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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 30-Nov-05


Wednesday 30-Nov-05


Lollygagging, or lallygagging, means to loiter, to hang about, perhaps in a relatively aimless way. I do this sometimes during the day, just to relax and also to chance my luck with whoever is passing by. I'll get up from my desk, go for a stroll, and see who I bump into and what happens next.

When I lollygag, I move into a different frame of mind, a sort of alert daydreaming, where I hang about and look about. The coffee machine is a great place to lollygag. Rather than grab and run, I think and drink. And talk with whoever's getting coffee and has time for a chinwag. With casual questions and careful listening, you can learn a lot.

When people are relaxed, they will talk about things that they won't necessarily discuss at more formal meetings. They will also be more ready to listen and have their mind changed. Even those in a hurry can be persuaded (they might agree just to get away!).

Yogi Berra, the famous baseball catcher known for his aphorisms, said that you can observe a lot just by watching. When you pull your head out of the trough of daily work and look about, it's surprising what you can see. An observant lollygagger watches body language as individuals move about and others interact. Open ears can help too. You don't always have to talk to someone to learn useful facts (although do be careful with inappropriate earwigging).

Lollygagging also helps in other ways. Getting away from the desk helps me incubate ideas and re-energizes me for the next task. I even get some aerobic exercise going up and down stairs (I work on the fifth floor). There's no end to what lollygagging can do for you!

So go on then: lollygag! Let chance be your guide to interaction and opportunity. Watch, listen, learn. And change minds -- maybe even your own.

Your comments

 So sensible, I have done much the same around my lathe and milling machine for the past 37 years. I don't have an ulcer and I don't take work home. Nobody phones me on the cellphone when I am on holiday (I don't turn it on.) I just relax, improve my mind with books and conversation like any good dilettante

-- Roy M.

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