This post is from a former manager and colleague of mine; currently a fellow Rotarian and someone I like to think of as a friend. Don was one of the more thoughtful and kind people I ever had the pleasure to work for and with (and he always made sure it was far more “with” than “for”). These are some of his thoughts on relevance; a concept the organization we both retired from – and we both have returned to in one capacity or another – seems to be struggling with nowadays.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently, thinking about our psychological need for relevance, and the huge impact it has on the way we live our lives. I’m speaking here about personal relevance, which I will define as the degree to which we feel connected to others in a meaningful and valued way.
The pursuit of relevance is a fundamental, albeit sub-conscious, driver in what we think and do in our personal and work lives. All of us have this relevance imperative wired in to our brains. It is a characteristic of human life, and perhaps all life. I claim no expertise in psychology or neurobiology, but it makes sense to me to think that our brains relevance imperative probably started as desire to belong to a group or tribe as a strategy for safety and survival. Over time, it has evolved, adapting to the demands of increasingly more complex…
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