I attended one meeting for the Public Relations club on my campus while earning my undergraduate degree.
The only thing I remember about that meeting was noting how many hundreds of times the members talked about networking as a means to success. Since then, I have accepted how important networking is in the business world, and have also realized how important networking is in every aspect of life. Humans are social creatures after all, and everything we do and say makes an impression on the people around us.
Last year, while living in Paris I remember realizing how much the actions of others affected my lives. I wouldn't have been living in the apartment in which I lived if my roommate hadn't met her future husband while living across the hall from him while she studied abroad. She wouldn't have met her future husband if she hadn't moved into the apartment across the hall, which only happened because she had an awful host-stay experience. She only had an awful host-stay experience because of where she was placed (the action of whoever placed her).
So really, the entire basis of my experience in France was decided by people who I never met, and have no knowledge of my existence.
How my friends affect my every move
During brunch last weekend, my friend Julie and I discussed how much of an effect the people around us-- be they close friends, friends of friends, or even people we dislike but can't seem to break free from-- have on our lives. It's a quite sobering subject to consider, as it is impossible to isolate oneself from the influence of others. The subject of interconnectedness remained on my mind as I browsed books yesterday.
A bright orange book titled Connected: How your friends' friends' friends affect everything you feel, think, and do jumped out at me. I bought the book and have barely put it down since, reading 120 pages in one sitting (even interrupting my plans to watch Obama's State of the Union speech).
The book discusses the influence that our social networks have on our behavior. It turns out that my observation that people we will never meet influence our lives is true. Individuals separated three degrees from us (i.e. the friend of a friend of a friend) have an influence on our behavior.Their happiness and even their eating habits have a significant effect on yours.
Can you think of a time when someone two or three degrees separated from you had an effect on your life?