Imperatives

The most important job of the brain is to ensure our survival, even under the most miserable conditions. Everything else is secondary. In order to do that, brains need to: (1) generate internal signals that register what our bodies need, such as food, rest, protection, sex, and shelter; (2) create a map of the world to point us where to go to satisfy those needs; (3) generate the necessary energy and actions to get us there; (4) warn us of dangers and opportunities along the way; and (5) adjust our actions based on the requirements of the moment. And since we human beings are mammals, creatures that can only survive and thrive in groups, all of these imperatives require coordination and collaboration.”

— Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Society

Still, it rarely happens that men live according to the guidance of reason. Instead, their lives are so constituted that they are usually envious and burdensome to one another. They can hardly, however, live a solitary life; hence, that definition which makes man a social animal has been quite pleasing to most. And surely we do derive, from society of our fellow men, many more advantages than disadvantages.”

— Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics

Icebreaker

And not just projects, but what other things do we struggle to say no to?

What kinds of things are we expected never to say no to and why are we expected to be so accommodating?

What kinds of reactions do we imagine we’ll receive if we were to say no and if you have ever tried what actually happened when you did and how did you feel after?

Have you ever reacted negatively when someone said no to something you asked of them, and why?

How can we learn not just how to protect our own time and our boundaries but to allow others to protect their’s as well?