Remember the games you used to play at your birthday party? Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs … I don’t know about you, but my favourite was the Treasure Hunt. We’d follow the clues (and in some cases, if Mum had enough time, an actual map!), decode the cryptic puzzles, and eventually, triumphantly find the goodie bag – stashed away in some secret hidey-place with a big ‘X’ on top of it! Eating the treasure (usually chocolate gold coins) wasn’t nearly half as much fun as finding it.

I told a friend recently that even though I’m not eight anymore, I’m still a treasure-hunter.

He’d been saying how hard it was to engage with certain people at work. ‘They just aren’t very interesting to me; I don’t see what we have in common and they’re so closed off that it’s hard to build any bridges.’

‘Think of it as a treasure hunt!’ I suggested. ‘I like to work on the basis that every single person I meet will have a hidden gem. Some interesting nugget that will surprise me, delight me, or teach me something. You just sometimes have to do a lot of digging to locate it.’

And it’s true. Everyone has layers. People aren’t only their exterior appearance, accent, ethnicity, religion, job, gender, hobbies … these things make up facets, but not all there is to them.

I’ve met old people with amazing stories, young people with engaging wisdom, nerds with fascinating, random and adventurous hobbies, poor people with the funniest jokes and clever business ideas, rich people with unexpected pasts … it’s all there, under the surface. You just have to decode the clues, follow the map, ask the right questions, and you’ll get to the treasure.

Try it with the next person you meet.

Be a Treasure Hunter.