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Life Lessons

Times Square’s Lesson on Making Great Hires

If you’ve ever been to Times Square, you might guess that thousands of people pass through there each day. And you’d be right.
The official Times Square Website puts the number at around 350,000, with more than 400,000 on a busy day.
That’s lot of people, but you can easily divide them into two groups: those who work nearby and thus are there often, and those who are seeing it for the first time.
And there’s no doubt which is which. Native New Yorkers and commuters are the ones who are rushing through, trying to catch a bus or subway. Their eyes are straight ahead, aiming to find the next opening through the crush of pedestrians. They’ve seen the sights hundreds of times, and are just trying to get home or to work.
It’s different for the visitors. Their faces are turned up to the skyscrapers and to the iconic ball that drops to bring in a Happy New Year. They’re taking selfies, posing in the street or next to the statue of composer, playright and actor George M. Cohan. Here’s his song “Give My Regards to Broadway.”
Most of all, you can tell the tourists by their eyes. They’re open wide, with wonder. There’s no pretense of being sophisticated. These people have waited a long time to get to New York (and paid the astronomical hotel bills), and they’re not afraid to show how glad they are to be there.
And as I go through there two or three times a week, I envy this sense of wonder. I try never to get bored by familiarity. I try to see Times Square through the eyes of those tourists. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.
That’s why Times Square makes me think about hiring the right person. Hire someone with a sense of wonder!
“There are only two ways to live your life,” said Albert Einstein. “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Anyone can hire a resume, someone all dressed up in a new suit with hair perfectly combed. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to make a spectacular hire, look for the person with eyes open wide, fascinated by what they see. Look for someone who’s excited and not afraid to show it.
“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder,” said writer E.B. White.
The greatest discoveries are made by people who find something endlessly fascinating in their field. It could be flowers, music, architecture, magic, history, astronomy, sports. Wonder leads to good questions.
“The secret of genius,” said writer Aldous Huxley, “is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.”
I try to keep that sense of wonder, and I hope that you do, too.
And the next time I’m in Times Square, I’ll send you regards from Broadway.


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