In it, Milgram instructed people to administer a shock, or zap, to the “subjects” when they were slow to react to instruction. Of course, the “subjects” were actually in on it and the people holding the zapper were the real focus.
Godin points out,
“The internet has become a giant version of this, except the shocks are real.”
People can now zap you, change your mood or disrupt your thinking, with few barriers. This circle of people used to include only close family members and friends. Now the internet hands that ability to millions of strangers.
If you let it.
This is where Godin gets really perceptive:
“Extending the circle of people who are able to zap you is human nature. It’s easy to do and tempting, too (because it feels as though you’re gaining the ability to have others approve of you). On balance, my guess is that a large number of strangers holding on to electric shock buttons is a dangerous situation. But it’s up to you.”
One thing I am proud of in my life is the ability to discern people’s intentions and hearts. It leads me to have a small number of trusted people. Some call it being guarded. I call it being discerning.
As Godin pointed out, extending the circle of people with the ability to zap you is human nature. We prize openness. But it is also important to know when to be closed.
The Zap stings. It has very real consequences, like pain, depression, love, bitterness and closeness. Some good, some bad.
It’s both that should make us discerning about who gets The Zap in our lives.
Have you felt The Zap in your life? Do you think you give the power of The Zap to too many people?
Leave a comment and let’s talk.