Are You a “Love Cycler” or a “Clicker?” ©
MARCH 27, 2009David J. Pollay, HappyNews ColumnistRecently Dawn and I were asked two interesting questions. One person asked, “Your parents do so much for you guys; why do you think they are so giving?” We accepted her question as a compliment and a tribute to our wonderful parents.
A couple weeks later, someone asked the second question: “You and Dawn do a lot for your parents; how come you do so much for them?” We appreciated this question too; it warmly recognized what Dawn and I try to do for our parents. We love our parents very much and want to help make their lives easier and more enjoyable.
Until recently, I held these questions separately in my mind; I now see they are part of the same question. Why do we all do so much for each other? The answer is that we are in what I call a “Love Cycle.”
A Love Cycle happens when people in a relationship do not know who started doing what for whom; they only know that there is constant giving and receiving in the relationship. The love expressed and the good works done on each other’s behalf happen so often that there’s no purpose in keeping score. People in a Love Cycle are what I call “Love Cyclers™.”
A friend of mine once had a temporary job counting cars at a busy intersection in New York City. He had to “click his clicker” every time a vehicle of any kind passed by. Although my friend almost lost his mind doing this job, he said he really had to focus so that he could keep clicking.
Many people in life walk around with their own clickers counting the number of things that people do for them. These people don’t want to give more than they get. They spend valuable time clicking versus cycling the giving in a relationship. They are not “Love Cyclers;” they are “Clickers™.”
So, are you a Love Cycler™ or a Clicker™?
Here’s the easiest way to orient your thinking to the Love Cycle. Let’s take typical marriage vows as an example: “to love, honor, and cherish.” “Clickers” sit and wait for their spouses to love, honor, and cherish them. “What have you done for me lately?” is the question they ask themselves before they reach out to their spouses. Love Cyclers don’t wait; they just love, honor, and cherish their spouses.
University of Washington psychology researcher, John Gottman, discovered in his research that couples who keep score in their relationships are unhappy in their marriage. Gottman reports in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, “Happy spouses do not keep tabs on whether their mate is washing dishes as a payback because they cooked dinner. They do it because they generally feel positive about their spouse and their relationship.”
Good leaders are Love Cyclers. They set the tone at work with their actions. They give, they offer, and they help. They tell stories of people helping them and supporting them. You see them volunteer. On the other hand, Clickers talk about who hasn’t helped them, who owes them, and who’s giving them a hard time. Clickers are so busy clicking, they are missing the opportunity to give.
Three Positive Psychology researchers, Jim Harter, Frank Schmidt, and Corey Keyes, found that, “daily occurrences that bring about joy, interest, and love (or caring) lead to a bonding of individuals to each other, their work, and their organization.” When managers “pay attention and respond to each unique individual they manage, the daily experiences lead to higher frequency of joy, interest, and love (or caring) among their employees.”
The bottom line is that Love Cyclers make better spouses, friends, and bosses. So, when you go to work today, and when you go home tonight, think about leaving your clicker behind.
Be a Love Cycler™. © Copyright 2009 by David J. Pollay
David J. Pollay is the creator of The Law of the Garbage Truck™. Mr. Pollay writes the Monday Morning Momentum Blog each week. He is a syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, creator and host of The Happiness Answer™ television program, and an internationally sought after speaker. Mr. Pollay’s book, Beware of Garbage Trucks!™, is due out later this year. Mr. Pollay is the founder and president of the consulting and seminar organization, The Momentum Project.