Lessons from the Scene: Taking an Interest in People Is a Reward in Itself

by Stanley Leary


Street Photographer
Photographer: Ricardo Liberato via Creative Commons - Website


According to Mark Twain, “America and England are two great nations separated by a common language.” He was right. For many Americans arriving in the U.K., it’s a shock to discover that American English can be vastly different from English English. When we think we fit right in and don’t stand out from the natives, it’s easy to make some embarrassing mistakes. (Don’t ask for an order “to go” at a British restaurant; it’s a “take-away.”)

As a photographer, I study people and how they act and react to all sorts of things, so that I can photograph them and show who they are. As a result, I have over the years become an armchair sociologist. I’m fascinated with people’s behavior, especially within groups.

With Relationships Come Rewards


I believe if we focus on connecting with people, the rewards will follow. On the other hand, I believe focusing on rewards, rather than relationships, is the surest route to failure.

It’s easy to tell the difference when you deal with people. How many people have you met who made you feel like you’ve been important to them? How many made you feel that you were just a stepping-stone on their path to success? Which of these did you look forward to meeting, or working with, again?

Showing an interest in other people and cultures is not only good business. It’s a more personally rewarding way to go through life.