Social Connection, with Rob Lawless

February 05, 2020 Kim Forrester Season 5 Episode 3
Social Connection, with Rob Lawless
Social Connection, with Rob Lawless
Feb 05, 2020 Season 5 Episode 3
Kim Forrester

Rob Lawless is a social innovator and the unique man behind the Robs10KFriends project. His goal is to meet 10,000 strangers, and encourage others to take the initiative and establish more new relationships. In this episode, Kim Forrester and Rob chat about the importance of social connection and discuss why becoming an active participant in a broader community is vital if we truly want to thrive. 

Show Notes Transcript

Rob Lawless is a social innovator and the unique man behind the Robs10KFriends project. His goal is to meet 10,000 strangers, and encourage others to take the initiative and establish more new relationships. In this episode, Kim Forrester and Rob chat about the importance of social connection and discuss why becoming an active participant in a broader community is vital if we truly want to thrive. 

Kim Forrester:   0:00
Studies have shown that individuals with strong social bonds are happier, more resilient and live healthier, longer lives. It seems that connecting frequently and authentically with the people around us is a vital key to our ongoing wellbeing. Welcome to the Eudaemonia podcast. I'm Kim Forrester, and today we're going to explore the incredible potency of social connection.  

Intro:   0:29
Welcome to Eudaemonia, the podcast that is all about flourishing. Plug in, relax and get ready for the goodness as we explore the traits and practises that can help you thrive in life ... with your host, Kim Forrester.  

Kim Forrester:   0:49
Rob Lawless is a social innovator and the unique man behind the Robs10KFriends Project, where his goal is to meet 10,000 strangers. Rob regards genuine human connection as being incredibly important in today's world, and it's also something that makes him personally very happy. Through the Robs10KFriends Project, Rob hopes to set a positive example and encourage others to take the initiative, reach out to someone new and be open to establishing new relationships. It's my absolute delight to be chatting with Rob today to talk about the importance of social connection and to discuss why becoming an active participant in a broader community is vital if we truly want to thrive. Rob Lawless. It is such a pleasure to have you here on the Eudaemonia podcast. How are things there in Philadelphia?

Rob Lawless:   1:44
Things are great here. The Philadelphia Eagles actually just clinched their playoff berth, so I'm a happy person. I'm also happy to be here. Thank you for having me on the show.   

Kim Forrester:   1:54
It is such a delight to have you. You say, Rob, that you've always loved connecting with people and, personally, I really understand that concept and I share it. How would you describe the experience of truly connecting with other people? So how does that differ, for instance, from just sort of being in the same space as them or just talking to someone?

Rob Lawless:   2:15
Sure. So I think for me - and being on a mission to spend one hour one-on-one with 10,000 different people - the way that that has looked in my life over the last four years has been, focusing on a one-on-one conversation with someone, in person, and really paying attention to nothing but the story that they're telling me. So, being fully present for that; being fully engaged and genuinely curious about who that person is. And so that's been the foundation of most of my connections over the last four years. And then I've been able to, through seeing some of these people afterwards, build on that connection. So I think true connection ... like I've heard that to make a true friend, it takes 90 hours of time together. And for me, I think working towards that is just having a foundation, along with a frequency of interaction with that person. So that's kind of how I would define true connection at this point in my life.

Kim Forrester:   3:10
I love that so much, because many of us these days live in urban surroundings, so we're actually surrounded by people all the time. But you used two really powerful words in your answer there. The first one was 'engaged', and the second one was 'curiosity'. For me, I feel that healthy social connection is very closely aligned with what I call 'the art of being interested', which is kind of what you alluded to. Do you see being interested in people - being curious about people - as being important?

Rob Lawless:   3:39
Yes, I do. I think that is what allows the interactions to be genuine and authentic. And I think there are some people who, for my project, for instance, some people just understand the concept off the bat, and other people can't understand why someone would go out and try to meet 10,000 people. So I think some people are born with a curiosity in others, and maybe other people aren't. I am definitely one of the people that was born with that curiosity. So for me to sit down with someone, I see it as a valuable use of my time to just sit down with someone, connect and hear their story. Even if nothing else were to come of that time, I still think that sharing the stories back and forth is valuable. So that's kind of where my curiosity comes from.

