When I was in college, I would always hear the business majors talk about how important it was to make connections. They would say that making connections was the key to success; but I have a problem with their reason why.
These guys thought this way, not because they really wanted to interact and connect with the world around them. They said it because they wanted something. They wanted to make connections because they believed they could get something out of the other person one day.
That’s not connecting. That’s manipulating. I don’t believe that their professors were trying to tell them that it was ok to go out and use people when they told these students to make connections. However, somewhere, the reason to make connections was lost in translation.
Do people help you out after you’ve made a connection? Yes. Will they if you meet up with them and pretend to be friends with them in hopes that they will hook you up? No.
A connection, by definition, is “a circle of friends or associates…” (dictionary.com). A connection is someone you actually know. Not someone you’re merely an acquaintance with.
When you connect with someone, it isn’t so you can just take. It also means that you give. The best way to ever connect is to give to others, to serve them in some way. If you want to connect, you have to put yourself out there and do the things you want to do and enjoy doing.
I’ve made some of my best friends from doing Jiu-Jitsu. It’s the guys you train with day-in and day-out, the ones you help during a roll, even the ones that you just make feel welcome when they walk into the gym. Work with other people, and they’ll work with you.
When you put yourself out there by doing what you love, you will find other people who share your passion. You will attract similarly minded individuals. Good people attract good people.
No Jiu-Jitsu practitioner became talented by being a lone wolf. They became talented because they were willing to give. When you find ways to give to the Jiu-Jitsu community, it will find ways to give back to you.
Don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you. Go to them. Connect with the world around you. Get experiences. Gain memories. Most importantly, give. Whether it’s time, knowledge, or talents, find a way to give. If you’re only willing to take, you’ll find that no one wants to give you anything. We do Jiu-Jitsu because we love it and we want it to grow. It can’t do that if we only give to people who aren’t willing to give as well.