One way to feel secure, happy, calm, and stable is through our ability to connect to nature’s accessible resources. Water, which makes up 70% of the human body and is essential to the existence of life, just as the earth is essential to grow food. Food too, is a resource from nature that we need to live. The air that we breathe needs to be of high quality. Each of these resources are vital for life.
Just as we need access to nature in order to feel healthy, I think we also need a different type of resource: emotional resources.
Rick Hanson, who studies the human brain, motivation, and neuroplasticity, divides emotional resources into three categories: (1) security; (2) enjoyment; and (3) connection.
Here are some examples of these resources from my personal life:
- Family and friends, and people that make me happy
- Smiles and when people say nice things
- Clothing that makes me comfortable
- Feedback and compliments about something that I did that was important
- Projects and relationships between people who I connected to one another
- Life shows
- My favorite foods – raspberries and strawberries
- Spending time in nature
- My house
There are of course some resources that can fit into multiple categories. Naturally, this list could go on forever.
How does this work?
Our ability to feel good, and to turn this into a drive of productivity, is directly related to my connection to my resources. Let’s take an example from a project: running an event for a target group. In order to make the event happen, I need to:
- Choose meaningful content
- Understand who my target audience is
- Identify speakers and look for participants
- Find a hosting space
- Invite speakers and check their availability
- Set expectations regarding the event, and what’s important for each person
- Think about branding
- Pick a visual language
- Design an invitation
- Select marketing methods relevant to the target audience
- Publicize the event according to these platforms, track registration, and potentially increase marketing efforts
Is it easy for me to undertake this project? It depends on enjoyment and connective resources.
Enjoyment: motivation, curiosity, desire to learn
Connection: How easy is it for me to turn to people and propose that they join? How many people do I know? What will I do if they reject me? If not enough people register, do I shift my approach or not? I could spend hours thinking about these questions. What can help me with this is to make a list of my qualities that can help:
- Strong communicator of value
- Interest in bringing people together
And what are the qualities that I don’t have, that I can ask for help with?
- Physical planning
- Operational implementation
My way of getting help, or improving my resource in this situation, can come from a few different approaches: learn more about the topics I need to get better at, turn to others for advice, or ask others to take on the leadership in these responsibilities where I don’t feel confident. Here, there lies a challenge, in acknowledging for myself that it’s okay that I still have things to learn. My ability to ask for help is also a resource that took me time and courage to recognize (highly recommended).
When looking at social change, just like with the example of holding the event, my suggestion is to break down each step and to map in which aspects I feel fully resourced, and in which I do not. I recommend right this down, and looking back at the list after a couple of hours; perhaps a new idea will come up. In the spots that need a bit more filled in, I can put down activities such as:
Security – going out for a walk in the park/nature
Enjoyment – remember what my original desire to begin this process was. What would make me happy in this exact moment?
Connection – have a call with a colleague or a person who knows my work well, and can provide another perspective. This can help us refuel, take a break, renew our energies, and refill our resources that help us move forward.
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