Everyone knows the saying “it’s not about what you know, but who you know.” There is a sad amount of truth to this. And as a non-native speaker, especially those of you who live and work in a foreign country, the deck is certainly stacked against you because you have to use your second language to build your new networks.
So where do you begin? How should you go about building networks of friends and business relationships? The answer is very simple, although maybe a little bit counterintuitive. You should begin right where everything originates—your brain!
Everything that we manifest in the physical world begins as an idea in our brains. Our ability to communicate these ideas in turn is what allows us to build and grow together as a society. Thus, the more people we are able to express our own thoughts and ideas to, the more connected we can become in society. I don’t think I’m sharing any novel ideas with you here, but hear me out.
Bridge the Gaps with Writing
To become more expressive while we are talking in conversation, we need to bridge more and more gaps between thoughts and ideas in our heads. When we write, we are forced to think, which forces us to use logic and critical thinking. This is how we give our brains a work out, which in turn creates new neural networks.
It’s no different than going to the gym and lifting weights to build muscle. When we pick up heavy weights, we are building strength. We have gravity working against us though, which creates friction and leads to fatigue. Creating networks is exhausting due to the friction we are always fighting against.
Friction is What Makes Work Hard. Incentives Are What Make Us Work Hard.
In our daily lives, the friction that prevents us from writing on a consistent basis comes in many forms. It could be social media, work, family, etc. Work must be done to remove friction that exists between two things.
Everything in nature follows the path of least resistance, therefore, we need to remove resistance and friction that prevents us from writing on a consistent basis if we want to be able to grow our networks.
Step 1 is to identify your incentives. Understanding what you will gain from doing this work is key if you don’t want to end up wasting your time. If you’re older than 25 and you want to master something, your incentives must come from either love, money, or fear. I don’t make the rules unfortunately, but I do know this to be true.
Step 2 is to identify the friction that exists between you and writing. In the next piece I will share my personal story of how I have become more conscious and aware of my habits in order to remove friction from my work environment. For now though we will leave it at this.
The Path Less Traveled Can Turn Into a New Opportunity
Let’s imagine you want to create a hiking trail in the forest. Why do you want to do this? Because you really value walks in nature where you can be surrounded by nature and have time to clear your mind.
As you begin to create the trail, progress is very slow and requires quite a bit of effort as you have to dodge every tree, clear brush out of your way, and trample down all the overgrown weeds. You may even end up asking yourself, “Is this really worth it? I don’t even know where this trail will lead to. This is gonna take me forever.”
But as time goes on, the path that you have already created no longer requires effort to walk on, and maintenance is relatively easy as you walk on the trail every day and are able to keep it clear. Before you know it, you have a wonderful trail that never seemed like it would be possible to have.
Maybe you even meet someone new on the trail. You never know.