“Well, I suppose one ought not to employ a magician and then complain that he does not behave like other people,” said Wellington.
– Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
When we hire people, or ask for advice, or make friends: we value them precisely because they are different from us. They bring new skills to bear, have different experiences, different mindsets, unfamiliar ways of defining and tackling problems. We limit their ability to help us if we treat them as “me but also good at X.” We must be prepared to be surprised, and to go along with something that seems pointless, dangerous, or otherwise unappealing.
We must allow the full strangeness of other people to be exercised or we will miss out on the possibility of genuine improvement, interaction and cooperation.