It’s a nice little space.
Kitchen. TV. Fancy black leather couches around a stylish coffee table. Faux-leather-wrapped cubes with a vague purpose.
And so much potential. I’m not sure why I would ever need this space, since I’ve got the same couch, TV, coffee table, hell, even the same cube, in my apartment, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
Until just now, I had no idea what was in this room and I’ve been living in this building for nearly three months, just a few-hundred feet from this lounge area. I’ve never stepped inside.
Why why why didn’t I ever come here? I was curious as to what was behind the door at the end of the hall, I just never went.
It was partially laziness, I think. It’s all the way at the far end of my hallway, and though it would take 30 seconds to walk there, I had no real reason to, which was all the excuse my lazy-self needed.
It was partially an aversion to the unfamiliar, as well. The room itself isn’t that strange and peculiar, but almost everyone else in my apartment building is Asian or Saudi, and they all know each other, go to the same school, have their cliques.
The other tenants I’ve spoken to have been super-friendly and spoke enough English for us to introduce ourselves, but this lounge, it felt like their lounge. They make dinner together every night in this room, enjoy speaking their first language for a while, study there all the time. I think they enjoy not having to deal with their own aversion to an unfamiliar setting while in that room, and I feel like me being in there would make them uncomfortable.
So that’s where I left it, for three whole months.
Would I have gotten any benefit from this room? Probably not. I like my apartment, and when I’m not working from there, I’m usually out and about town.
Have I benefited from finally taking that 30 second walk down the hallway and opening the door?
Yes I have.
Leaving something unknown ‘just because’ is never a good idea. Sure, it’s fun to have a puzzle to solve, something to strive for, but there will always be something new to discover. Another answer to pursue.
Leaving unsolved riddles out of laziness or because pursuing an answer would make you uncomfortable (regardless of why it makes you uncomfortable) keeps you stuck. You’ve got your problem to work out, and you just sit on it, so that the part of you that needs the challenge of the unknown is satiated, though without the benefit of having learned something new.
Solving a mystery, however, frees up that part of the brain for another mystery to take its place. You’ll keep on learning while making sure that your capacity for curiosity is always growing.
I try not to fall into this trap, but the world seems to invite it. I’m resolute to start catching myself when I fall into this mental stasis faster in the future.
Is there a mystery in your life that you can go solve right now?
What’s stopping you?
Update: December 16, 2016
I wrote my book on networking mostly from that newly discovered room, which was abandoned most of the day, and had a better view from its balcony than I had from my apartment.