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Small World

I work at an organization that operates all over the world. Which means that whenever we read about a tragedy, no matter where it is, our thoughts immediately go to "are all of our people ok?" There is almost nowhere in the world where reading about an event doesn't evoke the question and a nagging sense of worry. It is kind of profound to have this sort of connection to the greater world.

Think about this: You hear about a tragedy that directly affects a hundred people across the world. What is the chance you know somebody involved? Probably not all that high. But what is the chance that you know somebody, who knows somebody involved? Much higher. There is this idea that everyone in the world is connected to everybody else with a maximum of six degrees of separation. Meaning you would very likely know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone involved.

As the world becomes more connected the estimate of six degrees of separation is lowering. Research from Facebook in 2016 shows that the number may be as low as 3.57 degrees. The days of a big world where problems are too far away or don't affect *us* are gone. Everything now affects everyone, with the degree of directness increasing. I'll probably find myself in conversations saying "what a small world!" more and more often.

What is going on in your world?

Greetings have always been interesting to me. They are the starting point for communication. Good greetings provide a basis for meaningful and rewarding conversations. While bad ones more often lead to transactional interactions or unengaging small talk.

For a while, the two most common greetings I have used are "What's up?" and "How are you?" My favorite, at least in theory, being "How are you?"

It is a wonderful thing to know how the people in my life are actually doing. Though for whatever reason casually revealing how you are doing, unless you are doing great, is against the social norm in the United States. Additionally, because the greeting is so common, the question is usually given no real thought and the response is a rehearsed "Great! How are you?" Just a pushing back of the underlying socially uncomfortable question to the person who asked it, with neither side intending to give an answer.

Because I find this unsatisfactory, lately I've been trying out new greetings. With the goal of finding one that more often leads to meaningful conversation.

A greeting that I have found particularly satisfying is "What is going on in your world?"

This one often works well because, while we are not very comfortable casually talking about emotions in the United States, we are comfortable talking about the good and bad things going on in our lives right now. This is a great starting point for having a discussion about things that actually matter. In contrast, the starting point when asking "How are you?" is an emotional question. Because of the stigma attached to casually discussing emotions, an honest answer is often avoided and the conversation redirected to a petty chat.

"What is going on in your world?" is also a partly empathetic greeting. By asking about what is happening in *your world* it is recognized that the person has an entire universe of things going on in their mind and conveys an honest interest in hearing about some part of that world.

Detroit Art

I love how much public art there is in Detroit. This is a really cool upcoming art project that will put light up structures around the city

How Can I Help?

How can I help?

This is always a good question to ask. I am going to work on asking it more often.

What a Wonderful World

Especially in uncertain times, it's good to remember how amazing and beautiful our world can be. What a Wonderful World will be playing on a loop in my head for the next couple of days.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
But they're really saying I love you.

I hear baby's cry, and I watched them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Endearing and hopeful.

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
But they're really saying I love you.