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Only Connect

Teens connecting after school

Connection is the main force that makes us feel safe and leads us to love life. Without it, we slump, feel listless, lose motivation, and hide. Right now, lots of people are hiding in plain sight. Most people do not get enough positive connection to feel good. We’re living in a toxic epidemic of disconnection.

As the song put it, “What the world needs now is love sweet love.” The world has always needed love, sweet love, but now it’s in dangerously short supply. People say crazy, hateful things just to get famous. Going viral matters more than doing good. Being un-noticed is like living in hell, so people do really stupid, mean things just to get other people’s attention. Attention has become more precious than gold, certainly more precious than love.

And the solution? What can you, or I, or pretty much anybody do to find reliable joy and purpose in life? Take drugs? They do work for a while, but then they go bad on you, maybe even kill you. Is there anywhere to be found a safe, reliable, you-can-bet-your-life-on-it answer?

Yup, there is. And guess what? He or she is sitting right next to you, pretending not to see you, just like you’re pretending not to see him or her. Or maybe the person you’re meant to connect with is across the room, or perhaps next door, or even miles away. But the person is there for sure, waiting, hoping to connect, just like you.

What holds you back? We know what it is. It’s fear, of course. You don’t want to be rejected, made fun of, misunderstood, exposed. But if you let fear rule you, if you hide, your isolation and pain only continue. If, on the other hand, you take a chance, if you say, “No, I refuse to hold back on life out of fear,” then you can bet the only life you’ll ever have on this: sooner or later you will find connections that will not only make you happy and mad excited to be alive, but will also propel you to success and joy like you’ve never known before. And not just connections to other people will do this, so will connections to teams; clubs; pieces of music or art; dogs, cats, and all pets; a sunset; a sacred moment; the best new restaurant ever; your lost friend you reconnect with; and any one, any place, or any thing at all outside of yourself you come to do what’s called love.

Friends, and I call you friends even though I do not know you, we’re all in this life together, so we might as well be friends, don’t you think? Match what you’ve got to lose against what you’ve got to gain, and it’s like a total, duh!, no-brainer. No one ever becomes happy alone, at least not for long. Connection is the magical, even holy force that turns life from a stinking rotten deal into the best deal anyone ever finds.

So, don’t hold back. Don’t let fear stop you for one more second. Reach out. And reach out again. And again. Then enjoy the cascade of good times and good feelings that will shower down upon you.

About the Coach

Dr. Hallowell

Dr. Edward Hallowell.

Ned is a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is the Founder of The Hallowell ADHD Centers in several US cities. Dr. Hallowell is a New York Times bestselling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics including the groundbreaking Driven to Distraction. In addition to being an Advisor, Ned coaches Robin's community of parents and teachers form stronger connections with their middle and high schoolers.

Meet Ned