Think about the last time you were really crushing on someone. How did it feel? What did it change about your motivation? Creativity? Excitement for life? Think about the last time you discovered a new passion and things clicked. What change did you notice? Did you feel like a little kid again, learning to ride a bike for the first time?
Last semester, I took a really great class here at BYU called Creating a Good Life. It’s one of the prerequisites for the program I’m planning on doing: Experience Design and Management. In this class we had two different units on love and what it does in our lives. I love what Barbara Fredrickson says in her book Love 2.0 she says “love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people-even strangers-connect over a shared positive emotion, be it milds or strong. To put it in a nutshell, love is the momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotion; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each others well-being that brings mutual care.”
To highlight this description of love I wanted to share an example of two professional mountain bike racers: Christopher Blevins and Nino Schurter. Let year in the Cape Epic, a 7 day stage race in the mountains of South Africa where you compete in teams, both Nino and Chris were ahead of their teammates. The way the race works is that the second person who crosses the finish line is the time that counts for your team. So with Nino and Chris being ahead of their teammates they had time to relax and have fun on one of the lowly descents.
I believe that in this descent all three of Barbara’s love description took place.
- Two people (competitors) shared the positive emotion of riding a fun single track trail descent together.
- They experienced synchrony as they both threw sweet wips on the tables and were riding with the same expert style.
- Afterward they rode side by side, looked at each other, smiled, and gave one another a fist bump. They had reflected motive to invest in each others well-being.
You might be thinking that this is an unexpected example of love. But I believe that love leads to optimal performance. When two competitors hate each other and want to rip each others throats out, they don’t perform as well. They’re too focused on beating the other person that they lose the ability to simply perform. Love does the opposite, it combines two or more great forces to help individuals perform at their best.
This was one thing I absolutely loved when I switched to mountain bike racing. There was a different energy around our competitors. They were no longer the enemy, they were the fellow racer in the journey. We didn’t race each other, we raced together. And it helped everyone to perform better.
1600 years ago the people in ancient America were destroying themselves in large wars and the ancient prophet Mormon recorded the words of his father Moroni, in hopes that it could help us in our day. He said, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail-but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.”
Charity, or love, is a powerful emotion. It’s a powerful way to connect with others and become better in so many ways. See if you can connect with someone new today, and experience love. Pay attention to how it changes your day.