I learned about the interconnectedness of all things when I started a career in digital marketing. It didn’t take long to realize that every aspect of marketing fed into each other. Doing anything in isolation wouldn’t create the same amount of success if all channels were working in harmony with each other. Regarding strategy, I frequently preach holistic solutions, sometimes suggestions that isolate a channel to do all the work. For instance, if you were to run a campaign and only run ads on Facebook with no supplemental marketing channels, there’s a good chance the campaign would fail.
It took me a bit longer to realize everything in life is connected to everything. It’s hard to see the ecosystem in which we live, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It became apparent to me when I realized that my thoughts and my actions weren’t really mine but that of other’s perceptions and projections onto me. There’s no such thing as an original thought. Each one has been influenced by the people around us and the environment we were cultivated in. In this way, we are more like plants. We are rooted in soil that we didn’t create and attached to the watering of others’ opinions.
Oddly, we are so blinded to the fact. When someone makes a mistake or commits a crime, the blame is focused completely on the person, disregarding the influences that led to the incident. We idolize billionaires as self-made when we know that would be impossible without the help of other people (mostly their parents).
With Great Power…
Knowing that we are all connected, we must realize how much our outward expression affects others. Our words and actions have the power to influence our environment. Like Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We can use our expression to do good or to cause harm. We have a duty to others to become a bit less selfish. When something benefits us but harms another person, we need perspective to know that we are harming ourselves in the process. The same company making millions of dollars can also pollute an earth that may or may not be habitable. What was the point of all that money if we started living in an environment that looked more like Mad Max?
The same thing can be said about how we interact with one another. If you realize what you do to others is what you do to yourself, you might spend more time being kind and compassionate. You don’t want to hurt yourself, do you? You might be saying, when I give a person a piece of my mind, how could I hurt myself? The constant rumination to prove to yourself that you were right is the type of suffering you don’t need. I am curious to know how cognizant people are of decisions that affect other people. I get irritated when people of authority make decisions that affect my wellbeing without considering my wellbeing. Lashing back at the perpetrator doesn’t bring me any peace.
The Need for More Connection
We need to realize that we need each other. The same effort we use to separate ourselves from the outside world with our picket fences and security systems should be the same effort we use to come together. We only see connections from our proximity to another person and our ability to see them. If I can’t see you, we cannot connect for some reason. The same executive thinks turning on a camera on a Zoom call brings more connection than empathizing with the waiter who made a mistake or the person who caused an accident. A company wants its people to come to the office to foster connection but provides no empathy for how this decision affects employees.
We can only connect with the people around us. The people we choose to connect with, yet that person on the corner needs your empathy, too. The limitations of our sight are not an excuse not to connect. The person in Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, or Russia could use your empathy as well. Let’s expand outside of our social circles. Not our sight or proximity allows us to connect, but our mindfulness that our actions affect more than ourselves. Connection is not the ability to see someone else on a screen, but the genuine care for another person’s wellbeing. I hope we realize this the next time we say something, post something on social, or act. Who we affect doesn’t matter. The person in front of your face and thousands of miles away is the same.