Generative conversations are an important part of the practice of learning- and they’re a practice in themselves. A generative conversation is one in which the participants build on each others’ ideas for the sake of the exercise.
The most interesting generative conversations happen when people who see the world in different ways come together. It’s a powerful form of unstructured learning.
Worldview: Human connection above all else
Prioritize human connection in real life, in person, in real time. Actively make choices that reflect this prioritization. The person right in front you presents the most unique and time sensitive experience.
It’s an experience that you can’t just have later, because it’s happening right now. As such, it takes precedence over other tasks that are not bound to time or the present moment in the same way. This also means that it outranks efficiency and productivity.
If you view the choices you make about how to spend your time in a given moment through the lens of valuing human connection, you’ll foster a life with opportunity and space for generative conversations.
This principle is not always practical to follow, and you do have to also practice knowing when to lean into this and when to lean out. There are of course exceptions, busy days, and urgent deadlines.
The idea is to live this as much as possible, and let it bring you generative conversations.
Behavior: No goals
A generative conversation functions the best when everyone enters it without specific goals. It’s important to hold your mental frameworks loosely- even if just for the duration of the conversation.
It’s essentially a creative, improv-inspired brain exercise. Suspend your beliefs in what is possible or plausible and just let the conversation flow. And just because it doesn’t always flow to the next great, implementable idea doesn’t mean it’s not working- you have to keep practicing.
The only guardrails that should be present are some loose boundaries around the topic to keep the conversation focused.
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