Endo Mastery


In the 1960s, researcher Stanley Milgram published the results of an experiment which showed that a person in the United States was connected to any other person by a chain of six relationships on average.



Today, we colloquially call this effect “six degrees of separation” and its preliminary results have been reconfirmed by social networking researchers. In fact, modern analysis suggests the chain might be even shorter. To me, however, the most interesting part of the experiment is how the problem was framed for participants.


Subjects across the country were asked to facilitate the delivery of a package to a specific stranger, about whom they were given a minimal amount of information (first name, city, organization). Participants were asked (if they didn’t know the intended recipient personally) to nominate someone in their circle of social contacts who they felt would be more likely to know the recipient. “More likely” … that was the only guidance they were given. Subsequently, the nominated person was then asked to do the same thing, and so on until the package reached the recipient (in six steps on average).


This experiment is fascinating because participants used quite limited knowledge and gut-feel intuition to ascertain the next step out of many possibilities. Research shows most people sustain about 200 personal relationships, so the task of the average participant was essentially to choose one thing out of about 200 things as the next step … not even knowing what steps would be required beyond that. For example, if they were in New York and the intended recipient was in Boston, they could nominate someone they knew in Boston, and then the process was in someone else’s hands.


In this story there are two important numbers: six (degrees of separation) and one (choice out of many options). Now what if you apply this insight to your own problems, challenges or goals? What if you are just six degrees of separation from achieving your biggest goals and dreams? It’s a powerful concept that could potentially change your life because, even with limited knowledge, your gut instinct for the one thing that is more likely to move you forward is a really good bet. Somehow, amazingly, you already know the first of just six steps—and that can change everything.

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