25 November 2019

Alexander Miller: Finding the open door

Part 1: This is the first blog in a series by 2019 scholarship awardee, Alexander Miller, where he shares his perspective on joining our community. He’s about to attend his first meeting with his Collective Intelligence team in just a few weeks’ time.

“Are you looking for the next ‘open door’ in your life?”

It’s the kind of question that we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis. For the record – this isn’t a literal question, we aren’t looking for actual doors. Instead it’s about looking for the next opportunity to extend ourselves in the most meaningful way possible.

As I’ve wrapped up my time at the University of Canterbury, I’ve found myself in a pivotal moment in my early twenties and I’m thinking, ‘What can I do to make the most of my time each day? Where do I want to be a year down the track? And how about the next five years?’

Ultimately it comes down to looking for up-and-coming ideas, seeing how we can better ourselves, and how to make the most of the precious time we have on the planet. It’s pretty useful to reflect on the progress we’ve made in our lives thus far – even just to see what we’re capable of!

Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Harv while I was in Hamilton for a start-up weekend. He introduced to me the idea of the Collective Intelligence community. I hadn’t heard of anything like it before, and it intrigued me! That weekend made me realise how interesting people and their ideas can present themselves – even when we’re not looking for them.

But maybe you’re actively looking for the next opportunity in your life, and it’s not quite enough? You’ve been searching for something to really make a difference, but you’re not feeling there’s substantial progress…? So perhaps, the better question to ask yourself could be:

“Am I able to see the next open door in my life?”

This isn’t always true, as it’s not always easy to see opportunities for self-improvement on our own. We need our communities, our family and the help of others to allow us to see from another perspective. It may be that we need to take very gradual steps towards the next turning point in our lives – it doesn’t always happen overnight.

It makes sense that a community like Collective Intelligence is invaluable. We need a broad range of perspectives and opinions to figure out what’s best for ourselves. At the same time, we can help provide the same support for those around us – bringing ourselves up together is truly the way forward. Doing that kind of thing in an open, honest environment allows us to do so without filters.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

I enjoy this quote for a couple of reasons. It’s from Alexander Graham Bell (who I happen to share a name with), and it highlights to us the fact that opportunities are already out there. The door has already opened, and it’s up to us to pursue it. It also reminds us that dwelling on the past is often our default behaviour, and we need to consciously fight against the instinct to take the easy way out.

It’s great to be actively looking for ways to better the lives of those around us, and our own wellbeing. We can’t do this on our own, and we need to work together as a community to lift each other up in life. Use your own resources, the support of others around you, and most importantly, share in the success that mutual encouragement and critique can bring.

From what I’ve seen in previous and current Collective Intelligence members, it looks to be the ideal place to foster this behaviour. I’m yet to meet my team for the first time and I already feel extremely welcomed. I have no doubt that this is the right ‘door’ for me, and that we can bring out the best in each other!

Alexander Miller – November 2019

Connect with Alexander via LinkedIn.

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