Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 16th December 2020 reading time
Of course life isn’t really an improv show.
In business and sometimes in life we have an idea of where we want to go, where we want to end up. What ‘Everything’s An Offer’ really means is that you should take things that happen outside your control (Covid-19, Brexit, losing a client or prospect, that unexpected pregnancy) as a potential gift, rather than a threat or a thwart.
You probably already do this on holiday, when you’re playing. A few years ago my husband and I were in Graz, having a few days off. We were headed to a particular part of town to see something, but we decided to wander ‘in the general direction’ and see what we found.
We smelt the offer first – a lovely, fruity, alcoholic whiff from what what looked like a garage at the bottom of a block of flats. Then we saw the stills it was coming from. We stopped and looked into the door of the ‘garage’ to see if we could make sense of it; spoke to the guy loading up a van. He pointed us across the road to the distillery shop. Hazelnut schnapps (among several delicious flavours). An offer we couldn’t refuse. We bought a bottle, then carried on wandering towards our destination.
Nassim Taleb calls this being a ‘flâneur‘, someone who walks, not aimlessly, but open to deviation that has no downside and might lead to an upside. Its a crucial element of being antifragile.
You don’t have to to take up an offer, unless it helps you get to where you want to be, or to somewhere more interesting that you hadn’t foreseen, but it helps to tell yourself “Here’s an offer. Could it help or hinder?” before you decide. The answer isn’t always obvious.