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Freelancing, Failure, Follow-up, Risk, Reframing and the Passionate Life: Gregg Levoy Intvw Transcript Part 2

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GL: That makes sense.

Rob: But you talk about connection so talk a little bit about connection.

GL: Well, yeah, it's one of those great bottom up desires. Well, I certainly talk about it in the chapter I think called a spark needs a gap, which is about passion -

Rob: And eyes wide open too.

GL: Oh, and eyes wide open, right. The chapter on passion in the context of relationship. Right, but I mean my senses, ultimately we come into this world utterly connected to other people and I also being a twin, I have an extra dose of connection; in fact, the relationship I have with my twin preceded the one I have with my mother; really in many cases. And so I carry an extra gene you might say in that department, but we start out life utterly connected, you know? And I think alienation is such a huge issue in the culture, has been for a long time and of course you know, people like Durkheim have been talking about it since the fifties. But, you know you got to wonder in a culture - in a Facebook culture, or even a Snapchat culture where people say I have seventeen hundred friends, and you know the question that blooms in my mind is yeah and do you have anybody you could call up in a crisis? You know what I'm saying? So our sense of what connection involves I think is in many ways deteriorating, not that I want to demonize the Internet or Facebook or anything like that because there are ways that people can connect that they couldn't before. Right, families that are scattered to the four corners can connect with one another through the Internet; I don't want to demonize it. And, the notion of that you're connected to seventeen hundred people as friends is seriously questionable in my mind. Connection means someone you can sit in front of and look at their eyes and feel who they are and feel known and feel like you belong, I mean this is at the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy. You know? It's right down there with food, clothing, and shelter, the very next band on the pyramid is connection; is belonging. And there's a critical need to feel like we belong to people and I mean really belong to people; the kind that only happens when you devote real time, face time, not Facebook, to developing relationships, you know, not just tweeting people and telling them what you're wearing today and you know that you just came out of Macy's and you got a killer retail success, you know. But the kind that really involves vulnerability, which is why I love Brene Brown's work in terms of connection.

Rob: Who?

GL: Brene Brown.

Rob: Brene Brown?

GL: B-R-E-N-E. She wrote the book Daring and Greatly, maybe one of the most popular Ted talkers and she talks about the power, and I stress the power, of vulnerability. This is partly what I think we need to bring into our connections with other people. You know, the willingness to be revealed, the willingness to share, the willingness to be vulnerable. And she makes a brilliant case and she's a researcher at the University of Houston, she's a brilliant researcher and a case for the power of vulnerability, not the weakness of it. And I think that this culture has this notion that vulnerability is defeat and she's saying it's just the opposite, it's strength.

Rob: So are you.

GL: For me?

Rob: So are you saying that.

GL: Oh, so am I saying that. Actually, and it's been my experience, you know. For instance in relationship, the willingness to be vulnerable I have no doubt at all at this point of my life that vulnerability and relationship builds strength into that relationship. Absolutely builds strength into it.

Rob: Explain that.

GL: Well, the willingness to reveal myself and to share my vulnerabilities draws compassion out of my partner. It draws compassion, it draws equal and opposite reactions, Newton's third law of motion gets kicked into high gear. The other person comes back with revelations of their own and the intimacy deepens. So that's an example of vulnerability as a strength, building strength into relationships and connections. And I think it often operates that way. Now I'm not saying that if your castle was being besieged by an enemy army that a breach in the wall would be strength not vulnerability; that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about warfare, I'm talking about, I mean, connection, you would ask the question you know. In that context, people grossly underestimate the power of vulnerability. They think of it as an enemy rather than an ally, speaking of Joseph Campbell's paradigm.

Rob: You have a major section in your book about relationships too, in terms of passion.

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