We're talking a lot about learning, of course, about trying to avoid falling into a rut, into making sure that our expertise stays current and trying to do everything we can to ensure that we're learning the right lessons from experience. I want to talk about something you might not necessarily connect to those themes, but absolutely is connected and that surprises. When was the last time that you were surprised? Look, surprises can be good or bad, we got that. A bad surprise is something you should have seen coming, you should have known about it, and now it's going to hurt you because you haven't prepared to deal with it. Now that's not always true, sometimes there's a bad surprise that comes out of the blue, and that's a terrible thing. But often if there's a surprise in a business context, maybe we haven't done enough thinking about early warning signs and other things like that. A good surprise, and I like good surprises, is something new where you've learned something that maybe you didn't know before. In fact, you've learned something that you had no idea you are about to learn, that's the best thing. It's a chance to learn something that you never expected to learn. Good surprises are good. I mean, they're great. How can we rack up the score in good surprises? How are we going to get some more? Here's some ideas. Getting the deal flow. Deal flow is a term people use in business for acquisitions, for venture capital, for many things. But now I'm thinking about deal flow in terms of creating opportunities for you to be surprised, and that requires you to get out there and start meeting people, new people. It's the same principle at work here. You want to generate a variety of experiences and interactions because you never know when something unexpectedly good is going to happen. This is exactly what deal flow is in a business sense. Let's say you're a venture capitalist and you want to invest in companies, or you're an angel investor. Well, you want to see a lot of companies, you want to see a lot of ideas because you don't know which is going to be the right one or which is going to trigger something special for you. It's the same thing when it comes to surprises. You want to generate a variety of interactions. I mean, it's a bit like an unstructured experiment, but to keep it manageable, make sure the experiments costs very little. In other words, if you want to understand how people in your company are coding, for example, when you're in marketing, just take an introductory Coursera course in coding. It doesn't costs you a lot of time and energy and you can start to understand that a little bit. Look for ways to expand that thinking. Stop focusing on "best practice" and boy, I know a lot of people are wondering, "What is he going to say now? That doesn't make sense. We know best practice is great." I actually am not the biggest fan with best practice. You're going to take that with a grain of salt. Anytime you can learn from someone else and learn from the best, of course that's a good thing. But my experience has been that if we spend all our time on best practice, those best-practice practitioners, if you will, are going to be on to the next thing by the time we finally started to catch up. So trying to catch up with others and what they're doing is no way to really learn new things because they're already going to the next one and the next step. It's not that best practice is awful, but the best you're ever going to do by focusing on best practice is catch up to others. That's not what innovation is, that's not what creativity is, and that's also not going to enable you to get these surprises that I'm talking about. Break up your routine, of course, walk or drive to work when you go in or on a different route, have lunch or coffee with someone, maybe you don't know. People have done that and do that. I think the more we do it, the better. You can easily brainstorm many other ideas like this. I mean, there are a lot of things you can do, but just remember that you want to put yourself just a little bit out of your comfort zone to see what happens. Nothing radical for this purpose. You don't want it to take too long. You don't want it to cost too much or be so different that you don't have any contexts or a way to connect it to your own life and your own work, but you want to be open to it, and just a little bit, push yourself a little bit out of that comfort zone. Finally, since we know that whatever we measure we pay attention to, why don't you keep track of those surprises, no matter how small they might be? I've started writing them down, a whole bunch of them, and when I go back to take a look, and the truth is I really should do that more often, but when I go back to take a look, it always brings a smile to my face and sometimes it helps me connect the dots for some other things as well. Let me share for you four quick ones for me, four quick surprises that happened to me. So I gave a presentation the other day to a group of executives over Zoom, no big deal, that happens a lot, and it's a topic I've spoken a lot about. It was about super bosses, which is the subject for Course 3 in my Coursera specialization on strategic leadership, but this time I was asked a completely different question that I had never been asked before, which was cool because I usually get the same questions, but I really had to think quickly. But it was refreshing and it was another reminder that no matter how expert one may be, there are always multiple layers, there are always interesting tangents, there are always fresh thinking possible, and then who knows who's going to come at you with a different way of thinking. Second example, not very long ago I was talking to a neighbor who happens to be the founder and CEO of venture capital firm that invests in biotech startups. Surprisingly, again, we had never talked about his business in as much detail as we happen to that day. He's a neighbor, he's a friend, but we never really got into it, and for whatever reason we end up spending, I don't know, 45 minutes standing outside talking. I'm not even sure how it happened, but it did. I learned that he truly believes that within 30 years, many of the diseases that plague us today will have treatments that will greatly alleviate suffering. I mean, it was amazing. Of course, we all hope he's right, but it was a surprise and it was like off-the-charts surprise. No idea, no way I would have known that happened, that he thought that was going to happen. That's somebody who was an insider in that business actually thought that would happen. We all hope that he's right in that prediction, but it was a surprise and it made me think a little bit differently. How about this one. In a conversation with two people active in the New York dance and theater community, one of them mentioned just in passing that classical ballet was generally considered a higher level art than theater or film for that matter, and it caught my ear and I want to know why that was. Apparently, ballet is seen as a pure artistic endeavor while musical theater is more of a mass market entertainment and therefore may be seen as a little bit less prestigious among aficionados. I mean, I was surprised and intrigued by all this and it made me wonder that if a form of art, books or music or you name it, if it's commercially viable, then do insiders think about it as less prestigious? I mean, I can go on in this topic because I find it just really interesting, but you get the picture. Surprises are wonderful because they open up our eyes to different ways of thinking. Maybe different people, certainly different perspectives on life. I can't help think that we would get more diversity if surprise became a more central part of how we think about and how we behave in our lives. Actually, I think we'd be happier. We'll learn more and we'd be happier as well. One last example, my dog, Millie, is one year old, still a puppy, and on a FaceTime call with my daughter and son-in-law, she perked up whenever she heard their voices. She had met them before, but they live somewhere else. She had met them, we were on vacation together and we were sharing a country house for about 10 days so they were together a lot, but she hadn't seen them for a couple of months after that. We were on FaceTime and when they were talking, she perked up and then when I turn the iPad screen to her, she did that little head in an angle thing that dogs do almost as if she was wondering how they got into the iPad screen. Take a look. Not a bad way to end this video, isn't it? I hope you will bring surprises into your life.