I'm just back from the Liverpool TEDx talks yesterday and I'm inspired! Two men and one woman, ChauKei Ngai billed as a 'fierce yogini' in particular inspired me, well three men actually but one completely unrelated in some ways to this post, but who made me laugh so much I had to include the wonderful Mr Bingo! Actually Mr B isn't so unrelated in fact as he was evidently a living, breathing example of following your flow and your creative passions!
The two men I mainly mention here though were Dave Evans of Silicone Valley and Stanford's Life Design Lab, and Dan Cable, a professor at the London Business School, whose own story of sudden diagnosis of stage 4 lymphoma totally re-routed his life. These two men, in differing but similar ways, are both strong advocates of finding and following your passion in life, and for Dan, this crucial awakening led to him concluding that a 'seeking system' is an innate human trait that needs to be honoured in order for us to truly thrive. In fact, when ignored or squashed it can actually create physical illness, so what exactly is a 'seeking system' and why can it so negatively or positively impact us?
A seeking system is basically an inherent need for a human being to experience contrast, fulfilment and variety in life, a trait which leads us to 'seek out' new experiences and create change in order to fulfil that need. Of course we spend most of our adult lives and time in the workplace and so it makes sense that we need this variety and expression whilst there! I've always recognised and responded to a huge range of stimuli in my own life, I'm sure many of us have, and in fact it was in another TED talk on multi-potentialites that I first came to accept that perhaps it wasn't such a bad trait to have, this 'mistress of all trades' thing I had going on!
It's been a long time since I lived a life where I spent all of my weekdays dreaming about how I could escape the mundanities of work until the weekend, or the next holiday. According to statistics, 70% of people do not feel they can be their best at work, and this can actually have a physiological effect as well as a psychological one and here's how...
The Ventral Striatum is the part of the brain that seeks new things and experiences. It's also where our reward system lives with the delivery of dopamine, the neuro-transmitting chemical messenger that makes us feel alive and well. Without the stimulation of this part of the brain, there can be very real effects of our cellular health, and studies are now being done which highlight the fact that the regulators for immune function are inherently linked to this sense of wellbeing, so much so that without this stimulation and reward system, immunity begins to shut down. In other words, our resilience is directly affected by our engagement with life and what we do.
We need 3 things in order to really thrive:
1. Self Expression
2. Exploration and Experimentation
3. The Personalisation of Purpose.
And yet there has been what Dan and Dave might call a 'creative apartheid' in the work place for many, where those at the top, rather than seeking out employees strengths and pleasures and maximising on those, instead choose to create hierarchies where there is little to no chance of true creative fulfilment in their day to day experience of employment. The best indicator for survival and healthy longevity evident in one recent survey undertaken with over 7,000 participants, and then reviewed some 14 years later, was having a feeling of meaning and purpose in life.
In my work and life I have most definitely found this to be true! The more I'm living with variety, fulfilment and creative self expression, the more well I feel on all levels. How about you? Are you activating your seeking system or are you suppressing it? Do you recognise the link to your health and wellbeing with living a fulfilled life?
If you're not currently living with that, what small steps can you make to create change? Don't wait until you are ill, or dying before you choose life...start today!
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
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