When was the last time you…

…asked fierce questions?

…emphasized uniqueness?

engaged with others?

…told stories that related past victories to potential solutions to present–and future–problems?

…ruthlessly eliminated hurry?

…were direct, but not demeaning?

…established a foundation of empathy with another person?

…didn’t read from the manual, but spoke from the heart?

…focused on the connection as the product rather than trying to persuade, cajole, or move another person into buying whatever it is that you are selling?

It’s hard to connect with others because performing the actions listed above is hard.

Not “hard” like plowing a field for planting wheat is hard. Or “hard” like picking lettuce in a field for $4.00 a day is hard. Or “hard” like working on a construction site to break up concrete.

Those kinds of “hard” are increasingly being performed either by human beings (who will soon be replaced by machines and artificial programs that can perform those actions better) or by machines and artificial programs that are performing those actions better right now.

It’s always been hard to make an emotional connection with other people and to break down the carefully constructed resistance to change we have constructed in our heads—that then manifests in our tools, our systems, our organizations, and our civilizations.

For humanity to remain a relevant, vibrant, force well into the future, we had better figure out how to make space for all human beings no matter their status to do the hard work of connecting.

Otherwise, what really separates us from the machines who will replace us?