The sea of strangers

Is there anything more frightening than showing up (really showing up) in the place where you are unknown and alone?

All our warning systems are on high alert. From an evolutionary perspective, strangers represent danger. They are not only a direct threat, but carry the risk of rejection and all the insecurity that comes with it.

But the opposite can be true: Strangers can represent opportunity. The opportunity to learn, to make new connections, to build bridges that benefit everyone.

This is an internal debate, not something that comes from outside. When we look for rejection and reasons to hold back, that’s exactly what we will find. On the other hand, if we seek possibility and look for people that need us as much as we need them, there they are.

Everyone is, at some level, shy. Everyone has the instinct to hold back, because that instinct is baked in. Those that overcome it aren’t born gregarious, they are people who realize the self-fulfilling truth of finding what they’re looking for.

The connected person is no different from you, they’ve merely made a generous choice, confronting their innate fear instead of hiding from it. The reward for overcoming this inertia belongs to the connector and to everyone she connects.

It’s easier than ever to convene, to organize, to create spaces where strangers will cease to be strangers and turn into allies and friends. Those that convene overcome their resistance just one time, and then benefit from the generosity they’ve delivered to the group. The only difference between a group of strangers and a group of friends is that the friends benefitted from someone willing to go first.

When we weave together strangers and turn them into a tribe, we create real value, value that lasts.

By Seth Godin

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