My Superpower (and Yours): Connection

by Randy Murray on December 1, 2011

I pay a lot of money, every month, for the illusion that I can be in control of events. I suppose it comes in part from my Boy Scout indoctrination for eternal preparation, or maybe it’s my experience as a parent. I buy insurance. I carry a pocket knife. I keep a first aid kit in the car. I carry my iPhone with me everywhere. I’m never out of touch, never unreachable, and ready to swoop in and save the day at a moment’s notice.

Except I can’t. The phone doesn’t bestow any super powers on me. I wish it did, but it does not. I can’t teleport to any spot on the planet. I can’t prevent illness and injury. I can’t turn back time. I can’t stop a bullet or leap tall buildings. I stay clear of speeding trains.

But I can be available. And that’s why I shell out the bucks for the phone. I can offer my support, advice, and experience. I can just listen. I can connect.

Connection, personal, focused connection, is something magical. It is transcendent. And although I can’t control events, I can make connections. You can too. You only have to open yourself to it.

The Boy Scout training, or my Y chromosome, causes me to try and solve problems. But solving problems isn’t connecting. It’s taking over, trying to resolve a situation as quickly as possible. Connecting sometimes means doing absolutely nothing but listening. Connecting with someone may mean hearing their problem and doing nothing about it. It’s taken me years to learn this, and frankly, I still don’t have it down pat. Connecting is about empathy, not about fixing things. Fixing things can come later. First you have to connect.

I wonder, sometimes, if I’ll ever get this right. Then I make someone laugh, I hear someone sigh in relief, and I wonder, “what the hell did I do?” What I did was connect. And that is often more valuable than a problem fixed. It shows that I understand. Or if I don’t yet understand, I might get there.

My goal for the coming years isn’t to become “The Fixer,” but to become someone my friends and family can talk with, someone who will listen. If I can help, I will, but not until I’ve connected.

There’s no kryptonite that can stop that.

The My Superpower (and Yours): Connection by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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