“If there’s one thing that binds us together across time and borders, it is our common endeavor to survive against nature , and sometimes even each other.” – Cody A. Mann
My 17 year old son wrote this line toward the end of his English essay on Three Cups of Tea. In addition to being very proud of that young man, his quote struck me as very relevant to what is going on in the world today.
Man was born to connect. He is biologically hardwired to connect with others. Did you know that?
There is growing evidence that our social nature – our connections – are what have allowed us to dominate as a species…and that the more resilient humans – the bloodlines that last the longest and run the deepest in history – are the ones who are more socially intelligent and adept.
Being social, or said another way, the ability to connect with other humans, is a damn powerful skill. Think about all the times you meet someone random, and then at some point, you feel a connection to them that runs pretty deep, even though you can’t put your finger on why.
We follow, do business with, and believe in the people we have connections with. But get this…
“We have a massive blind spot for our own social wiring. Humans are adapted to be highly social, but the organizations through which we live our lives are not adapted to us,” explains to Matthew D. Lieberman in the book, Social.
This means that most people, most organizations, and even our most basic institutions are not structured to support the sacred skill of human connection. Just look at how transactional our society has become today. Connections are so casual and shallow.
And if you can’t say it in 140 characters or less, through a mobile device, no one says it.
Here is the good news…
If you accept and integrate this reality – the importance of connection and the fact that hardly no one pays attention to it – you have a tremendous strategic advantage over others.
I’ve done a lot of work and research in this arena of connection, as a Green Beret, author, trainer, and entrepreneur. I’ve achieved countless strategic outcomes (financial, military, policy, advocacy, educational etc) by making connections with other relevant human beings.
I encourage you to do the same.
Two of the most powerful ways to do this are through listening and storytelling. Not, only are they the most timeless forms of communication; they trigger the brain’s happy chemicals of serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin which are essential to human connections.
Listening, really listening, is a skill. Think about the people in your life who were good listeners. How did they make you feel? People who listen well validate our identity and make us feel valued. This promotes a major connection.
Storytelling is very similar. When we tell stories we impart important details into emotional context in a way that adds meaning and memory to our life. And that leads to powerful connections. According to the late Steve Jobs, storytellers are the leaders of these troubled times.
The world is going to continue to get more complex, impersonal, and data-saturated. The leader who can make authentic connections across time and space in this sea of chaos is the one who will lead and dominate the 21st century.
If you haven’t worked with me on learning to make connections, I hope you will.
Follow me on twitter, check out my website, and read my book Game Changers for a good start on how to make powerful connections.
Until next time, Keep Leaving Tracks,
De Oppresso Liber,