Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Better Connections

Are we spending enough time with people we can really learn from? Are we having enough conversations that move us forward rather than discussing the mundane things in life?

We are all seeking better connections—some people even the smallest of them. Today, we have the greatest opportunity and freedom to connect with people in every corner of the world (unless you’re in China). Yet, we struggle. We struggle to find worthwhile connections and conversations with those we can learn from and engage meaningfully with. It’s difficult to know why exactly. There’s probably many reasons—work, personal commitments, not knowing where to find them, or too afraid to even seek them out.

For me, most of the people I connect with is done through means of a tweet, an email, or an Instagram DM. It’s a little bit limiting. Some of the most meaningful conversations I have are with people I’ve never even met in person. Whether it’s talking daily to a friend over a messenger app or occasionally arranging a call with someone in the same or similar industry to mine, I almost always come away from that interaction with some value. Would that connection be better in person? It's highly likely, but it's also often totally impractical.

We often get lost in the demands of everyday life. Keeping our heads above water. Keeping our projects alive. Staying up-to-date with news. We do this because it’s important—it’s necessary. And many of us are content listening to our favourite podcasts and reading our favourite blogs. And that’s great. We can discover and learn tonnes from those mediums. Yet, interacting with people live can often change the way we process information. It can renew our enthusiasm. It can help us be more creative. It can open up new opportunities. Other mediums can offer the same thing, but perhaps not to the same extent or with the same intensity.

I want to learn more, but in a better way. I might just reach out a little more intentionally in the future. There’s plenty of great conversations to be had.

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