Kim Forrester:   4:23
So for those that don't have that natural curiosity, that natural desire to sort of connect with people in front of them, do you have any advice on what they can do in that moment to perhaps open up that connection a little bit more?

Rob Lawless:   4:36
Sure. So for me, I watch people's lives like movies as they talk to me. So the same way that anyone would be interested in a Netflix series or a movie, I think you can get that same experience from sitting and talking with someone. The way I do it is, I'll ask someone always off the bat where they're from; if they're from that area. And that kind of gives me a starting point for their life. And then I could kind of build their life out from there - talking about their upbringing, their education, their career, what they want to do with their life, like their hobbies. And so for me, it's like I'm kind of building out that movie through the conversation. And I'm a very visual person so when they talk to me, I'm watching these things as they tell them to me. So maybe if people, if they're not used to it, if they kind of see it through that perspective - the similar perspective as watching a TV series - it might become more entertaining to them. That is like my favourite part - is just kind of, it's almost like that people are orators, and I'm just there is an audience member watching them walk me through their lives.

Kim Forrester:   5:36
I love that a lot. So you are sort of revealing the plot of their story to yourself, through your questions?

Rob Lawless:   5:42

Kim Forrester:   5:42
So one very important question though - your project specifically calls for you to meet someone 'in person' for at least an hour. Do you feel there's a difference between online and in person connection? And what, if anything, are we missing with pure online connections?

Rob Lawless:   6:01
I do feel there is a difference, and I have had people ask me if I would do, like, a Skype chat with them. But I like the active meeting with people 'in person' because I think there's the body language aspect, and the actual being able to look someone in their eyes. And the environment. So, I'm often times meeting people in coffee shops or bars or parks, and it's like the sound of the birds in the park or the music playing in the coffee shop - I think it just sets the atmosphere. And I think that affects the conversation in subtle ways. And I was just talking with a guy yesterday about this - about Skype chats - and he said, 'Even there, if you're looking at someone, you're still looking at the screen. So your eyes maybe aren't matching up exactly as they would in person, and that could make a big difference'. And I think just the experience of being across from someone... Oh, and also throughout my project, there have been times where third parties interject themselves into our conversations. And I think, like, that adds to the experience in a way, and it just colours it more.

Kim Forrester:   6:59
Let's go back to how you see others lives as stories because I'm really interested. What are some of the most profound things that you've learned from hearing other people's stories?

Rob Lawless:   7:11
So I will say the biggest thing that I've learned overall from talking to everyone is that, no one knows what they're doing with their life. We're all just doing the best we can with the resources that we have. And I think a lot of people walk around thinking that everyone but them has their life together. When, in reality, and what I've heard from talking to so many people is that no one, including you, has their life together. So I personally take a little bit more pressure off of my shoulders to have my life together, and I think everyone is a work in progress. So that's one of the main themes that I've learned. And then as it's affected my life, in particular, I've just learned how much I have to be grateful for. So I'm the youngest of three. My parents are still alive, still together. I had a middle class upbringing in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My siblings and I were all able to go to Penn State, and I graduated with student loans but I was able to be involved as a student there. I was able to get a good job. And so I've had this non-traumatic past and this support system in my life that have helped me get to where I am today. And I have realised in talking to other people - like, for example, I met two separate students from Drexel University, both in college, both only-children who had lost both of their parents already. So for me to to come across two girls who are - they have no immediate family left in their life, and they're still in college - I think that really stuck with me and made me place a stronger emphasis on the time that I spend with my family, and appreciating that, and realising that it's something not to be taken for granted.

Kim Forrester:   8:47
So tell me, what have you learned about humanity as a whole from meeting all these people?

Rob Lawless:   8:53
I just ... I think that the spectrum of life paths is very wide. There are people who have been through a tonne and are still going with their lives. There are people who have not been through so much. But I think everything is relative. Like, people who are upset over small things - that may be big to them in their life and what they've been exposed to. So, but there's a lot of resiliency in the human spirit as well. I mean, I met one guy who had a snowboarding accident that he was told would leave him paralysed for the rest of life. And slowly but surely, like, he would twitch his toe. Or he would try to move his foot, and now he can walk again. And just to hear stories like that, there's a lot of resiliency to the human spirit. And I've also learned that a lot of people want to help people and make a positive impact on the world. I feel like that's a cliche thing to say, because I feel like everyone was to make a positive impact. But I can say, just from sitting down with people and interacting with them, I've heard that time and time again. So that kind of gives me an optimistic view of people.

