Welcome back to another episode with Danny Levin. In the last episode, we discussed Danny’s journey and how we can do better at listening to ourselves and others.
Today, we’re going to discuss the four practices of connection in Danny’s book, The Mosaic.
4 Practices of Connection
The first connection we need to have is the connection to ourselves.
“What I found in my life is every time I set out to do something, there was this nagging voice inside my head that said, ‘You can’t do that; what are you crazy? You’ll never accomplish that,’” Danny said. “So I put up a wall to protect myself. . . . The world that I lived in [became] a world where I’m surrounded two millimeters away by a silo that protects me and also suffocates me.”
Danny’s internal critic hurt him so much that he built a wall around himself. He created a barrier between himself and the outside world so he would be safe. He painted himself to look like someone else, someone he thought other people wanted to see, so he could avoid being hurt. However, he soon realized that he couldn’t get anywhere surrounded by a barrier.
Once he realized how much the walls were hurting him, he started to take them down. But first he had to ask himself, “Why did I put these walls up in the first place?” He built them because he said unkind things to himself. In order to remove the walls we build around ourselves, we need to practice kindness.
“When I practice being kind to myself, suddenly there’s no attack anymore and I can bring down the walls,” Danny said.
When we are kind to ourselves, when we are accepting of the way we are, we can have a deeper connection with others. With our walls down, we are also open to more opportunities. We can see more than just ourselves.
The next connection we need to have is the connection to the one who is bigger than us, whether that be God or the creator.
“When I have a connection to myself, it opens up the option for me to have a connection to something greater than myself, something bigger than me. The practice of doing that is the practice of vulnerability,” Danny said.
When we break down our walls and realize there is something bigger than us, we realize God is in control. We aren’t in control. We should be vulnerable and start listening to what the creator wants to say.
Once we can be vulnerable and open, we can share our true selves and reach our full potential in our personal lives and in our business lives.
Once we have developed a connection to ourselves and something greater than ourselves by practicing kindness and vulnerability, we need to live purposefully. With our walls broken down, we suddenly can see the bigger picture. We may ask ourselves, “What’s my place in this world? Why am I here?”
“You start to realize the one that’s greater than us doesn’t need to create carbon copies of things he doesn’t need to,” Danny said. “Once we do what we’re meant to do, no one will ever need to be created to do that again. If that’s the truth, then in order for me to be created to come to this place and do what I have to do, I have to do this life right here, right now.”
Danny realized that no one can be exactly like him. What he will do has never been done before because he is the only Danny Levin created. We were all created uniquely with a unique purpose. When he realized this, he changed his mindset to focus on going down his own path, instead of following the path of others.
The same lesson can be applied to our businesses. Oftentimes, people will come to us and say, “You need to follow this model. You should do exactly what I did because it worked for me.” But we need to realize that if we try to do the exact same thing as someone else, we might make a lot of money, but we won’t be fulfilled.
“We can never be happy living somebody else’s model. We need to find the model that’s our model; we need to do life here and come with our purpose and fulfill our purpose,” Danny said.
In order for us to realize our unique purpose, we need to recognize that we are unique individuals. We shouldn’t try to be exactly like someone else.
“In nature, the mountain never says, ‘I want to be the river.’ But human beings say, ‘I want to be like you. I want to be like that person. I don’t want to be me, I want to be like that.’” Danny said. “We think we have to be these extraordinary people. Even Superman comes back to being Clark Kent sometimes. . . . No wonder we have a global pandemic of people that don’t feel good enough.”
He continued, “Ordinary is the most beautiful thing in the world,” Danny said. “There’s nothing more beautiful than a sunrise [yet] it happens every single day at the same time. . . . There’s nothing more beautiful than the change of color of leaves at fall, [yet we] know exactly the timeframe in which it happens every year. Completely ordinary.”
Build Our Mosaic
Finally, we can start to build connections with others. We can focus on building our mosaic.
“A mosaic is made up of every different color possible, every different shape, every different size. Some are broken, some have texture on them, some are matte, some are glossy, and some are beautifully radiant with color. The beauty of a mosaic is it brings both like-minded and unlike-minded people together,” Danny said.
We should seek to build our mosaic with both people similar to us and people very different from us. As we do this, we can learn new things and build better ideas. In our businesses, this means we should network and work with others. We should seek to connect with people from all different backgrounds and we should look for brilliant business partners and employees to help us in our careers. Remember, we don’t have to do anything alone. When we work with other people, we can create something greater than we ever could on our own.
“It’s been small groups of people that have come together that have changed the course of civilization. If you look at every major initiative, every major change that’s happened in the world, it hasn’t been by overwhelming the masses of people, it’s been by a small group of people who came together and decided that this is a better way to live,” Danny said.
Danny gave the example of Jesus Christ gathering his 12 disciples. He brought ordinary people together with different backgrounds and different personalities to work together to change the religious structure of the world. When we build our businesses, we should also seek out the seemingly ordinary people who can help us accomplish something amazing.
Thank you so much Danny for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- The first connection we need to have is the connection to ourselves and in order to build this connection we need to practice kindness.
- The second connection we should develop is a connection to something greater than ourselves. When we do this by practicing vulnerability, we open ourselves to new opportunities.
- To live purposefully, we need to understand that we were created uniquely with our own unique purpose. We shouldn’t try to be exactly like someone else.
- There is beauty in the ordinary.
- Finally, we should build connections with others, both with those similar to us and those very different from us.
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