The real way to cement a connection is to give. We usually think of this in terms of the parent-child relationship. Due to the one–way nature of the giving, parents love their children much more than children love their parents. But this idea can also be applied when there is a relationship you would like to fix, someone you would live to feel closer to. Just start giving to them.

And this fascinating principle doesn’t only apply to relationships. It applies to everything in life and can be used to deepen our connection not just to people but to our jobs as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most objectively meaningful job or not, the most intellectually stimulating job or not, your dream job or not; if you give, you will care.

I learned this idea from my plumber. Now I know you can make a good living as a plumber (some say it’s better than a doctor these days!) and I’m certainly grateful to have a plumber available at those moments when we need one, but I wouldn’t have thought it to be a very interesting or exciting job. I learned otherwise – or at least I learned to see it through my plumber’s eyes.

We had a problem with some clogged pipes that seemed due to tree roots. The plumber had a special camera that could snake through the pipes and take a film of the situation, thereby determining how far the roots had extended into our plumbing and what kind of repairs were required. I wanted to know the bottom line answer, but my plumber wanted to show me the actual video of our pipes. I really didn’t want to watch. I had a lot to do but he was very insistent. And very excited!

He loved looking at the film and the roots and the pipes and figuring out a solution to the problem. I didn’t love the film (maybe popcorn would have helped) but I loved his enthusiasm. And since I doubt he dreamed of being a plumber from a young age, I think it was an example of “you give, you care.” He invested in this job and he grew to love it.

At the other end of the spectrum, my husband and I attended a “Scent Fair” last week. It was, as you imagine, a perfume exhibit and sale, with the actual perfumers being the ones exhibiting and explaining their wares. It was the explaining that spoke to us and to this point. A woman from Barcelona went into great detail describing the connection of each scent to the smells of the water and the landscapes of her native town. A man from England talked of the relationship between the perfumes he created and the emotions they evoked. And so it went. Who knew there was so much to say about perfumes? But they had invested in this field and their enthusiasm was contagious.

This is not just something interesting to observe. This is an opportunity for all of us. Whether we love a current project or not, our present job or not, our chosen field or not, we can come to love it and even feel passionately about it. We are not doomed or trapped by our present emotions. If we will really give, if we really invest, we will come to care – about anything. And that means the whole world is really open to us.