The Rule Of 500

A comment, an observation, a word of encouragement, an offer of resources: It’s amazing how much impact a chance conversation can have.

Mosaic bead looping work in progress.

The morning and afternoon workshop sessions at Wisconsin Spin-In were separated by a four-hour gap, giving me plenty of time to linger over lunch, shop the vendors and visit with some friends. Finally, though, I found the corner of a table where I could work on a small bead looping project. When the mold jumped out of my hands and flew at two women seated nearby, they took the interruption gracefully and folded me into their company. Before long, we had found common interests in adult education, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Moodle (the Learning Management System I use for my online courses), and more.

On the drive home, a story from years ago came to mind. Back when my husband and I still had our whitewater canoe and kayak school, we had a student who was the director of a camp program in northern Minnesota. He’s the one who told us about the Rule of 500.

You can make a profound and positive impact on another life at least once in every 500 contacts — and you never know when you’re at 499.

I’m still mulling ideas sparked during that conversation at Spin In. Where those ideas may lead, I’m not yet sure. But I do know I feel like someone’s #500, and grateful for the wonderful, generous people you meet at fiber events.

Has a chance encounter had a profound and positive impact on your life? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments.


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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin