Sometimes, leave business at the door

Patrick Keogh Head of Curation3/10/2023

When we see people as fundamentally generous and kind, our instinct or likelihood to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships, increases.

Have you ever embarked on a conversation and thought, “how do I gain from this?”, or built a relationship on the value you can personally elicit? Come on, don’t lie - we all have. We’ve all accepted a work meeting on the basis that it might further our career or land us a big deal. But how does transacting with our fellow human beings actually make us feel? Aside from the initial dopamine hit of “gaining something”, does taking from someone else ever feel as good as giving? I think we know the answer. 

In Rutger Bregman’s brilliant book, Humankind, he argues that our motivations as a species are inherently good, and that this idea has important implications for our world. I agree that when we see people as fundamentally generous and kind, our instinct or likelihood to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships, increases. My belief is that when building relationships, we should leave business at the door - always. By walking into conversations open-minded and developing relationships for the hell of it, we give ourselves a better chance of discovering real connection, deeper fulfi lment and, dare I say it, a new level of happiness.

I returned from a festival a couple of days ago with a huge sense of joy. I spent time with family and friends with no agenda, other than to hang out - eat, drink, talk and see what happened. There was serendipity in bumping into other people I knew and making new friends - sharing moments together. There was nothing transactional to be gained – no career enhancement, no deals, no investment raise, no client acquisition. And it felt good. By discarding the idea of having to acquire something, we break down the barriers to meeting brilliant new people, gorgeous and generous people who change the way we think about the world, those who might just change our lives.

There’s a reason why in times of crisis, pain, or celebration, we reach for poems, songs, and writing that capture the human inside of us. All of what we are. Human connection has never mattered more, and as Amanda Gorman brilliantly demonstrates in her poem, In Th is Place (an American Lyric), “there’s a poet in every American / who rewrites this nation, who tells / a story worthy of being told on this minnow of an earth / to breathe hope into a palimpsest of time.” A Great Gathering has the potential to connect people, places and ideas without agenda. What could be more special than that?

Patrick Keogh

Patrick Keogh has worked in media, publishing and tech for over 15+ years and has significant experience of advising large media organisations on future strategy both on a company-wide scale as well as on an individual brand level. Patrick set up the Faber Academy, Guardian Masterclasses and has consulted with a number of global brands including Google, Conde Nast and Time Inc. He is Head of Curation for Huckletree - one of the UK's leading workplace accelerators, the Festival Director of Earthrise Summit, and the Chief Content Officer of Marble - an award winning experience agency. He was the Managing Director for CogX 2019 - Europe's largest Festival of AI and Emerging Technology - and he is part of the founding team at PlasticFree - the world's first and only materials intelligence platform. He was selected by the Evening Standard as one of London 1000 Most Influential People.

Related Posts