Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts

2017-08-18T13:19:53+00:00 February 22nd, 2010|Personal|

A gift gladly accepted changes everything. The imbalance creates motion, motion that pushes us to a new equilibrium, motion that creates connection.  Seth Godin

I have put off posting about the below article (hat tip to Jen Thomas) given it feels like a stretch.  But the “It’s Awesome!” feeling hasn’t passed, so I’m going to trust it.  Perhaps you’ll be able to gift wrap the idea into a nicely-packaged dare to dream box where I could not.

In the NY Times article Will You Be E-Mailing This Column?  It’s Awesome!, columnist John Tierney cites researchers Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman who, after analyzing the New York Times list of most e-mailed articles, checking it every 15 minutes for more than six months, found that readers share articles that inspire awe.

Source:  istockphoto

Berger and Milkman defined awe-inspiring as an ’emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the face of something greater than the self’. The motivation for mailing these awe-inspiring articles is not transaction-based (e.g. I send you something of practical value that you will return in kind) or to impress others with how well-informed we are, but to find “emotional communion”.  Meaning, “I’ve just read a story that changes the way I understand the world and myself.  If you read the article and feel the same emotion, it will bring us closer together.”

I’ve always cherished exchanging books/articles with people that I love.

Now I know why.


P.S.  May I now share with you an article with that inspires me?  It’s titled Carried by Luisa Perkins.

  • I have a photo of the parliament building in Dhaka, Bangladesh as a screen saver on my computer. I chose this screen saver because it reminds me of one of my favorite documentaries, My Architect, about Louis Khan. In the movie, we learn that Khan designed this building as a way to prepare the Bangladeshi people for a democracy when they were ready for it. It reminds me to have vision in the face of extreme barriers – cultural, physical and psychological.
    One of my tutors noticed this photo the other day on my computer and proclaimed, “Oh, I love that movie!” We spent the next 20 minutes communing around our impressions and feelings about the movie.
    I’d say we now understand a bit more of each other because we shared the observation of something awe-inspiring and beautiful.

  • I get lots of emails. I only forward the ones that really stand out to me. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are interesting, but mostly they are awe inspiring.

  • It takes a lot for me to be awe inspired. But when I have been, I do want to share it with others. And I love this idea of emotional communion. That is the objective of social networking isn’t it?

  • great article. Time and life is precious…the only links I go to are those that I feel will be of worth to me personally, and I always feel grateful and connected to the sender.

  • Lisle

    I think that anytime we share what we love, we’re sharing ourselves. It might be small, but that’s integral to growing and to building good relationships. You can’t love someone without knowing them at least a little.

  • So true… Great post, Whitney. I think this is why we tell stories. And when they’re truly good stories, they create the common ground on which we can connect.