Nowadays you find it everywhere. “Don’t you have it yet? Well, you’re way behind!” Is it fuss, this management hype or does it really add something?

What is purpose?

It is about the desire to achieve something. Some people know that feeling: you are so absorbed in your activity that you forget the world around you. It runs smoothly, it seems that your whole body and mind, all your senses are focused on what you are doing. You seem to be able to do everything – or at least to the extent necessary for the task at hand. It even feels a shame when it’s five o’clock and you can go home, no matter how pleasant the prospect of your family around you and an evening of relaxation can be. You were shining in the activity, sparking. And that’s exactly what the brain does: sparks intrinsic motivation.

In reality, this sparking appears to be rare. Why is it that only 18% of the employees are aware of the organizational goals of their work, only 12% believe in them and a mere 9% know what it all means to them? Where has the spark gone in the work?

Let’s turn the question around first and see what factors promote that sparking. Then it turns out that 80% is determined by sleep, nutrition, and exercise. This is hardly surprising and is relatively unrelated to the work situation. But here it comes: 20% comes from feeling and thinking power. 20%, that’s quite a bit. And feeling and thinking power is indeed related to what your work looks like (Energyboost, H. van der loo, 2013).

What you don’t see isn’t there     

You look with your eyes, but you see with your brain. Not everything your eyes pick up is passed on to your brain. Your brain struggles to combine so many lines into an image.

Similarly, our brains, in their function that we call “memory,” also find it difficult to retrieve information about what we like, but especially about what we want, if we don’t consciously think about it. If we don’t pay attention to it, we don’t see it – which is why feeling and thinking power are so important for the energy and inspiration that helps us do things.

How do we use our feeling and thinking power to find out what we want?

Various factors influence your choice behavior. Research shows that the part of the brain where emotions are processed, the amygdala, also known as the reptilian brain for evolutionary reasons, has a major influence on making choices. Your frontal lobe must provide the amygdala with a rational counterbalance.

It is different for every person how that interaction works out. That depends, for example, on past experiences and the way in which someone uses their thinking and feeling ‘power’ as a result. When someone is used to ignoring their feelings and instead using only their brain power, those suppressed feelings can start to express themselves in physical complaints. After all, the body has to find a way to do something with those emotions.

On the other hand, when someone has learned to direct his attention to his feelings, it may be that he/she acts (too) impulsively from his emotion. In short, the way in which someone uses their thinking and feeling powers depends on the way in which that person consciously or unconsciously deals with his attention.

Making choices

You once learned to ride a bicycle. Was what you did then a conscious choice? Or did you just go for it? Was it explained to you or did you find out along the way what worked well and what didn’t? Mostly the latter, I think. The same goes for choosing your attention: we call it implicit learning. The more we explain rationally in automatic skills, the less we can really focus our attention. But don’t let the emotions get the better of you either: the less we let them guide us, the more control we eventually have over what we do, which in turn gives us self-confidence. Give space to your intuition, and make sure you stay in the now, then you will also make more choices that suit you.

We make choices based on reason and emotion, as we have shown in the foregoing. But what about meaning? Do you choose that too? For some, it will. For others, meaning comes from your deepest inner wish, desire, and why you are here on earth. That is the core of meaning: the meaning, the meaning you give to this life. You do have the choice whether you give attention to and activate this desire or not.

That may sound a bit stilted, but in the practice of daily life, it is nothing more than the light that comes on where your heart and head come together in what you already do every day. Sometimes certain activities are so self-evident that in such a moment heart and head melt together, without you immediately calling it that. At such times you are most productive, creative, and effective.

And my purpose? A long time ago when I started my own business, I had the slogan “working on a pleasant working climate” with my business partners. Bringing more compassion into organizations, especially for what should not be there, because then everything will be so much easier. I see so many organizations and teams that are so clumsy with each other under tension. I’d like to put a little more love into that. Try selling that more… Fortunately, this fits perfectly with Social Innovation.


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