(This post is Day 4 of 7 in the Your Turn Challenge)
You know how sometimes you see something, hear something, and it percolates in your mind all day?
That happened to me today. And then it happened again.
It started this morning when I saw this HuffPo post from Johann Hari: “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.”
If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find—the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.
Read the whole thing (no really, do; it’s powerful) and tell me if it doesn’t make you stop and think.
Then tonight, an infographic from happify.com about “Why friends are so crucial to our happiness” popped up in my email. Says the infographic, “People with strong social ties are 50% less likely to die early,” and “Doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your well being as a 50% increase in income.”
Connection. Time and again it comes back to connection.
The connection economy continues to gain traction because connections scale, information begets more information, and influence accrues to those who create this abundance. As connections scale, these connections paradoxically make it easier for others to connect as well, because anyone with talent or passion can leverage the networks created by connection to increase her impact. The connection economy doesn’t create jobs where we get picked and then get paid; the connection economy builds opportunities for us to connect, and then demands that we pick ourselves.
What matters now:
• Stories that spread
• Humanity: connection, compassion, and humility
So what do all these things mean, taken together?
I think about fish. Fish would not talk about a water economy. That is, fish would not talk about a water economy … unless they were facing a dire shortage of water.
Does that mean that what we are facing right now is a dire shortage of connection? That what we have is disconnection, what we need is connection?
Brené Brown has commented many times that ours is “the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.”
If addiction is disconnection, and we are the most addicted cohort ever, then it follows that we are disconnected. Sorely disconnected. Dangerously disconnected.
So maybe the takeaway is not that we are IN a Connection Economy, but rather, working to create and nourish a Connection Economy is the only that can save us. As individuals and as a community. As humans.
Why is it so hard? It’s hard because connecting is vulnerable. Reaching out is vulnerable. But as it so often turns out, the thing we are afraid of is the very thing that will save us.
Off I go now to send an email to some friends to invite them to get together for an evening of creating and connecting.
As E.M. Forster said, “only connect.”
Check out Pam’s books!
- The Universes Inside the Lighthouse—YA sci-fi adventure / first in the Balky Point Adventures
- The Wishing Rock series—women’s fiction / wit, wisdom, and recipes
- The Pam on the Map series—travelogues / wit and wanderlust