Unconscious Networking and Negative Serendipity

I just had a conversation with my best friend and we talked about the power of networking. We talked about how seemingly irrelevant relationships have the power to transform people’s lives. This got me thinking about how amazing it is, and also how dangerous it could be. Whenever we talk about networking we talk only about the conscious networking that people learn as a skill because of its value. Networking could be described as serendipity and what I want to talk about is something I’ve called negative serendipity.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Negative serendipity is where chance events happen to you, but in a negative way. In life, we are always networking, if not consciously then unconsciously. Whenever we speak to someone we are networking. What we gain from these networks can be life changing.

If I spend all my time with drunk people eventually they become my network. I feed off the vibes they give off and I adopt their attitudes and mentalities. Eventually I become them. This is negative serendipity working.

It can also happen when your basic mindset is negative. Derren Brown did an episode on luck, and showed how the people that think they are lucky become lucky, and those that think they are unlucky stay unlucky – not because of any mystic powers but because their attitudes towards opportunities were different. Negative serendipity then, works when someone is blind to positive opportunities and only sees negative ones. 

This is why solitude is so important. More so today than ever. Hyper connectivity because of technology allows big changes in life to happen much faster than before. Solitude allows us to think thoughts that are ours. If we don’t take time to be alone we never discover what it is we truly want in life. We think the thoughts of other people. And at the speed things happen we can quickly become committed to a life we never wanted in the first place.

Networking is powerful – crazily powerful. It is powerful because it happens all the time. I feel the skill of networking I want to make sure I develop is to be able to decide where I want to go in life first before being swept by the power of networking. And to figure that out I must find the answers in solitude.

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