I had waited almost a year after watching Conor Neil’s fantastic TED Talk about the business of finishing before I met him earlier today. In the context of having had a super intense discussion for a course project with my team (among my closest people in school) the previous night, I concocted a theory out loud about physical v/s mental distance in social relationships. Here’s a quick background story – The project is for the operations strategy course and it’s about the automotive industry. If there’s anyone in the world who remotely knows me, I can talk about it in my sleep but unfortunately, I had been struggling to accurately convey my enthusiasm for the project.
So, here’s the theory I cooked up – there are times when we feel incredibly lonely and miserable despite being surrounded by literally hundreds of friends, acquaintances, people, etc. everyday. It happens to all of us (Yes, I said it, ALL of us). And it’s okay. Sometimes there’s an enormous mental distance between you and a friend despite being in such close physical proximity that diminishes and gets compensated by a physical distance sooner or later (Surely, after a year!), when you’ll be a lot closer mentally. Imagine receiving a text from this friend out of the blue three years down the line and how reminiscing times spent at school can bring an instant smile on your face. It’s the physical distance at play, I’m telling you! Essentially, the vector sum of physical and mental distances in any relationship is always equal to zero (Ok, conceptually, but of course it might be debatable when quantified!). Though, there’s only one thing that can distort this equation – Alcohol, the universal social lubricant.
Otherwise, everything becomes so much more beautiful and larger than life when at a distance and zoomed out. Imagine zooming deep into a perfectly drawn straight line, further and further. Beyond a point, you can see the line as just a collection of pixels lined up one behind the other and it’s just not perfectly straight anymore. We start nitpicking at how it’s not perfectly straight anymore just like how we make judgements about people simply because they want to be a turtle one day and not, another day (Ok, this is an inside joke)/ So, the closer you get to people, the more you expose your pixels. If you’re lucky, they might start accepting and appreciating the irregularity of your pixels but that’s rare. But more often than not, we like to stand, watch, judge and move on.
So, unless you are super high resolution (deep personality types), people will stumble onto your pixels sooner than later and won’t find them too pretty. So you either spend enough time with people physically getting them to fall in love with the irregularity of your pixels or be the perfect straight line at a distance so you always look great! And aptly so, Prof.Neil thought I looked very happy.