone (even in your own head) who didn’t already share your knowledge, even as they were asking you about the subject, then you were being exactly this kind of weird gatekeeper.
I hope you’ve never done that, but I’m sure you’ve encountered someone else who has. Hoarding knowledge doesn’t make you special, and information and passion can’t be diluted. They’re only amplified through sharing.
Take the leap, assume people are interested, and give them everything you’ve got.