If you have ever walked around with headphones in your ears listening to music you can’t help but enjoy the feeling of being disconnected. It seems like you are in your own world and you don’t even pay attention to everything that is going on around you. There is no doubt that it can be great feeling. There is one problem. If you disconnect yourself enough times it is easy to forget to reconnect.
Being disconnected can make you numb to the activities that are going on around you and other people. If you are not connected to your team and the others in your company, your family, and your community, you run the risk of missing out on pretty much everything. You can’t build a relationship with your team if you are disconnected. If you are disconnected and not paying attention, you never know what might hit you. (Like the guy that got killed on the beach who was running with his headphones in and didn’t hear the glider or the shouts of its pilots as it glided out of control right into him.)
Email and the electronic age make it even easier to stay disconnected. How many people do you “talk” to via email and/or messaging of some kind? Have you ever heard their voice? Because you have no tactile connection (either having met them face to face or at least talked to them on the phone), it is easy to forget they are people. You get angry and fire off an email (or send one that sounds angry even if you aren’t). Why? Because it is easy, it is fast and you feel better. The same may not be true of the recipient, but because you are disconnected you don’t see their face when they get that email. You don’t feel or see the anger, disappointment, or hurt the recipient of your email feels. Have you ever read one of your emails out loud before you sent it? Would you say that to someone in person?
What about telling someone thank you? Sure, it is easy to just send a quick email saying thanks and sometimes that is perfectly adequate. But sometimes it is worth the time and effort to sit down and actually write a thank you note. How many thank you emails have you printed and kept? But how many thank you notes have you kept (or at that least put a smile on your face)?
Be sure that becoming disconnected is only temporary and doesn’t become a way of life. You can’t build a relationship with people that you are disconnected from.
We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Herman Melville.