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Our Thirst for Connection

January 29, 2019 Joe Mechlinski


“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

The heart brain controls our sense of connection, and it gives us our sense that we matter, and that we do has meaning. This is essential to build engagement. 

I have been inspired by what the coach and speaker Tony Robbins has identified as the six needs that define human behavior. Here they are: Certainty / Comfort

  1. 1. Uncertainty / Variety
  2. 2. Significance
  3. 3. Love and Connection
  4. 4. Growth 
  5. 5. Contribution

What do the first four have in common? They’re what we’d call matters of the heart. Number 4, “Love and Connection,” is particularly crucial. It brings to mind a celebrated Harvard happiness study that followed a few hundred graduates over the course of decades and identified connection as the number-one factor in determining a person’s overall satisfaction with life.

Our thirst for connectivity is undeniable. It’s why we check our phones every five minutes and feel a need to share every like and interest on Facebook. It’s the reason we prefer to stay in a job that is familiar even if it brings us no satisfaction. An insufficient connection, we mistakenly believe, is better than no connection at all. Some people turn to drugs and alcohol in trying to fill this need. Someone taking drugs doesn’t know if he will live or die. What he does know is that he will feel something.

It will make him feel important, and it’s a lifestyle that connects the user to a group of people with the same limited interests.

The challenge for all of us is to fill the need of connection in a constructive, rather than destructive, manner. Unfortunately, the destructive path, as one might imagine, is far easier to pursue. Fixing your marriage, pursuing an education, and finding engaging work is much more difficult than doing drugs, joining a gang, or even staying in the same dead-end job.

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