Nowadays, there are way more things around us than we need. And it has become second nature to be looking into a screen. It can be a tv, laptop or phone. With every second that passes our brain is craving stimulation. Whether it be from our laptop or from our phone. We are connected and influenced in more ways than we realize.
Being connected through Social Network
A network is defined as a group or system of interconnected people or things. This means we are connected in some way. Not only electronically and through radio waves, but through sharing. People share their lives. Their food, their family, their work, their favourite coffee shop, and their children. We are connected in some way or the other to people. Sometimes we don’t even know them. But they influence our lives.
Our social media newsfeed is like our fridge. It’s everything we will eat that day. We ingest all of these things from all the people we share connections with. It may influence where we buy food from, or where we buy coffee. Or even what our children wear. Sometimes it may even influence how hard we work. We see achievements from those who have worked hard and bought cars, homes, and traveled far places. Which inspires us to work hard to also achieve nice things.
Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into a trap of “I want this, I need those, this will be so good to have”. But we forget that we have 7 other pairs of black shoes in our closet. Or that two coffee machines are not that necessary.
What does this mean?
Through seeing all that others have, it’s easy to get caught up. Whether you are old or young. We are connected whether we like it or not. And through this, we are influenced. Sometimes we are influenced more than we would like to admit. But it is useful to become aware of it, and then better ourselves. Because of the influence of ‘living your best life’ and ‘flourishing’ we tend to focus on making our own lives so much better. Making sure we keep up to standard. And that our lives also reflect a certain level of ‘your best life.
But what is your best life? What is the best life? I would interpret this as living your purpose. Being your best self. And how can we accomplish that? As Schuitema teaches – from serving the next person. This is serving your own higher purpose. This means that we perform an action for someone else. On condition that it is genuinely, unconditional. There can be no favours that will be counted. Or thinking bad of another person for not reciprocating an act of kindness. Then the action will be conditional. Which is really not kindness or serving the other. These unconditional acts ensure we are connected on a different level. One that doesn’t include radio waves. But rather serving another and one’s self.
Serving the other
Etsko Schuitema teaches, if someone is hungry, you would give them some bread. But if someone is getting robbed, you do not give that person some bread. That is not what the situation calls for. It calls you to save whoever is getting robbed. That is transactional correctness. Giving each situation it’s correct due.
And it is important to be cognizant of what is needed. Another example, if you are a boss who hardly communicates with your team. And one who does not provide feedback. But continues to reprimand people when they do wrong. It will not be okay to simply buy a cake for them on a Friday. The situation calls for a better relationship with subordinates.
Remember what being truly connected is
So, the next time you are influenced by all of your connections on your phone, think about what serving your own purpose is. Think about if it will serve me, or will it serve another person.
Because serving another person will always triumph in regards to providing happiness. Yes, another coffee machine will give you satisfaction for a while. But like everything else, the novelty wears off. But the feeling of contributing to someone else’s life lasts forever in your mind. Not only does it help the next person, but it helps you to feel good with your actions. No man is an island.