Helping leaders emerge


Why Conditional Love Matters

I’d like to share five key themes from this week’s Ten Percent Happier podcast The Art and Science of the World’s Gooiest Cliché with Dan Harris and Barbara Fredrickson who discuss important operating principles and practices for a healthy life that lead to happiness and even performance. The power move here is while these practices are simple, you have to take them seriously and remember to do them.

Key Themes:

  • Expand Your Social Connection Circle. Fredrickson defines love as co-experienced positive emotion broadening the definition of love to include a much broader range of human interactions beyond our intimate circles. Her definition of love includes positive emotions that result from connecting with colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers via micro inter exchanges throughout the day.
  • Seek Conditional Love. The importance of connecting in real time, face-to-face with others when the exchange is mutually positive and beneficial (not one sided).
  • Love is a Trainable Skill with Benefits. Because love is a use it or lose it skill, as we move out of our COVID cocoons, managing social anxiety is real issue for many of us so be gentle with yourself (and others) as we get back in the game of connecting with others, which may feel awkward at first.
  • Love is Good for Your Health and Productivity. Simple practices like chatting with colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers where the exchange benefits both parties can have profound implications on your psychological and physiological health and even lead to professional productivity.
  • Keep in Mind the 3 to 1 Ratio. Prioritize your day to include three positive experiences like connecting with others, acts of kindness, and meditation to counter balance each difficult one. Based on client feedback and research, I’d include exercising & body movement, journaling, being in nature, tending to flowers & plants, painting, cooking, baking, star gazing, laughing, and disconnecting by taking breaks from technology & news. What practices work for you?

To learn more, click here to listen to the podcast The Art and Science of the World’s Gooiest Cliché with Dan Harris and Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Spring by Mary Oliver

In the spirit of a renewed sense of hope and optimism given vaccine accessibility and the transition into spring (it was a long winter!), I am sharing Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem for this month’s blog …

by Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.