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Day 69 - An Audience too Afraid to Laugh

Saturdays are often magical things, a moment at the end of the week where we woke up without any of the week touching our morning and where we are still distant from beginning the new one. They are full of opportunity for adventures and connection. OI all of the days of the week, they are probably the one with the greatest potential and definitely the one we spend most of our time waiting for. In that spirit, I joined Dan Head for some guy time going target shooting and grabbing some pizza, with an incredible conversation mixed in.

Dan loves connecting with people and building relationships. It's a struggle he knows is very real as an adult, one of the reasons he began First Friday in Charleston, a huge happy hour event on the first Friday of the month. In those rooms filled with people, he will be the first to tell you that if you didn't meet someone there, then it's honestly your fault. He's not wrong, I've been to a couple of these events and there really is an incredibly diverse group, many just looking to meet someone new and learn about them. It's also a free event, always a plus.

Dan is a really friendly guy. His smile is clear, he looks you in the eye, he's welcoming. It's not the kind of look that comes from someone who needs your approval, far from it. Dan knows who he is, and he is realistic about people who haven't met him. You may say you dislike him, may think you do, but you also don't know him so he doesn't worry about it. It's a lesson we could all learn from, that what someone who doesn't know us thinks of us really doesn't matter. It's not to be cruel, or to trivialize others, but to just value the opinions of those who have taken the time to learn more about who we are than they could read on a business card.

We have a blast shooting and talk in between magazines. He talks to me about how this project started. We talk about relationships and how people really want to have legitimate connections, not just quick introductions right into sales mode. We share horror stories of sales calls made to us, about the clumsy language and the deception. We talk about we hung up on those calls and moved on. Nothing personal against those folks, it just didn't work. Both Dan and I value getting to know someone, to put in the time to learn about them, the work of relationships.

Dan and I both value work, and have strong work ethics in our past. We enjoy the feeling that something has been earned rather than simply acquired. Something can be genuinely enjoyed when you have put the time into it; be it a car, a home, a career or a relationship. As we talk you can see there is a sense of authenticity between us. It's nice to deal with such upfront honesty, especially in an era where we have become dangerously addicted to tribalism and being right.

That may be the most profound topic we discuss. There is incredible danger in the tribes we have formed, the bubbles we sit within, ignoring anything outside our sphere and quickly attacking those in the opposing tribe. We feel righteous in our attacks and that righteousness is dangerous, it works against compromise and, honestly, against relationships. We love to be right and we attack those who might prove us wrong. I tell Dan that the greatest ability I have in developing relationships is knowing I am wrong more than I am right. He nods, we both understand.

Make no mistake, Dan and I don't agree on everything. We even find some of those points while we are talking, but it doesn't matter. We spend a couple of hours together, Dan's a nice guy, we have common ground. So is it really important to let philosophy create a battleground between us? No, it isn't. Tomorrow politics will change, climates will shift, but he will still be a good guy who cares about his family, is dedicated to his work and devoted to his friends. We could find tribes and side up for war, but my tribe has always been made of my friends, not of my political expediencies.

As we talk Dan tells me one of his favorite quotes from Voltaire, "God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh." It is very true. So much is funny, so much is trivial, and so many of us are afraid to laugh, afraid to take the time and not be focused on crushing our opposition. It's sad.

I'm glad I got this time with Dan. It was good, it was fun and it was the start of a friendship. He is a smart and insightful guy. It would be a shame to let some differences of opinion prevent us from getting to know one another.

Favorite Dinosaur: Pachycephalosaurus

Why: It best describes mankind, butting our heads all of the time. It shows what happens when you only look at things through the way you think and block everything else. It is also the name of a song by one of his favorite bands, Showbread.

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