As humans we’re hard wired to connect face-to-face, it keeps us socialized and healthy….our spirit alive.
But we’re losing ground and fast becoming insular people less connected to each other and the outer world. The next time you’re out and about take a look. Some have buds in ears and are ‘inside’ somewhere, others are bumping into people, falling off curbs and walking into glass doors while having intense phone conversations (do they forget these are public places with the details being discussed?), still others have heads down, device in hand engaged in multiple functions….reading…emailing …replying…forwarding…. posting….saving… texting….status updating…tweeting….pinning…AND walking on red and into oncoming traffic. Yikes! In this race the real time real world human connection is losing.
In Starbucks the other day the person ahead of me placed an order, paid and left without once making eye contact with the clerk. This was while carrying on in a highly animated fashion…laughing and shaking head to self and device in hand. Hopefully there was an actual person on the other end.
The red shoes (and things like them) perform a public service. They are connectors. They capture our attention and snap us from the inner to the outer world. They provide an opening in the wall….an invitation for others to enter.
They remind me of the concepts in the book, The Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book is legendary in marketing circles…it’s about how to transform your business into something remarkable. The Purple Cow is a metaphor for standing out…when something stands out it makes us look twice, snaps us into the present moment and often prompts action and connection. Imagine for a minute a purple cow in a field of monochromatic Holsteins. “LOOK a purple cow!” You get the picture. The unexpected gives us a jolt and we lean in to get a better look.
I’m a BIG dog lover. I stop (pounce on) and engage dogs and dog owners to such a degree they have NO choice but to converse with me. I’ve been known to rip (ok gently remove) dogs from the arms of owners including small children. These stories are part of our family lore. It goes like this, “remember the time mom yelled STOP THE CAR and jumped out to tackle the black cocker spaniel puppy?”
Yes, I did that. But here’s the thing, in all my years of engaging in this abhorrent behavior no one seems to mind. I quickly find out the dog’s breed, name, age, pedigree and all pertinent background information. I’m not kidding. My theory is because I passionately LOVE dogs, the ‘owners’ intuitively sense this (either that or they are afraid of what could be a potential raging lunatic) and they open the door and welcome me in. We have a brief, intense meeting and part company happy and uplifted having shared something with each other…the beloved dog.
Purple cows come in all shapes and sizes…red shoes, puppies, dogs, babies, magenta hair, bright, joyful faces..…things that say…Whoa…stop! They shake us out of our inner world and invite connection. They open the door from one person to another. They allow us a human exchange. These connections feel good. They warm the soul and feed the spirit. I’m not suggesting everyone go out and buy red shoes or acquire a puppy or a baby (heaven forbid)…but to look for the purple cows grazing everywhere. Maybe adopt one of your own…your need to connect will be richly fulfilled.
Off to Croatia….(with the red shoes) looking to connect!