This is a continuation of my first post on quality. If you have four minutes to read it, it may provide some further context: How to Feel Quality.
I ended Part 1 with a two-part question. What would you pick and how will you know?
This post is intended to partially answer this two-parter.
Energy giving vs. energy taking
I was at a conference once when I heard a speaker talk about a very simple binary related to conversations.
He said, conversations are either energy giving or energy taking.
I want to talk about energy giving vs. energy taking, and explore that as a measure of quality.
As someone who tends toward introversion, I found this binary to be super relatable.
If I’m drained, often the idea of seeing and interacting with people causes me some anxiety, but when looked at through the frame of energy giving and energy taking, this changes completely.
Even as an energy-drained introvert, there will be some conversations I always look forward to having, because they are almost always energy giving.
I was reminded of this energy giving/energy taking idea recently after a particularly energy draining conversation I had. It was the most draining one I’ve had in recent memory.
Upon reflecting on this conversation, I’ve wondered about the connection between energy and quality.
My working hypothesis: Actions or experiences that give you energy are a signal of higher quality, and of course the inverse, actions or experiences that drain your energy are a signal of lower quality.
What does energy giving feel like?
The interesting thing about trying to describe a feeling, especially one like this, is that any of the words I choose to write won't really do it justice.
Jiddu Krishnamurti - one of my favourite philosophers - has a very simple saying, "The word is not the thing." That applies here.
I will try anyway.
If I had to sum up the feeling of energy giving in one word, I am going to steal a word that a friend texted me after we had a perfect example of an energy giving conversation.
His words were, "That was invigorating." (Thanks Boyd - I'm always grateful because our conversations are always energy giving for me).
If I had to give some examples of things I do or would suddenly feel the need to do while riding the high of invigoration, here they are:
Be more likely to outwardly or inwardly express gratitude to or for things that I would have normally overlooked
Be more open to experience and excited by possibilities
Temporarily turn into a better listener
Suddenly be more willing to perform acts of service
Be more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger
It's an extremely positive list.
A minor addition to my question
I ended my last post on quality with this question:
If you could pick one area in your life where you want to feel quality, what would you pick and how will you know?
I'll end this one the same way, with a single addition:
If you could pick one area in your life where you want to feel higher quality, what would you pick and how will you know?