Kim Forrester:   9:54
I love that. Do you expect to like everyone that you meet Rob? And, if not, would you say that you still benefit from every encounter?

Rob Lawless:   10:02
Good question. I would say that I don't expect to like everyone that I meet, but I do expect to take something away from every encounter - whether that's learning how to interact with a personality that's different from mine, or learning a new fact from something like the industry that they worked in, that I didn't know before. I go into it without any expectations, but I also go into it knowing that it's kind of on me to create value out of that situation. It's kind of like you get out of it, what you put into it. Like I said, I kind of enjoy the process of learning someone's life - just from an entertainment standpoint. But there are times ... like I met this woman in Philadelphia and it had snowed a few days prior. And she made a comment like, 'Isn't it crazy that when it snows, thousands of kids in the Philadelphia area don't eat because they don't have their government funded lunches?' And that was just something that I had never thought of before. And that, to me, is like a little fact that I obviously still think about today; like, something that I took away from that conversation.

Kim Forrester:   11:03
Do you know, I love you keep bringing that up: how much you get from this. The perspectives that you gain, the stories that you learn. And it seems to me ... on your website, you tell a little story about one of your past jobs where you were tasked with cold-calling people as a sales rep, right? And the resistance that people had to being telephoned. And I think we all understand that. If someone rings you uninvited, you can be very resistant to that. Do you think we have a trend in society, Rob, where it's become common to only sort of connect with the people that we feel have something to offer us; that we only connect with people when we want something from them?

Rob Lawless:   11:39
Yes. I think it's maybe not in society as a whole but I would say, more so, the professional world. And that's one of the reasons why I started this project. Because when I was a student at Penn State, I was in this shared environment of vulnerability with other students. And it was like, in that time you're kind of expected to make connections very organically and naturally. And I was able to do that through joining clubs and activities, and going out, and having classmates. And I found that when I got to the professional world, it seemed like everyone's time was so tight that there was only time to meet if there was an agenda or expected outcome. Or if it was a date or something like that. I personally wanted to get back to just meeting people to meet, because that's how I made a lot of my best friends. So for me, creating that project was kind of my way of getting back to that place. So I think in the professional world it's hard because people see their time as really valuable. The way that I start to think about it now is, if people have ... if they prioritise human connection and they think it's something that's valuable in their life, then they can kind of create a goal to meet people and chase that goal and have people help them towards it. Because I thought of me doing this project ... I studied finance in my first career out of school. I was doing consulting for Deloitte, and that was a very busy time for me. So I try to think, 'What would get Deloitte version of me to get out and try to meet people?' And I think it would be just having a goal to meet a certain number, even if it's just 10 people for the year. So I do think that there is that, like, agenda-driven connection now in society. But I think there are ways around it.

Kim Forrester:   13:13
Tell me, what advice would you give to us, as a society, in order to reverse that trend?

Rob Lawless:   13:18
So I think it is the goal piece. I noticed, for me, when I started telling people that I wanted to meet 10,000 people, other people wanted to help me reach that goal. And they would say, 'Oh, I have this person that you should meet. They would be really interesting for you.' And then I'd meet them, and they come with three other people. And at the beginning of this year, I actually put out an article 'How to meet 12 new people in 2019' and I called it a 12 Friend Challenge, just thinking that if people prioritised it, then they could meet one new person each month. That's a feasible goal. And I actually had some people who took that goal on and completed it. And they just told me, like, how valuable it was in their life. And I think it's that, when people see that you're passionately working towards something, they want to help you reach that goal. And I think that's kind of the excuse. And I tell people all the time, 'If I were to go up to you on the street without any context and just say, "Hey, we're going to sit down and chat for an hour for no reason"', no one would sit with me. But because I'm saying, 'Hey, I want to chat for an hour for no reason. But it's part of this goal to meet 10,000 people', then people are like, 'Oh okay, that makes more sense to me'. So it's this weird dynamic where there's this overall agenda to help reach this goal, but within that, there is no actual agenda other than to just connect.

