A very common time management approach today goes something like this: "only answer emails from the 'most important' people that can help you advance your agenda. And only write people or meet with people when you have a specific ask. Similarly, expect the same from others. In sum, don't waste people's time and don't let others waste yours." I assert this because this is exactly what a Silicon Valley billionaire told me.
Two years ago I responded to an intriguing email from a current student of my alma matter. He wanted some advance, but we had basically nothing in common. Fortunately, I was starting to believe in the beauty of "random," "unexpected," and possible "unfocused" meetings. And that was one of them. We talked for an hour about such a huge range of topics about life, law, tech, doctoral programs--the entire gamut.
Recently I got to spend an hour with this really interesting person who wanted something pretty simple--some advice about figuring out what he was passionate about. We walked and talked; we came up with an action plan how to meet the right people and learn the right things; and I made some introductions for him.
Well, he's not figured out exactly what is next, but he's decided to do something radical in his career and dive into technology. He emailed me to say:
This all has been possible because you answered the emails of a total stranger -- who was really confused a few years back on how to pursue his passion.
This kind of fruit most often happens from random encounters--from connecting with people who don't exactly score highly on your "why am I meeting with you meter." But this encounter proved so encouraging to me--that investing in those who can give you nothing back is truly the most rewarding--and may have a role in helping him find his calling.
Would you join me in taking random meetings? I promise it can change your life.