Networking for Success

with Adam Rifkin

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Believe in the interconnectedness of all things

Adam Rifkin

Co-Founder of PandaWhale, Most Networked, Giver

Lessons Learned

Anything positive that you send out goes out around the world and comes back to you.

We are feedback loops; we are the stories that we tell ourselves.

Pronoia is the belief that people are out to help you.

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Lesson: Networking for Success with Adam Rifkin

Step #9 Interconnected: Believe in the interconnectedness of all things

I believe in the interconnectedness of all things and what that means is that everything is connected to everything else somehow. You take any two people and there is something they have in common and that's really interesting because it basically means that any two people could relate about something, you just have to find out what that common thing is. This goes back to interests again. Basically interests are the thing that connect us and so if you see the world as not seven billion distinct people but seven billion people who are interconnected, you realize that like any positive thing that you send out go round the world and come back to you, and any negative thing that you send out really hurts the world over and that makes you much more careful about what you do when you interact with people.

There's a second part of personal philosophy which says, "Things can always get better and you should look for ways to improve." That whatever situation you're in right now take what you have and you can create this feedback loop in it that can actually make things better. So it's a belief that people can continually improve themselves, that companies can improve themselves, that organizations can improve themselves and that feedback loop, the main driver of that is the story, so we individuals we are feedback loops, we are the stories that we tell ourselves.

When you wake up each day and you say, "I am 'blank',” whatever that blank is that you say that you are you become more like that person or to put in another you become the like the people that you spend time with and so you would have to choose really carefully who do I spend my time with because I am going to become more like those people because of these feedback loops. So it’s something that should make you very mindful of who you believe you are, who you want to spend time with and then that can drive everything else that you do with your time and your energy.

Part of why you put the philosophy on your LinkedIn, and everybody should put their philosophy on their LinkedIn, every time you visit it, you're feeding that back into yourself and becoming more like that person again. So when you pick your personal philosophies, it's not just an "I am this way," but "Every day I become more like this" kind of approach to it. The more important point is you pick philosophies that don't just represent who you are but who you really want to reinforce in yourself because who you are is not a static thing and that is the really interesting part.

When you're being authentic to yourself that's not just being authentic to you that you are right now, it's being authentic to the person that you're becoming as well. I said earlier that we can keep improving and you keep improving until the day you die, so every day is an opportunity to learn some stuff and to improve who you are. Your personal philosophies can feed back into that and really make it happen even more.

I'm going to read for you here's what I put it on my LinkedIn as things that I want to read on a regular basis because I can become more like them. I say, "Here are my core beliefs. Lessons are repeated until they are learnt. We believe in the interconnectedness of all things. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. Only kindness matters in the end. I think everything is about inclusion, so we should let go of the past and strive to be here now. The best way to do that is to simplify." When I read those core beliefs, they are all things that I believe but every time that I come back and read them, I'm feeding it back to myself and reminding myself that these are not just the person that I am but the person that I want to become more of.

Every time I feed it back to myself, I believe those things even stronger and if it was ever the case that I started not believe one of these things, I take it off and put up something that I did believe even stronger than that. By putting it up there, I can reinforce it, I can feed back to myself and I can keep getting better at being this person. That I think is the most important because you are who you are through the actions you do every day. That's really what reinforces your beliefs, that's how you become your authentic yourself and that's how you become the kind of the person that other people want to do business with.

I think Adam Grant made up the word pronoia. Pronoia rather than people are out to get you is, people are out to help you. If you approach each relationship not with mistrust but with trust, that somebody actually is looking out for your interest, you can get a lot further a lot quicker. Relationships are about trust. It's hard to trust people, especially people that you don't know very well but if you approach it with the attitude of this person could be helpful to me, it allows you to open up more and get to where you might want to go faster.

The downside to that is that you do make yourself more vulnerable. You do expose yourself to more potential hurt but, as we said about being in entrepreneurship, it's not about freedom from pain; it's about putting your dent in the world. It's about making the world different and hopefully better. It's about things that you are willing to endure pain for. This goes very much along the lines of that.

Most people, given the chance, want to do good for others. That's very eye-opening, as an introvert and as somebody who feels very awkward around people; it's very eye-opening to know that most people aren't out to get you. Most people do believe that we have a better society because people do things for each other. Actually, having that world view helps make that happen more because when you are open and trusting, people follow that lead. It's not to say that nobody will take advantage. Some people do take advantage, but more often than not, people say, "If this person is going to be open and trusting, I'll offer that too."

Sometimes people help me and they don't tell me. It's so much better if you tell the person because then, that way, they can give you feedback on what was great and what could be done better, and not only that but engaging them helps to deepen the relationship. I think the thing that I keep coming back to, is you don't exist alone. You are not just you but you and a set of relationships. The deeper you can make some of those relationships, the more fulfilling, the more meaning that you actually can find in your life, both personal and professional.

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