As outlined in the seven posts on a healthy psychology, I consider life-long learning (1, 2), creative expression (3, 4) and unconditional contribution (5, 6) to be the primary causes of the very interesting health and longevity statistics listed here (7). This post will give a brief example of how these three factors complement each other in my life.
When it comes to learning, my primary occupation (research scientist) makes this very easy because I simply have to go to work in order to get myself into an environment where constant learning simply has to happen. However, this researcher mentality has spilled over into many other areas of my life as well. The One in a Billion project in particular has been a tremendous learning experience.
I consider myself very fortunate to have accidentally fallen into this natural learning environment because I have now come to realize that constant learning is a prerequisite for creative expression. It is only when you have developed your understanding or your skill set to a certain level that you can really get access to the power of creative expression. For example; I first had to read a lot of literature before I could start writing my own scientific papers, I first had to develop my basic skills to a certain level before I could participate in spontaneous team plays or write new songs and I first had to work through hundreds of books, programs and articles before the One in a Billion project could begin to take shape.
Just as learning is a prerequisite for creative expression, creative expression is a prerequisite for true unconditional contribution. We will talk a lot about this later on, but if you really reach the level where new ideas just form all by themselves, the process of adding value to the world becomes the reward in itself and compensation beyond that which you really need becomes totally irrelevant. From this frame of mind, unconditional contribution is the natural state. At the moment, I consult for the company I will return to after my PhD is complete, I coach the local rugby team and I write this project all completely free of charge and without expecting any favors in the future. Most people would think this is crazy, but my mind has now reached a stage where this feels completely natural.
Now the crux of the matter is that these three components; learning, creative expression and unconditional contribution, automatically create a self-sustaining healthy psychological environment. The more you get exposed to the joy of creation and the joy of really contributing to the world, the more you are motivated to learn, create and contribute further – the very definition of a self-sustaining healthy environment. Our world really needs a lot more of these self-sustaining benevolent cycles.