Over the weekend I took the kids to see Wall-E. As always, Pixar delivered with an amazing story that touched the heart. Wall-E is the story of a lonely robot left to clean up the earth after everyone else has left. He discovers classic movie footage and is amazed by the joy and love of two people who make a connection. He longs to make a connection with someone else and find someone to share his life with.
After many years, a probe ship lands and Wall-E is able to make a connection with a female robot named, appropriately, EVE. After a long courtship, and a great many adventures, he finally achieves his goal of simply holding her hand and sharing a moment with her.
I was amazed at how well pixar could illustrate the longing we all have to connect with others through two robots that barely talked. It shows how deep that longing is built into all of us, that almost instantly we could relate to what we see on the screen.
The longing for and power of human connection is all around us. Our greatest leaders have that ability to connect with others. Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Princess Diana could do it a macro level to audiences of millions. Even though some of them had trouble connecting with people on an individual level. Others have the ability to do it one person at a time and it is one the most valuable skills for a successful life. Books like Emotional Intelligence have long emphasized connecting with others over strict intelligence.
Not only does it increase our professional life, but (as Wall-E showed) our health and happiness is often related to our connection to others. Research has conclusively shown that when a baby is first born the best thing that a parent can do is hold them. They need human touch for survival. I once read that 90% of our happiness or sadness is related to whom we choose to spend our lives with. I wholeheartedly agree.