Kim Forrester:   14:32
I love that, and I know this to be true. We as humans, we adore being part of something that is larger than ourselves. So what you're presenting to people, in your example there, is an opportunity to be part of your goal which includes these 10,000 people. And it strikes me that we can probably all find something larger than ourselves that can allow us to connect with other people - whether that's volunteering at the local community club, or a campaign, or a cause that we're actually passionate about. But that, there, is a way to actually engage with people on a deeper level. Would you say that that would be true?

Rob Lawless:   15:08
Yes, I agree with you there. And I think one of the important things is, if we're going out and we're connecting with people through volunteering or working on some type of cause, I think the art of connecting with people is a little frightening to people at first. And I think there's a lot of anxiety, especially for people who come in to chat with me. Sometimes they're thinking, 'OK, how am I going to talk to this guy for an hour? Like what if we run out of topics to talk about? That will be awkward.' And I have noticed, from my perspective, I can hold a conversation with anyone now. Because, having talked to over 3000 people, over time I've built up this library of topics in my mind. So I'm very confident going into a conversation that, if it starts to fall flat, then I can ask someone, like, 'What are your siblings like? What Netflix shows do you like? Why did you choose the field that you work in? What are your personal goals for 2020?' There's just so much to pick from. But I think a lot of that confidence came from the experience of building up that library of topics. And I think that's something that other people can do, too, if they just go out and they volunteer every month, or they join that sports league. It's just repeated action that kind of leads to that confidence.

Kim Forrester:   16:19
The other thing there is that you ask questions. It goes back to that art of being interested. I've always found that if a conversation is going flat, you insert a question into there. You ask someone about who they are. And that was something that obviously you just touched on there, in your past answer. But let's talk about social anxiety. My daughter, when she was 14, she developed debilitating social anxiety. And so I understand the barriers that some people have to overcome in order to just go out and meet someone new. From the experiences that you've had, do you believe there are ways that we can foster a safer, more welcoming environment for everyone, including those who are socially anxious or socially awkward? Are there things that we can each do to sort of help them feel like they are more encouraged and inspired to come out and connect with others?

Rob Lawless:   17:13
Yeah, I think there are. I'm trying to think of ... in my situation, if I know that someone - when they come and they sit with me - if I can feel that they're anxious, it's hard to explain, but I try to calm myself to create, like, a more calming atmosphere for them so that they feel comfortable. And also, I think going into these conversations without any type of agenda really helps, because then there's no pressure to stick to any one topic or any one outcome. So people feel ... like if people were nervous the whole time, that's fine, because that could be how that particular meeting went. But I have had people who come to my meetings and say, 'Hey, I'm really socially anxious and I thought this would be a good way to push myself out of my comfort zone.' And I just tried, in those situations, to kind of hold up the conversation and let them do the light work of chiming in when they feel comfortable. I mean, it's still a back and forth. But I try to make sure that they feel like that conversation is not going to drop. I think, in greater society, one of the things that I want to do with my project eventually is have a class, or a freshman seminar at a university - maybe in a high school or grade school setting as well - where students are learning from each other as opposed to a textbook or power point slide. I think a lot of people could use practise in hearing other stories, telling their own, and being comfortable in that face-to-face interaction. And I think if we start to create the space for people as something, like a skill that should be learned in education, maybe it's something that they will be more comfortable with outside of the classroom, or in general.

Kim Forrester:   18:46
Certainly in our modern world, things like that are very, very vital to start reintroducing. And I say reintroducing because I believe, in previous generations, social connection - connection with the village and the people around you, your tribe - was an inherent part of everyday life. But we've become so much more isolated and separated from one another. On the reverse side, it's really interesting to see what the studies are saying about social connection. It is so incredibly important for our well-being. There was a recent study out of the Institute of Noetic Sciences that shows that a greater sense of interconnection with others leads to, not just greater well-being, but also greater compassion. And there are a multitude of other studies that show that social connection is great for our well-being, our emotional health, our resilience and our longevity. Have you, Rob ... have you noticed an improvement in your well-being or in your perspective on life since you started connecting with thousands of people?

