The Big Idea
“Pass on what you have learned.” – Yoda
At The52Project we take some of our best quotes from StarWars and other Disney films! In fact one of our special guests and stand-in presenters, Amy Leighton, is a real life Disney princess.
As we come to the last tip, we are mindful that if you have learned something that you have put in practice to change your life for the better, one of the best things you can do for yourself, let alone others, is to pass on the #Tip. This has in fact been a part of The52Project ‘model’ of either ‘PLAY‘ (having a go yourself), ‘PASS‘ (pass it on to someone else to have a go) or to ‘PAY‘ (donate a small financial contribution to The Big Issue Foundation). The idea of this framework was to help people feel free to engage with the tips in different ways, without guilt, and to make this a community project – one to be added to by others and to be shared for the benefit others, without obligation or expectation.
In fact what seems a really simple #Tip, we feel this last one builds so much on the #Tips and habits that we have been working on together all this year! And is particularly timely as we look to the start of a new year, reviewing the year that’s past and what we want to take on and ‘play’ forward. This is a tip that stacks so well with any other tip too! And follows on from #Tip51 where we explored how offering help can be to the benefit of both giver and receiver.
The science suggests that the process of passing it on, as in advice, as a gift, means that we are far more likely to take action on the advice that we are giving ourselves – and, in so doing, change our lives and our world for the better.
Got it…What’s the Science
Most of us want the best for ourselves, if not others too. Throughout The52Project we have touched on how we are meant for relationships and that there a neurochemicals that support this. When we feel that we have given something of value to others we often feel better for it. We have already looked at the science of this in #Tip51, #Tip26 and how the giving of gifts the neurochemicals of ‘happiness’ here include the interplay of the now familiar trifecta of dopamine, serotonin (5HT) and oxytocin.
But the benefits of these chemicals don’t stop at happiness or a sense of wellbeing! We have spoken about how a healthy balance of these chemicals in your life help with decreasing stress, improved sleep, improved sex-drive, reduced inflammation, improved memory and even having a healthier appetite.
The giving or passing on what have learned is a way in which we can illicit similar responses in others as well as ourselves – in a way that we everyone benefits.
Very occasionally we can get the idea that we are in competition with other people. It can, for a time at least, feel self-empowering to hold on to a ‘secret’ to health, wealth and happiness because it gives you a perceived edge on those around you. Now before you dismiss this completely, be honest here, it can feel good to have an advantage on our goals over others: that amazing new diet or discount code that nobody else knows about (or at least you don’t think that they do) – makes you feel special, like you are getting ahead of the pack. This is probably a hang up from the need for competition to drive survival both at the individual and species level.
Some of us of course are more competitive than others – unfortunately to disastrous consequences in power made, despotic political leaders… Now we are not saying that this is you! It’s just we have to be careful of the lies that we tell ourselves – and our brains are good at this, at justifying our actions in hindsight. As it turns out when we do complete and look out for number one it is made on some shaky belief that this will actually serve us more to serve others – make us more successful. In fact by being considerate, offering and giving the gift of considerate help and support means that you can become more effective.
A small Italian study published in 2019 looked to explore the link between gift exchange, gratitude and cognitive effects. These researchers looked at the behavioural performance and neural activity of 32 participants before and after playing a simple cooperative recognition computer game. Each pairing were good friends. Half of the couples were asked to exchange gifts before the gaming task, and the other half-way through. Results showed a correlation between gift giving and improvements in game performance that they associated with increased neural activity in the dorsalateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) – a region concerned with how to react to stimuli and other ‘executive’ functions such as cognitive flexibility, planning, abstract reasoning ask inhibition of inappropriate behaviour. The study’s authors suggest that the improvement in co-operative game performance is the result of triggered empathetic attitudes that function to give positive feedback for promoting pro-social behaviour and interaction. The result the reinforcement of the sense of being part of a whole, self-belief in abilities (self-efficacy), relational cohesion, that leads to individuals thinking of themselves (perceiving) as more in tune with their partner. In other words the giving and receiving of gifts made them think that they were more connected and ‘on-board’ with the task at hand, which ultimately meant that they were. We think this is a great example of how perception, belief and a positive attitude can actual predict the future! The power of thinking it!
We suggest that the considerate giving of a #Tip here is akin to giving a gift. As such, when you share a #Tip (PASS it on), you BOTH get a benefit in how you can be better together – as the researchers put it “receiving but also (and even more) donating is related to an enhancement of cooperative bonds”. So by PASSing on a #Tip you are actually also treating yourself #Tip13.
In terms of giving advice here, we need to be careful not to be judgmental or overly persistent (see Tip36 Managing Monsters). As in #Tip51 – the gift of the #Tip has to be an offer, as in an invitation, so as not to provoke a threat or defensive response that would of course be counter-productive.
Interestingly research published in 2018 from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Chicago, suggest that giving advice (PASSing on a #Tip) can actually be more beneficial than receiving it. Their research showed that after the experiment 72% of people were motivated by giving advice (compared to 34% before the experiment). It is likely that the process of thinking why advice (a #Tip) would be useful someone else means that you think it through more thoroughly for yourself. Making it more relevant and applied to your situation. So whether the person you share the #Tip with takes it or not, by thinking it out for yourself, YOU get the increased motivation to make it actually happen – and you get the benefits – for yourself!
Watch our #Tip52 on the Instagram Live Recording….
With festively dressed Dulcie and hoodies DigitalJen and Dr Iain looking ahead to next steps with The52Project and @the52tips.
A gift for gratitude and cooperative behavior: brain and cognitive effects – research paper by Balconi et al., 2018.
Why Other-Help Beats Self-Help – online article by Dr Erman Misirlisoy.
Dear Abby: Should I Give Advice or Receive It? – research paper by Eskreis-Winkler et al., 2018 and cited by Dr Erman Misirlisoy.above.
“Pass on what you have learned.” This is one of the very best habit-stacks that you could do.
By being ready to offer a #Tip to those you think would benefit from it, you are having a mindset of abundance over scarcity. Time and again, research has shown that such abundant givers, who understand and value what they are giving, are actually the greatest ‘winners’ in life. What’s more they raise the bar for all of us, so that together we can think it out to become and be more!
Think of someone that matters to you in your team or family. What one #Tip do you think would help them? What one #Tip have you found most useful in the last year? What’s the best way to pass this on to them – talking with them, or simply sending them a link to the relevant blog?
Now do yourself a favour, PASS it on! And see what it can do for you (and them).
Tales from our Test Partners
Watch this space… Why not tell us some of your PASSing it on stories here…
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