For the past four days I have been riding in the mountains near the lower Himalayas. Most of the other vehicles on the road run on fossil fuels. There are motorbikes, SUVs, buses and Army trucks for the most part.
I barely saw another cyclist on the road.
And while all other vehicles on the road have it much easier, my vehicle runs on pedal power. All throughout my journey I have seen people mumble the word ‘cycle’ across the windowpane of their car. If it were a bus or a motorbike, I could hear the word, ‘cycle, cycle’ in the conversation that followed after spotting me.
I could make a good guess that for another five minutes, the people would be talking about the bicycle, the challenge and the spirit of human endeavour.
After a point, I realised how natural it is for people to talk about other people!
Some people like to call it gossip.
The word gossip has a bit of a negative connotation. But can gossip not have a positive spin to it?
As I imagine it, there could be two ways how we can create a culture of positive conversation.
1) Do something remarkable, something positive so that people can notice and talk about it
2) Always be on the lookout for good things people do. Try to start a conversation based on that inherent goodness.
I believe that by bicyling uphill in such a challenging terrain, I inadvertently gave people a positive topic to talk about.
Our actions need to be engineered such that they are remarkable, sharable and worth talking about.
While we are doing something as natural as talking about other people, we should also be mindful of the culture we are creating in the process.
Next time, when you’re with friends, choose a positive aspect to talk about and when you’re busy with work, always strive to do something remarkable, so that others have good things to talk about.
We can’t help but gossip.
Let it at least be refined
Let it be inspiring.