No I’m not suggesting you start drinking a certain Mexican beer nor am I planning to opine on how you too can become the most interesting person in the world. I do, however, want to draw one point from this long-standing and apparently quite successful marketing effort.
So what does it mean this…”stay thirsty”?
For some reason it took me about 500 views of this commercial before I asked myself that question during a recent football-watching marathon. (I guess I must be in their target audience). I don’t know about you but I generally don’t have to try very hard to get thirsty. It just happens. When it does I go get a drink of something cool and refreshing and just like that, problem solved…no more thirsty.
So I hypothesized that this really isn’t about the kind of thirsty that is easily resolved with a cold beverage.
With that piece of intellectual prowess behind me I started digging further and asked, “stay thirsty for what?”. I mean you can thirst for a lot of things but not all of them will be helpful or satisfying. So I made a list of ways I’d like to stay thirsty in my life and as a leader.
- I want to stay thirsty for understanding. For me this means approaching my experiences with a bias towards awareness and curiosity versus judgement and expectation. Always open to what might be revealed if I keep seeking. I think of this sometimes as an almost playful attitude towards the problems or challenges that come along. I also want to be willing to change my views and examine by beliefs through honest inquiry.
- I want to stay thirsty for connection. For me this means building bridges to other people, even those with whom I differ or have a conflicting point of view. I want to learn with people from different cultures and those with dissimilar backgrounds or experiences to my own. I want to relate to people on a personal as well as professional level and bring empathy, authenticity and encouragement to our experience together. I want to be a part of a great story that we share and add to our collective memory.
- I want to stay thirsty for knowledge. For me this means actively seeking new ideas, learning from the experiences of others, experimenting with new approaches and investing in my skills so that I grow my capacity to lead and make a positive impact on the lives of others. It means working hard to master my craft while also challenging my paradigms with forays into art, literature, philosophy and other disciplines not directly related to what I do for a living.
- I want to stay thirsty for challenge. For me this means stretching beyond my self-imposed limitations or the artificial limitations placed on me by others. I may do this in small steps or giant leaps but every time I push myself through something difficult I know it makes me stronger and more confident in my abilities. This stretching works best when I seek it on my own though I also benefit from striving to meet the challenges others place in my path.
I’m still working on my “thirsty list” but I think this is a pretty good start.
What would you put on your list?
I’m also thinking this could be a pretty good mantra to put on my wall or screen saver or somewhere to remind me that I need to stay thirsty.
Maybe with a picture of the “most interesting man in the world”?
Well that does if for this post. I think I might need a beer.