He walked in with his leather jacket and fringe on his boots. He had long hair and this hard grungy look about him. He sat down right next to me, opened up his faded black backpack, pulled out a laptop and placed it on the table. He didn’t look like much of an espresso drinker, then again who does?
It was 8 am on a Saturday morning. What could this guy be doing here this early on a weekend unless he had something really important to do? He looked like he belonged to a biker club or something that required some sort of edge. But he was here, next to me, and ready for business.
As he sat down so abruptly and with purpose, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was up to. Planning out his next motorcycle tour up the coast of California? Working on a top secret government project? Writing up a business deal?
He grabbed his espresso and put his headphones in, one ear bud at a time. As he pulled up the program on his computer, something fascinating occurred to me.
What is it about coffee shops that bring people here? Is it the coffee or something entirely else?
Abstract art on the walls. Bouncy music. Sturdy tables. Comfortable chairs. The light chatter. Smell of fresh roasted coffee beans. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, however the atmosphere keeps me coming back. For those who love coffee, the environment is like the design in the froth - an artistic bonus.
We can all certainly make our own coffee at home. Why not just be easier on your wallet and invest in a home espresso machine, rather than spend 5 bucks on a latte every day? Or if you have a home office, why not take the convenient option of working from home without having to leave?
The answer is rather simple.
The community. The people. The interaction.
Humans thrive on relationships. Even if that connection is a simple exchange at a coffee shop. We like to be surrounded by other like minded people. Cafes are often a place many come to get work done. Whether that be studying, a project, or simply to read a book.
Cafes provide an environment in which you can be around other people without the stuffiness of a library. We like to feel that we aren’t alone in this world. That other people are going through the same journey with us and trying to figure it out too. At many points in your life, you’re going to struggle. You’re going to be sad. You’re going to need people to lean on. Because why should anyone have to go it alone?
The same concept applies to being productive. When you’re working really hard on something, a goal or project you intend to accomplish, why go it alone? Why sit at home with the distractions of your comfort zone, when you can go out into the world and be in the community? Your community.
Changing your environment sparks creativity. It halts procrastination. It puts you in proximity to ambitious folks. It let’s you choose human interaction on your own terms.
Maybe you just want to be surrounded by others as some sort of safety net while you work. Or maybe you want to sit in the corner hiding behind a book watching all the people as they come and go.
I encourage you to take a look around your local coffee shop and see the others who want community just like you. At the end of the day, spark relationships. You never know who you might meet at a coffee shop or how they can change your life.
So what was the fringe booted man up to? He was there for some highly important business. His goal that morning was to play tetris for four hours as he lightly sipped his espresso. But hey, he was playing hard in the comfort of community. Why does that not surprise you?
Do you enjoy working from coffee shops? Let me know in the comments below.