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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

September 20, 2016

On Being Interested

Submitted by Daryl Buchholz

From the Author's note of Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins:

During my first year on the Stanford faculty in 1988, I sought out emeritus professor John Gardner for guidance on how to become a better teacher. Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, founder of Common Cause, and author of the classic text Self-Renewal, stung me with a comment that changed my life.

"It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting," he said. "Why don't you invest more time being interested."

Now Collins used that quote to say that he had truly grown interested in understanding the workings of the social sectors. But, for me, this rather simple quote spoke volumes. If I practiced this in meeting new acquaintances, in studying and understanding new concepts, in continuing to develop myself professionally, in working with partners, in understanding my family, I'd be a better teacher and a better person.