It’s November 13, 2016, and as I write this, drained, I feel like our world is divided.
A few global examples come to mind, like how South Korea is trying to throw out their President, Britain is trying to leave the EU, and America’s election has exacerbated division among its citizens.
Reflecting back on this year, I’ve personally never felt more divided from my communities.
Despite our connected, picture-perfect landscape of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, we are severely socially divided. As we bounce between feelings of fulfillment and connection with friends, teammates and colleagues, we are equally met with sporadic feelings of intense loneliness and uncertainty.
We’re like boats in the middle of an ocean that slow down just enough to see what other boats (our friends, our family) are up to. We’ll stop by occasionally to see what upgrades or progress each boat is making, before speeding off to our next destination and checking in with other boats (more friends, more family).
In this narrative, there seem to be more boats than we can give adequate time to.
If you’re like me, you might be sitting on a speedboat that loves the rush of life, zipping here and there. Our boats flaunt our trips, our accomplishments, our journeys. Like Twitter, everybody’s throwing bite-sized tweets out there about what’s going on, but there are far fewer people listening.
If you’re like my girlfriend, your boat might be slower, taking its time, moving at a relaxed pace. It might be wondering if it’s going fast enough, while I’m wondering if I should be shifting gears down.
I hate to say it, but many times, we’re alone in a packed room that we call the world.
If this seems pretty dark so far, it’s not. It’s life, it is our busyness and there’s actually a ton of sunshine.
When emotions run high, or deep, or dark, to better understand myself, I stop to find the sources of this divide.
The 2 Sources of Divide
1. Focus + Attention
Chase two rabbits, catch none. - Chinese Proverb
Name a day of the week and I’ll tell you what I have planned in any of the 24 hours available.
I even have days where I can be a kid and impulsively do whatever I want.
I began this year by wanting to conquer everything – read books, write blog posts, learn piano, hone volleyball skills, not die during floor hockey, study systematic theology, master Microsoft Excel, build deeper relationships with my mom and brother, travel the world – you name it.
With this process, you can probably imagine that I’ve become extremely productive, effective, and efficient with my time. While this is partially true for some of the items listed above, I’ve also fantastically failed terribly at a lot of these things. By dividing my focus and attention, here’s a big surprise: I’ve become fairly mediocre at a lot of things.
A friend of mine, James recently compared what we were doing in life to balancing multiple spinning plates.
This is the state of most adult lives; we’re all trying to balance multiple wobbly plates.
I think the first source of divide is this – we’re holding too many damn plates.
2. Width vs. Depth in Relationships
Where the loneliness comes in is that I’ve found it difficult to connect with all these people on a deeper level. When it comes to friends, I have my core group of 8-10 bros that I’ll always make an effort to connect with monthly. But when it comes to sports teams, sometimes even church, we’ll have a sprinkling of connection on the day of, but then won’t talk until the next week. The reason we feel divided is because we feel that we’re seeing a little bit of everyone, but not enough of any one person.
I think the reason I’ve felt this divide is that we seem to be individual boats proudly tooting our horns, trying to steer our own path, and trying to make sure that our boat is the best.
Sadly, I’ve moved away from building communities and building others up.
Since you’re still reading this, and because we’re doing so well with this boat analogy so far,..
Our course of action should be to move forward as a fleet.
Collective. Together, Unified,
It’s about time we stop worrying about ourselves, but instead worry about how we can build strong communities together, to lift one another up.
Is this cheesy? Yes, extremely. But I’ve been pretty wrapped up in myself this year, and I’ve become a pretty small package.
To combat that, I think it's time to take personal responsibility.
Questions I'm asking this week:
I'm going to try being more attentive to others this week and see where we goes.
divided we fall, united we stand.
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.