Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Experience Generation

Speaking about his 2005 book, “Blink”, the author, Malcom Gladwell remains fascinated by the “smallest components of our everyday lives--with the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that bubble up whenever we meet a new person, or confront a complex situation, or have to make a decision under conditions of stress.

I think its time we paid more attention to those fleeting moments. I think that if we did, it would change the way wars are fought, the kind of products we see on the shelves, the kinds of movies that get made, the way police officers are trained, the way couples are counseled, the way job interviews are conducted and on and on--and if you combine all those little changes together you end up with a different and happier world.”

For years, I have been speaking on the power of our personal experiences. Mostly, I have referred to interpersonal or “live” interactions. However, I don’t preclude the power of online interactions between individuals. In either venue, the fundamental commonality is our humanity.

We are a bundle of complex physiological, psychological and spiritual connections. We react physically and emotionally to situational events. The more powerful the stimulus, the more meaningful and memorable our responses become. Not surprisingly, emotional responses, not intellectual responses, make the most impact. Events that trigger our emotions are the most memorable and significant.

Try to measure one of those moments today. Be a witness to your own life. Like Malcom, I think a little more attention to each moment could fundamentally change the way we interact and begin to alter (improve?) the communities around us.

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