I can sustain engagement with a cause, an employer or a recreational activity when what I give and what I get are generally in balance. There are three ‘currencies’ with which I give and take; physical, emotional and intellectual. It doesn’t matter which ones are in play, but overall, what I give compared to what I get will need to be correlated.
For example: If what I give at work either physically or intellectually is significantly less than what is deemed reasonable given the size of my paycheque (physical), then I am likely to get a tap on the shoulder and asked to lift my game or lose my job. If what I contribute through volunteering at little athletics is not matched by the emotional satisfaction I take, I am likely to opt out.
Further, if my engagement involves my core values and decision-making drivers (see table above) then I am likely to give more, meaning a deeper engagement. If I do not my engagement will remain superficial. The deeper I engage, (usually accompanied by strong connection with others who are also engaging (see Community above) then I will be drawn deeper. It is possible, that the reason for being of a particular community or cause becomes or is recognised as being aligned with my own sense of calling and passion. At this point the engagement actually generates energy and it is almost as if the giving is overshadowed by the positive flow outwards, into our lives and through onto others around us.
I call this a generative engagement.
A generative life, is therefore not just a life that ticks the three boxes or pleasure, goodness and meaning. Generativity happens when we engage deeply in the different dimensions and experience an energising that enlivens our own lives and flows onto others.
This can be illustrated as per below.