What You Give is What You Get: The Science of Sharing

Last month, Moxie Road Productions was invited by The Hivery, a fabulous women’s co-working space in Mill Valley, CA, to lead the December Creativity Circle, which is one of The Hivery’s signature programs. It features guest creatives, artists, designers, and makers who will inspire you to explore your inner artist.

Janine and I were so excited and honored. We decided to do an interactive presentation on “The Science of Sharing Through the Lens of Cognitive Science.” With Janine’s degree in cognitive science, and my passion for building and studying community, we thought it would be interesting to talk about how our mindset and language affects what we share with the world, and in turn, determines the positive feedback loop.


What exactly is cognitive science? Good question. The definition according to dear Wikipedia is “the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its processes.” When examined through a linguistic lens, it gets really interesting. What are the words that contribute to a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset? What are the words that validate and build? How do your linguistics contribute to your core values and collaborations?

I had our class think about two different magazine articles. The first was from San Francisco Magazine, entitled “The Secret Society of Momfluencers.”

“How do those words in the title make you feel?” I asked.

The answers were obvious: alienated; negative; confused. The second article came from Departures Magazine, “You Had To Be There,” about the joy and value of real-life experiences with phrases like “the community-building powers of live entertainment.” Not surprisingly, people in the room felt included and understood. How quickly, in just a few words, can the spirit of community be tamped down - or built up.

Cognitive Science as it relates to SHARING hinges on much of the same thing: it’s about creating a positive feedback loop for yourself and for others. Because when you share something of yourself (time, love, money, wisdom) what you are actually looking for is something in return. And when you realize what you want to receive from what you give, your life will be that much fuller. This is the feedback loop that builds community.

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Janine and I spoke about the importance of understanding our CORE VALUES - like when an organization creates their mission statement. Unlike a traditional mission statement, your core values should be meaningful to you, but inherently for the greater good. Once you know these, you can examine what fuels you. You need to know what nourishes you - public speaking, working with children, etc. - and these are, in actuality, your talents. Not surprisingly, what you’re good at usually makes you feel good. This loops around to all of the possibilities, opportunities and collaborations that lie before you. As you approach each new opportunity, ask yourself, “Are my core values being supported?”

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In creating this worksheet, it afforded me and Janine the opportunity to examine the core values that brought us together and all of the collaborations that we’ve created, continue to seek out, and fuel us. Collaboration, of course, is just a fancy way of saying SHARING, a generosity of spirit that creates a deeper connection between people.

Happy New Year, friends, and remember:

  1. Show up.

  2. Sharing = Receiving.

  3. Be mindful of what fuels you. When you know what you need, you’ll be more open.

And on that note, we hope to see some of you at our annual New Year, New Moxie retreat on Saturday, January 26 for a day filled with everything that nourishes you! Check HERE for more info.


Tarja & Janine