When I went to my friend AJ’s conference in 2013, I met my first mentor, the talk I gave became a best-selling book, and I met about a dozen people who bought tickets to our first conference. I went from having 600 dollars in the bank to six figures within six months.

That wouldn’t have been possible interacting with people from behind a computer screen.


Every day we interact with each other from behind the comfort of our screens and devices. Yet we feel more lonely and isolated than ever. Facebook might have a mission to make the world more open and connected. But the more we use it, the more closed off and disconnected we seem to become.

We sit across the dinner table from people with our heads buried in screens. Walk through an airport or hotel lobby, and everyone has their head buried in their phone. This is not just an American thing. I saw it everywhere in India too. We treat social media as a viable substitute for human contact, but it’s not. In the words of Sherry Turkle, billions of people are “alone together”

What can you tell about another person from their Instagram uploads and status updates? You don’t hear their voice, feel their warmth or their pain. There’s no Facebook photo album for a person’s inner turmoil. We witness a highly curated version of someone’s life and conclude who they are and what they’re like.

When I was with my parents and their two close friends a couple of months back, I asked them how often they met in person. They said at least twice a week. They also talk on the phone at least every other day. I couldn’t think of one of my friends who this was true with.

According to happiness researchers, social support is one of the most significant determinants of our happiness. Yet, it’s slowly disappearing from our lives.

  • We don’t know or talk to our neighbors
  • We hardly see our friends
  • We text more than we call
  • We sacrifice the time we have with people who matter to us to become online spectators in the lives of people we’ve never met

In a recent episode of Hidden Brain, researchers conducted a study where two groups rode the subway. People thought they would be happier if nobody talked to them. But the group that started conversations with strangers rated themselves as being much happier.

“Without conversation, studies show that we are less empathic, less connected, less creative, and fulfilled. We are diminished in retreat,” says Sherry Turkle. It’s easier to look down at your phone than it is to risk rejection, by starting a conversation with a stranger. But, it’s also how you’ll develop the most important relationships in your life.

Face to Face

Swiping left or right is transactional. You can’t find trust, authenticity, or intimacy using Google. And exchanging texts and emails doesn’t give you a chance to really connect spirit to spirit with someone. If what you want is a meaningful relationship that goes beyond the surface, at some point, you have to get to know a person face to face. – Brian Grazer

You might be able to learn from another person by hearing their voice on a podcast, reading their blogs or book, hiring them to be your virtual mentor, or taking their online course. But there are limits to the intimacy and depth of any bond when you don’t meet each other in person.

You will want as much personal interaction with the mentor as possible. A virtual relationship is never enough – Robert Greene.

When your interaction with another person is purely digital, you don’t see beyond the avatar or persona they have constructed online. Even the most “authentic” people you know create social masks and personas. You can only see beyond those masks when you meet them in person.

The people you meet on the internet can change your life, but they change it in a much bigger way when you meet them in person.

I’ve met some amazing people via social media, but they changed my life because I met them in person.

  • I reconnected with a friend 18 years after graduating from high school. I was the best man at his wedding, and today he’s one of my best friends because we met each other in person.
  • One of my other mentors is someone I snowboard with regularly. When we raised our first round of venture funding, he was one of my references. We connected online, but our friendship developed in person.

I want this to be possible for you. That’s why I’m inviting you to come to meet me and some of our incredible podcast guests in person at The Architects of Reality.

This is an event unlike any other with no laptops, smartphones, social media hotel ballrooms, or venues that suck. At the Unmistakable Creative we think a conference should be more like a rock concert. If .