So the title is a bit jarring. I totally get it. If I had seen an article that tells me in order to be more successful or improve myself, I need to trim out the closest network in my life, I’d probably think the writer’s f-king crazy and move on to the next post.
But the reality is, when I overheard this in a TEDtalk VOD, I couldn’t resist listening till the end.
Menon goes on to share what strong ties are: family & friends, and how we need to grow our weak ties (people we’ve just met) to create a wider network. That’s because our strong ties are redundant and familiar. The weak ties opens up this much larger canvas of possibilities. This goes on to a larger lecture I heard on “getting out of our comfort zone.” We all have this safe bubble that feels nice and warm, but is it doing us more harm than good? We all have aspirations to be more successful, be more adventurous, do more excitement. So I decided to put this new philosophy to work.
I went to graduation celebration just last night. There were the usual suspects I knew from the party. Of course, I targeted the ones who invited me and stuck myself to their hips for the first hour of the party. But I knew I never reached beyond that comfort zone. Then a girl that I’ve always known through the same mutual friends but rarely bonded with was within eyeshot. I really made the effort to say hello and we started connecting. I found out about a new job she’s adoring, her newfound singleness etc..
By the end of the night, we’ve made plans to hang out 1:1.
She and I might have nothing in common now, but we could find that helpful in creating this new social universe and cross pollinate with our own social circles to make this much larger world to tap into. To be totally honest, I dug a little deeper and knew that I was always a bit intimidated by her. She was this gorgeous thin LA stereotyped girl. Not in a bad way, but this Venice-style resident always seemed like she’d never be interested in me. But did I even try? She was so welcoming last night but I never would’ve know about a new friendship had I not trekked outside this safe bubble I blanketed myself in.
I’ve only taken a first step but the reward has been more than generous. I caved to my fears before but now I’ve thrown that heavy weight off and made a new acquaintance. My first chapter into discovering more weak ties & shedding off this comfort zone.