What makes you interesting

Did you catch the trick in the title? I’m not asking: Are you interesting? It implies that you already are interesting. Even if you don’t think so (and I didn’t for a long time), you can learn about your innate ability to be interesting right here!

If you were to list 3 things that make you interesting, you probably would answer that in the same way I would or your neighbour would. The most common pitfall in reflecting on what makes us interesting is that everyone thinks about it in the same way. Which, in fact, nullifies being interesting. And this brings me to my first point:

Circumstances don’t make us interesting.

We tend to think that our circumstances are what contribute to how interesting we are. There are actually 2 types of circumstance that create the interesting trap.

  1. The ones in which we’ve had no choice (gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, childhood, etc.)
  2. The ones in which we’ve had a choice: the results we’ve achieved in our lives (roles, profession, hobbies, money, friends, etc.).

Linking our circumstances to this definition of interestingness brings about a small problem. In groups, where you share certain circumstances with others, the criteria would slowly dwindle away. For example, a group of Indian women who are in the medical profession, what would then make each group member interesting? Which brings me to my second point:

Our total circumstances may contribute to being interesting but ultimately it would be relative to others.

If you were to add up all the circumstances of each group member, even then, you might see some differentiating factors. But how would each individual stand out on their own or be unique? To answer that, we would need to veer away from circumstances to something else.

Uniqueness cannot be based on any one trait or circumstances simply because it would cease the moment another acquired it. Instead, how we interact with the world or experience it is our uniqueness.

There’s nothing wrong with viewing our circumstances as contributing to who we are, in fact, our circumstances help to bring about connection. When we relate to others because of shared circumstances or experiences, we tap into our ability to connect with others.

Circumstances are how we initially relate to others.

If you’re a woman you can relate to other women, if you’re Indian, you can relate to other Indians.

The conundrum, then, is how we connect with others while seeing our uniqueness.

Our uniqueness is determined by how we experience our world which would inevitably be different for each of us, even with groups that share multiple circumstances. How we interact and show up in this world is innately unique to each of us.

This uniqueness has nothing to do with our personalities (i.e. introvert, extrovert) either. It’s deeper than that. It has to do with how we choose to show up, behave, take action while having those circumstances and personality along for the ride (of life).

Your collective experiences of interacting in the world is entirely unique to you. You own those experiences, those stories. And everyone, including you, has a story that’s unique.

To hear about my story on what makes me interesting, head over to the podcast episode 3: What makes you interesting?