There were two independent and equally contributing fctors in my realization of how to use the world to my advantage. The first was a book suggested to me years ago, the second an observation offered by family.
A few Chrismases ago in Toronto I asked my uncle Richard what books he had read or would recommend reading. Today still unsure if there had been others he had mentioned, the one I did make note of was The World Is Flat by Friedman. I purchased the book when I returned to Chicago and a few months later began to read it. I found the work to be quite interesting but at the time I simple wasn't yet a reader. When I lost the book to the closing of the restaurant I worked at I never made a legitimate attempt to replace it.
Fast forward to this last October. I was looking over the bookshelves in my kitchen and noticed that I had somehow acquired two copies of The World Is Flat. With Christmas and a reunion with my family right around the corner I decided it was once again time to pick up the book that had been recommended to me years ago.
It proved to be a wonderful choice. The book really cemented for me how flat the world is; in a nutshell it is that we are all interconnected to one another in multiple ways, and in those that we are not it is only by choice. It was a realization that I could use every medium to my advantage in order to create myself as a brand, so-to-speak. I focused my energy on creating a website in order to have an all inclusive, user friendly portfolio. If you are reading this now it is on my blog, which is linked to my site, which is linked to my Twitter, which is linked to my... well, you get the point.
The second incident that led to my discovery of the world's interconnectivity was a comment my aunt Liz had made to me in passing. We had somehow landed on the topic of my blog and she pointed out to me that when people commented on things that I had written or posted on it [my blog] that I never replied to them.
She was right.
I was the type of person that would love - and still do - when people would comment on things that I make available to them whether it be via website, blog, or Facebook. But I never took the oportunity to do the same for others. How can we expect what we are not willing to give?
I decided to reprioritize my life, my world, my time. There are so many ways to stay connected with the ones and things that matter most that it is only my own fault if I do not. There are so many ways, from Twitter to Blogging, Facebook to emails, and texts to phone calls that there is no reason that I cannot be actively involved in the lives and things of those that I care about, even from miles away.
The best part of Christmas was that it was as though no time had passed at all between the time before that we were all united. The only thing that I felt, as I often have since leaving home at eighteen, was that I was not privy to the details of the lives of the people I love, of my family. I cannot afford to continue to make such a mistake. By simply utilizing the things at my disposal I can enjoy a fantastic family storytime picture, a great new recipe, or simply hear the voice of my mother.
So instead of watching sports highlights or reading status updates of people I don't actually know I will instead spend that time and energy in what truly is a higher priority.
To digest all that is provided to me. If there is a blog post, a tweet, or text message I will know it. And in turn I will make my life as accessible as possible to those that want access to it. Through the flatening of the world I can and will live in the same house as my family each and every day.
But until February 6th I might be a little behind...