Craving real connection in a connected, disconnected world

We are more connected than we have ever been.

Despite a lockdown that has affected the lives of billions of people, all over the world people were able to “work from home”, taking advantage of recent developments in technology to contribute to workplaces and remain productive in ways that would have seemed like science fiction just a few short decades ago.

In some ways, the unprecedented level of connection — which started with the World Wide Web through the 1990s, led to the birth of global social networks in the 2000s and became, in the past decade, an existential crisis as the threads of technological connection left democratic societies vulnerable to the influence of hackers and malcontents — has left us bereft, overwhelmed and confused.

With added irony, all the connection has led to massive disconnection.

A wise boss once told me, “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”

In the same way, if we are connected to the whole world in real time, then we run the risk of feeling disconnected from everything.

This feeling of disconnectedness is a natural outcome from the frenetic always-on world, where no matter how fast you run, you can’t seem to keep up.

The thing is, it’s not about keeping up.

Keeping up is an impossible task.

Instead, it’s about slowing down.

It’s about slowing down and noticing the possibility for connection around you all the time.

Stop, slow down, and notice the opportunity for real connection.

Because real connection is what we crave, and we can open ourselves up for real connection multiple times in every day.

We get real connection by giving it.

To give it, we must notice somebody, and see them, and hear them. When people know that they’re seen and heard, magic can happen.

When you’re moving at a hundred miles an hour, and others are too, all you can ever hope to see of each other is a blur.

Slow down and lean in, and the wonder of a real connection with another human being — either at the coffee kiosk, or in a Twitter conversation — can become clear.