“The World Is Full Of Good!”
Nick Adkins: From Corporate Suit to Kilts and #PinkSocks
Nick Adkins cuts a striking figure, with his long beard, kilt and PinkSocks. It’s a far cry from his corporate days of suits and ties. But then so is his mission for kindness.
Nick is the co-founder of PinkSocks (pinksocks.life) a movement about creating a global community of empathy, community and love. PinkSocks are always a gift. They’re stunning and remarkable. And they open the door to a conversation with a stranger. Human connection is what pink socks are all about.
Nick talks about the story behind PinkSocks in this podcast. He has been taken back by the global spread of the socks.
PinkSocks is a movement or phenomenon that had no design or plan to become that. ..
It was simply born out of the ethos of giving.
The giving ethos has its roots in Nick’s first trip in 2010 to Burning Man. Burning Man is a community and temporary city of over 70,000 people that is created by Burners (the attendees) in the Nevada desert each year. It’s an event focused on community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance and based on ten principles.
The Ten Principles of Burning Man:
- Radical Inclusion: Everyone is welcomed.
- Gifting: Acts of gifting require no quid pro quo.
- Decommodification: No commercial sponsorships
- Radical Self-reliance: Individuals are encouraged to discover, exercise and rely on their inner resources.
- Radical Self-expression: Each person is unique and has unique gifts to contribute.
- Communal Effort: Cooperation and collaboration are at the root of the community.
- Civic Responsibility: Organizers have a responsibility for civic welfare.
- Leaving No Trace: Leave the environment in pristine condition.
- Participation: Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play
- Immediacy: This speaks to presence and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers.
The Power of Gifting
Gifting is the Burning Man principle that captured Nick’s eye and his imagination.
“The principle of gifting does not require quid pro quo.
If you give me something, I don’t have to give you a gift in return.
A person’s accepting the other’s gift IS the gift. Accepting with gratitude and love.
Seeing, really seeing, the other person in that moment…..that’s the magic!”
So it is that Nick greets people with “I see you!” to create a bond from the get go. PinkSocks are, in a way, a gift from the universe, creating the opportunity to “see” new people every day. At the grocery store, on a walk or at the Post Office, PinkSocks open the door to curiosity and conversation.
Each pair of PinkSocks is
A visual queue you’re part of something bigger than yourself
and it means different things to each person. I know I was very touched when I was gifted PinkSocks. For me it was a sense of recognition for my various websites over the years and the heart and soul that went into them. It was also about sharing the deep care I have for people facing bumps in the road. I’ve been there in so many ways and I know how hard it can be. And I know about isolation and the need for connection. My PinkSocks are wrapped in all that emotion, and more.
The PinkSocks website’s blog shares stories from #PinkSock recipients. From school children to astronauts, people share the meaning of the socks to them.
One fifth grade class in Pueblo, Colorado was gifted PinkSocks in January 2021. The next step: for the 5th graders to raise the money to gift PinkSocks to all their schoolmates in lower grades. It created a bond between age groups, a purpose greater than themselves, and opened the door to saying
“I See You.”
PinkSocks have even found their way into NASA:
When it comes to a gift of PinkSocks, there is no quid pro quo. Just accepting. And most likely a real conversation with connection and gratitude.
Bump In The Road:
When you wear a kilt, you have to wear fun socks.
Nick is quick to point out the dearth of authentic connection in our world.
The world is swimming in connectivity …we rarely lookup from our phones, we rarely take our earbuds out.
We don’t want to so is confuse connectivity with connection.
What the PinkSocks do is to allow you have an authentic connection with another person.
PinkSocks is first and foremost about connecting with other people. About listening with integrity and focus; and about “seeing” the other person. “I see you,” Nick says greeting people, often with a gift of PinkSocks in hand.
In the second part of this podcast, Nick and I explore the experiential ripple effect of goodness and kindness and Nick talks about how he uses Burning Man’s principles in his daily life.
Nick Adkins: The Impact of Gifting
“There’s a difference between connectivity and connection.”
“The world is swimming in connectivity…we rarely lookup from our phones, we rarely take our earbuds out.”
“What the PinkSocks do is to allow you have an authentic connection with another person.”
“I see you.”
“The world is full of good. When you believe it you see it.”
“Wearing these PinkSocks is the impetus for someone to say I like your PinkSocks.
I always say when those moments happen..It’s good to see you. I never say it’s good to meet you. It’s good to see you… There’s different energy around those phrases.”
“Being seen is so important for all of us as humans. This craving for connection that we all have that’s hard wired into our DNA, we all want it as humans. “
“I’m going to say yes and let go of a lot of conditioning of fear and constructs of judgement and just see how beautiful I cancel to allow yourself to float without those constructs and confinements.”
“Somewhere along the way I made the decision, I think I can live Burning Man year round.”
“Is it possible to live those ten principles every day? And the answer is yes. What a change that’s made in my life.”
“Oh my goodness the exponential ripple effect of good and kindness. “
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