Our individual journeys take us into many unexpected situations where we encounter a wide variety of people--some quite like ourselves and some very different. We cannot anticipate these meetings, but we can make the most of them when they take place. When we are courteous as a matter of course and open-minded in our assessment of the individuals whose lives briefly touch our own, we are more apt to stumble upon surprising gems of wisdom that open our eyes to new worlds of possibility. Every person we meet can affect us profoundly, just as every situation we find ourselves in can teach us something new.
To fully embrace this fact, it is essential that we acknowledge that everyone is valuable in their own way and capable of expanding our horizons. Since we never know when we will happen upon those individuals who will unveil truths before us, we should extend to all people the same generous level of kindness, care, compassion, and understanding. When we assume everyone we meet is special and treat them as such, we can develop a strong rapport quickly. By making an effort to adopt a positive attitude toward others at all times, we ensure that our emotions do not blind us to wisdom that may be lurking in difficult or distressing situations. We are accordingly receptive to knowledge that comes to us in the form of examples, advice, and direct teaching.
These brief relationships ultimately have the potential to enrich our lives in a very concrete way. But the wisdom we gain is proportional to the attention we pay to the world around us. The responsibility is on us to maintain a state of awareness that allows us to recognize when we are in the presence of someone consciously or unconsciously in possession of knowledge that will change us significantly. When we are cognizant of the potential for unexpected enlightenment, we make a habit of turning strangers into friends, thus ensuring that we are never without a font of wisdom from which to draw.