Of dogs and fulfilment

Every now and then, I  get a little obsessed with my need to deliver. Luckily, my dogs tend to remind me of the fact that there’s more to life than being useful. 

This morning, one of the two insisted on being on my lap, and when that didn’t work, on my overcrowded desk. So, as I’m typing this, for every full-stop, he gets a cuddle. It makes both of us feel better. But it got me thinking about the relation between contributing and connecting. 

I view both as drives of our We-mind, which is focused on the well-being of the group. But productivity can be about contribution and about self-expression, the drive of our Me-mind, which is focused on our own well-being. 

Self-expression or creation can make us feel good about ourselves. But what is it worth if we can’t share it with anyone? Whether it’s an idea, a strategy paper, a work of art, a book, a garden design, a meal or anything else, if our creation doesn’t lead to connection, why bother, is what my We-mind asks. 

Yes, I have enjoyed creating lots of content that I haven’t shared. I can’t think without writing, so a lot of it is just to collect my thoughts. But some of it, I did write with the intention to share it. The reason to hold it back was not that I was satisfied by the act of creation in itself, but because I didn’t think anyone would find it useful enough. Instead of feeling accomplished, that tendency to judge my work as insufficient left me with a slight feeling of emptiness. 

Writing my book has given me a lot of clarity. I can see how my Me-mind is convinced that I do create value and wants me to give myself permission to publish that content, imperfect as it may be. 

While I wrote that last sentence, faintly in the background, I could hear my We-mind ask: are you sure you can say this about yourself? For me, it has become so obvious that striking the right balance between our two minds is the foundation for feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. 

How about you? What makes you feel accomplished and fulfilled? 

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