Rob Lawless:   19:49
Absolutely. I think one of ... and you kind of touched on it ... when you're meeting with people and you're talking with them and you're hearing about the depths of their life, you're going to be forced to build a sense of empathy within yourself. Because you start to understand who a person is, today, is driven by who they have been throughout their life and the experiences that have shaped them. And I think about that all the time. Like I met this guy in Cleveland and I love his story because, when we met, four months earlier he had spent a bit of time in jail for, like, a DUI. Or a DWI, or whatever they call it. He was drunk. He crashed car into a fire hydrant and the cops took it and had to go and turn himself in the next day. But if you reverse back to his childhood, he was born to a single mother. His parents were never married. His mom had to work multiple jobs, so he has memories of sleeping on factory floors when he was little. He went to college, had to come home because his mom got sick. She ultimately ended up, like, having some type of allergic reaction where she was choking on her own mucus and passed out. Her oxygen supply was cut off, but by the time they resuscitated her, she essentially was like a vegetable. And so he had to be the one to pull the plug on her; to end her life. Right? And he didn't have any siblings. It was just him in his mom. And so that created kind of a downward spiral in his life. And you can see it clearly, like, how that would correlate to him ending up driving his car into the fire hydrant. You start to understand some of the actions that people take, or how they could take those actions. Because me thinking about losing my mom -  and I have a support system - like that would devastate me. So I think about that in his life. So, yeah, there's a greater sense of empathy that I've built up through my project, and I find that it affects me on smaller instances too.  Like if someone cuts me off on the highway. Instead of just getting mad at them, I try to think, 'Okay, maybe their wife's in the hospital. She's about to give birth and they're trying to get there.' Because there are situations in my life where I felt like I needed to go faster than everyone around me. And so, once you hear other people's stories, it kind of helps frame your mind to think that way more often.

Kim Forrester:   22:06
We start seeing the people around us as human beings with stories and struggles, rather than just some strange face walking past us.

Rob Lawless:   22:15
Yes, 100%.

Kim Forrester:   22:17
Do you ever feel a need for aloneness, Rob? You spend a lot of your time, now, sort of seeking out people to meet and spending time with them. How do you recharge between social connections, or do you not have a need to recharge?

Rob Lawless:   22:31
I'm very lucky that I'm extremely extroverted in the sense that I gain energy from people. So I try to meet four new people every day, but I think that's the ceiling. That's like the magic number - that I'm still feeling ambitious about doing it, but also feeling exhausted at the end of the day. So currently I live with one of my best friends and his wife in Hoboken, New Jersey, and it's nice because they're very close friends of mine. So I can recharge just by interacting with them. But I do like my alone time, sometimes just that the end of the night, or in the morning. I think it's important to spend that time to recharge. I've noticed sometimes ... like there was a time in Philadelphia where I had a reunion party for anyone from my project to come out, see me again and then meet each other. And I went straight from four meetings into grabbing a drink with one of my best friends, into hosting that reunion. And the next day, I could feel it. And the only way that I could describe it is, it felt like a social hangover. Like I just didn't feel fully myself the next day because I didn't have that time to recharge. And I know that's different for every person. Like, I think there's some introverts out there who could never do my project at the rate that I'm doing it, because if it's not their personality to get that energy, it would be really difficult for them. So I'm very thankful for that in my life. 

Kim Forrester:   23:48
So obviously, although social connection is incredibly important for our well-being, it is equally as important to listen to and follow those desires, and those needs to actually sort of step back and be alone on occasion.

Rob Lawless:   24:01
For sure, yeah. I think it's important to have good relationships with ourselves, and that has served me well through this project, too. There are times over the last couple of years where I've split time between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. So I've driven across the country here in the States six times; five of those times by myself. And that was also really important time for me to just sit and think with my thoughts, and kind of strategise what I wanted to do with my life. And it was nice. It was nice to have that good relationship with myself where I could just sit and enjoy my own company.

Kim Forrester:   24:33
Yeah, that's really cool. Rob this may be completely out of your range of expertise, but I would love your point of view on it. Do you think that social connection is something that should be better encouraged by parents and guardians and mentors? And I say that because there is a trend, these days, to keep your children back and keep your children away from strangers. You know, there's stranger danger. And many teens are certainly told,  'I don't want you hanging out with that particular person, or that particular group of friends.' How do we balance this understandable desire for safety with a healthy appreciation for authentic social connection?

