Being Human


I am walking down a dark street in Glasgow at night, with my head down to avoid the wind and rain, I look up and I see a group of four young people walking towards me. As I register them, my mind makes some quick calculations.  They have hoods on, and they are talking loudly and boisterously. As I look up, the one on the far left looks up at the same time and looks straight back at me. I sense danger. At the same time this happens, another thought registers. I cannot assume that because they are dressed like this and acting this way they are potentially anti-social and violent.  If everyone thought this way and then acted on it, how would this affect the way they saw themselves? And how would this lead them to behave?

So I force myself to look up at them all, look them in the eye and to relate to them like they are normal kids, good people. But I feel anxious at the same time. As they walk closer towards me, they are louder and falling around the pavement; they are coming close. Suddenly the first one who met my eye lifts his hand up and sticks it straight up in the air; “High five” he says. This is bad. This isn’t what I wanted at all. I didn’t want to have any interaction. I don’t want to engage with them, I don’t want to have to risk contact followed by some kind of incident. I feel vulnerable and more anxious.

But then I make a decision and take a leap of faith. It’s a small one, but I don’t know what the outcome will be.  I feel like I want to trust, and I want to live in a world of good people who are friendly and open.  I put my hand up and we high five.

Robot - Being Human - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

I feel good. Someone else from the group shouts out that they want a high five too, and I high five with them.  I think they feel good that someone has high fived them. I think we all feel good, and perhaps just a little more connected, a little more human perhaps. I feel slightly euphoric that my risk has paid off and it’s been a good outcome.

In my mind, I thank the guy in the group for having the courage to reach out; I don’t doubt that took something on his part. He put himself up for rejection. I hope he feels good too. It reminds me, that sometimes it’s good to take a risk to be more human, to reach out, and to be vulnerable.

I know it’s only a small one, almost imperceptible to most people, but I wonder if I could take more small risks every day to be more human and more vulnerable and perhaps connect with people more beyond how I tend to conform to situations. I notice that at the time just before high-fiving it feels like a big risk, a really big risk. Sometimes to be ‘non-professional’ at work seems like a big risk too.

It makes me think, what opportunities do I have with the people I work with to be more open and more connected as a result? What else could I risk to be a little more connected with people? Is there something I could disclose about myself, or some way that I am feeling at that moment that might strike a chord with someone else?

I am so euphoric and lost in the excitement of new possibilities; I miss my turn back to the hotel and suddenly find myself on the wrong street.


James Hodgkinson - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Blue Sky Performance Improvement


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