One Degree of Separation

Last week, I wrote about an agreement from a women’s conference that I really loved and this week, I have one more for you: The answer is in the room.

At Sara’s conference, we agreed up front that the answers we were seeking were “in the room” already. I found this such a comforting thought. It reminded me of the movie, Six Degrees of Separation which crafted a plot around the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. There was actually a Facebook platform application named “Six Degrees” developed by Karl Bunyan, which calculated the degrees of separation between people. It had over 5.8 million users, as seen from the group’s page. The average separation for all users of the application was 5.73 degrees.

We even tested it in the room at Sara’s conference. Someone had written a goal to meet and pitch their idea to Richard Branson but had no idea how to go about making that crazy dream actually happen. Sure enough, there was a woman in the room who had not only met Richard Branson but had worked on a mutual project with him and his team and had his direct number in her phone. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been there.

At another conference, I’ve participated in an exercise where over 80 people wrote a goal or desire on a notecard that they did not know how to move forward on, and then we moved around the room until most of us had made a connection with someone actually in the room or a “friend of a friend of a friend” who could help make it become a reality. For the few who did not find their connection, it was assumed that with a little more time (potentially at the evening cocktail party), they would.

What would life look like if you truly believed that the answers you seek and need are “in the room”; that every door you need opened, every introduction to those you want to meet, every resource of money, ideas, people, tools, knowledge, and skills you desire was no more than six conversations, and most of the time as little as one conversation, away from you? If you believe this as I do, then you are never really stuck. You may only need to be reminded and convinced to share your goal, ask for what you really want, and put yourself out there by opening up to the conversations that hold the answers you need.

If a true recession is inevitable in the next year, we will all be faced with challenges and setbacks. But some will thrive in spite of those setbacks. I’ve seen it happen predictably in every one of the trying times I have experienced throughout my 45-year career. Those that thrive will try new things, talk to new people, consider new ideas because they will operate on the belief that the answers they need to succeed are “in the room” and no more than a few conversations away from them.

This week, every time you think of a desire, goal, or stuck area, remind yourself that the answer you seek is essentially “in the room” and within your reach… if only you will dare to reach for it.

Ask big questions, find big answers.

~ Sugata Mitra


  1. This is what I needed to hear. Work has been challenging, frustrating, and exhausting to say the least. I am wondering if I am on the right path, because the environment at work is hostile and toxic I am looking for a change and it is not easy to find a fit. I need to reach out to find that connection.

    Thank You

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