Rob Lawless:   25:15
Yeah, I will preface it by saying that I'm not a parent, so I'm sure when I become a parent I'd have different views on it. But I think that there are safe ways for parents to encourage connection amongst their children. Like I wouldn't encourage my children to go talk to the random men on the street or anything like that. But I think within their classroom to maybe educate our kids that, or try our best to help them understand that, there are other kids that have families and lives just like our own. And they're going through their own growth and their own struggles and whatnot. And to encourage them to have a sense of empathy with their classmates. I mean, I'm trying to think of the current landscape and how they could do that. I think maybe it's just, yeah like, teaching empathy and then maybe leading by example in their own life. So that's something their kids grow up in seeing that it's something safe to do when they get older as well. Beyond that, my thought is just going back to maybe having some type of thing in education, where a school or a club or something is creating this safe space for kids to connect with each other. Maybe that's something that we, as a society, place a greater emphasis on. 

Kim Forrester:   26:21
Well it could be a simple as .... certainly for my daughter's class, here in Singapore ... we always try to have social events outside of the classroom to give the kids an opportunity to connect in a different space, on a different level. So that's perhaps something that parents, if they have the opportunity, could try as well. Rob, my final question is one I ask every guest on the Eudaemonia podcast. Can you offer a morning reminder to my listeners? In your case, can you perhaps suggest a simple tool or practise that my listeners can use each day to connect more regularly and more authentically with the people around them?

Rob Lawless:   27:01
Sure. I would say, try to smile at one person each day. I feel like that's a very low risk, high reward act that you can do. And I feel like it's one of those things where we ... and maybe me being in the New York area now, it happens less so there than other places. But people don't tend to look each other in the eyes and smile at each other anymore. And I feel like, if nothing else, at the very least, you're making someone's day a little bit brighter. But maybe it leads to a conversation, and maybe that conversation leads to something that benefits your life in a way that you didn't know. So maybe just a small act of smiling at someone each day. And I think the more we smile at other people, the happier we'll be in our own lives. So hopefully that's something simple that people can take away.

Kim Forrester:   27:49
I love that. Another thing - if I might add to that too - is I often say to people, just introduce yourself to people that you see all the time; on the bus or in the hallway. Go up and say, 'Hey, I see you all the time and feel like I should know your name.' Is that something you think could be powerful as well?

Rob Lawless:   28:06
Definitely. And I remember one of my old co-workers, I can't remember the term for it or what what he was saying. But it's something like, there's a certain amount of time when you see people often enough that eventually you feel okay to introduce yourself to them. And maybe, once you make that introduction and you're able to start connecting with that person on a deeper level ... yeah, it's interesting. I think, whether it's someone who you know is on your routine or someone random, just by connecting with people, they're going to pop up in your life a lot more often. And that's something that I have seen through connecting with people from all over the place. And I think that's one of the benefits of connecton is, it makes the world feel a lot more like home. So maybe instead of this person just being a stranger on your commute, there's someone that you look forward to saying 'hi' to every day. And I think that's one of the benefits of actually knowing the story of that person around you.

Kim Forrester:   29:02
Oh Rob, I just love that: it makes the world feel more like home. If people want to find out more about you, Rob Lawless, where can they go?

Rob Lawless:   29:09
They can find me on Instagram - my handle is @Robs10kfriends. So that's where I take a picture with everyone that I meet and I post what I remember of their story. I'm also on Facebook and they can find me on my website: Yeah, and if they would like to be part of the project and we're in the same area, I would love to meet everyone who reaches out to me. And I'm hoping to travel eventually. So hopefully by the end of this project, I've met people from all over the world. But until then, if they're interested in the project, they can definitely follow me on Instagram.

Kim Forrester:   29:44
Well I know that you spend an awful lot of your day connecting with other people, and so I am incredibly grateful to you for choosing to give some of your time to me today. Rob Lawless, thank you so much for being a part of the Eudaemonia podcast.

Rob Lawless:   29:56
Thank you for having me, Kim. I definitely appreciate it and I appreciate the opportunity. And thank you for providing a platform for this message to get out there for people,

Kim Forrester:   30:06
As the New Zealand Maori proverb reminds us: He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people. It is the people. It is the people. You have been listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. If you'd like to learn more about how to live a truly flourishing life, please subscribe and check out for more inspiring episodes. I'm Kim Forrester. Until next time, be well, be kind to yourself and take time to connect with those who share your space here on this beautiful planet Earth.