“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.” Oscar Wilde

"Your bag is 7 kilos over the weight limit, that’ll be an additional $200.”

After traveling all day from Northern Zimbabwe, I was flying out from Harare International Airport on a late night flight to Amsterdam. I had packed in a rush and didn’t have time to consider whether my bag was overweight.

As I sat there pondering how to get around this issue and trying to negotiate with a non-negotiable airline clerk, a familiar face grabbed my bag off the scale and said “Come on, we can switch things around to get under the weight limit…”

Unnecessary. My friend, who I thought had already left, went and parked the car and came inside to see me off.

He wheeled my bag off to the side, repacked it with me, and the bag was perfectly within the weight limit (another pair of socks and it would have been too heavy).

Have you ever had someone surprise you in a subtle, yet meaningful way? Often times, I’ve found it to be unnecessary.

  • You don’t have to communicate where you are and that you’re thinking about someone.
  • You don’t have to pay to park and come back in just to see your friend off at the airport.
  • You don’t have to re-file all of the paperwork from your company’s past bids and quotes, so they’re easy to find.
  • You don’t have to encourage a colleague when they’re having a rough day.
  • You don’t have to listen to a young entrepreneur's idea.
  • You don’t have introduce two friends who have similar business interests.

All of these things are completely and entirely unnecessary.

And yet, unnecessary things win people over. They make moments a little whacky and often memorable. When someone says, "That was unnecessary," then rest assured, you probably did the right thing.

It’s interesting, when you do the unnecessary, you often become just the opposite.

Necessary people do unnecessary things.

(photo via jesslee cuizon)