Strengthening Connections

(Originally posted 4th April, 2007)

My writing last week about the global consciousness got me thinking. If we run with the idea that we do form part of a giant, worldwide neural network, then what part do each of us play in the global net?

The purpose of each node in an artificial neural network is to process the information coming in, and then pass the results onto another node further down the line. Now, each node has a bunch of different input values, and part of the way that the network works is that different weights are given to each of the inputs, meaning that some sources of information are given more credence in the calculations than others.

It’s the same for us humans. Each of us puts different amount of weight on what comes into our minds, depending on the source of the information. We’re more likely to take something more seriously if it comes from a friend or a trusted teacher than if it comes from someone we’ve never met.

Credibility is an important thing in the modern world; if you can prove your worth to other people, they’re more likely to take you seriously and use the things you say and do more often in whatever it is that they’re doing. In some respects, it’s a measure of our worth to the network as a whole. The more people who take notice of what you do and benefit from it, the more credibility you have.

So, how do we go about getting more credibility? Well, it’s pretty simple really. Just do whatever it is that you want to do, simply because you enjoy doing it. It doesn’t really matter what you do – whether it be writing, fishing, darning socks, painting pictures, telling stories or whatever – so long as you put your heart into it and continue to try to improve the quality of your work, your credibility in that field is going to go up.

Now, that takes courage in some cases. Most of us are plagued by doubts and fears that somehow we’re not good enough, or even as good as the people who are already working in that particular field. Thing is though, most people are plagued with the same doubts when they start out, and it’s only through continued practice that they come to believe that they’re actually any good at whatever it is that they’re doing.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re good at some really obscure area or thing, you’re going to become a household name. But there will always be people who will come to admire whatever it is that you’re doing, provided that you just keep on doing it and trying to get better at it. Eventually, people may even start paying you for whatever it is that you’re doing, which gives you even more credibility, because now you’re a “professional”.

Most of us don’t put our hearts into what we’re doing. It’s kind of bizarre, but continuing on working on improving the quality of what we’re doing takes time and effort and often can be a whole lot of hard work. There are plenty of times when we begin to wonder if it’s actually worthwhile putting in the effort, especially when we don’t seem to be getting anywhere with it. But if we keep our eyes on whatever it is we’re trying to achieve in the long run, we’ll find that other people will start to take more notice of us, and our level of influence in the global consciousness will continue to rise. Eventually, if we get good enough, we may even become a household name after all.

It’s like Robin Williams said in Dead Poet’s Society, “Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make you lives extraordinary.” Put the effort into whatever it is you love doing and find a way to pass that information on to other people and you’ll find that your level of satisfaction in life will automatically start to increase. Other people will start to take you more seriously and you’ll find that you’ll be contributing more to the global neural network in no time.

And that’s got to be a good thing, right?