One simple step toward happiness every day for a year. Doesn't everyone want to be happy?
Join us on Facebook (more about these "Secrets")

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hold Your Friends Close (Quality vs. Quantity)

You've surely heard of the idea of "Six Degrees of Separation," right? Simply stated, it says that most people are within six handshakes of anybody else in the world.

What you may not know is that this is based on solid research, including Stanley Milgrim's 1960s "small world experiment," in which people were asked to pass a package to a designated stranger in another city, strictly through acquaintances.

The methodology of the experiments has been disputed, but the general principle is undisputed: we are all connected, and if we could but see them all, there are very few links in the chains binding us.

Here's an example: I once had a secretary named Amanda. Her brother was once Nancy Reagan's chief of staff. So: me – Amanda – brother – Nancy Reagan – Ronald Reagan. That's four handshakes. Who did HE know? And who did THEY know?

Or take this: I once dated an actress who knew Al Gore and the Clintons. That's two steps from me to the then-president and vice-president (and current secretary of state). Who could you reach in five more steps, running through all the senators, governors, world leaders, etc.?

What's my point? Simply this: Your circle of friends is huge. And frankly, that does little to impact your happiness.

It really comes down to only a handful of people. Don't seek your happiness through "crowdsourcing." It really depends on the few you can fit around your kitchen table. See yourself in the web, sure. But cherish the few that are close.

You'll be happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment