I had 1 hour and 45 minutes until the office closed. If I succeeded, I would save 8000 Swedish crowns (about 800 EUR) by avoiding one month rent for one apartment. My initial thought was that it wasn’t possible. I would need to talk to at least three officials in three Swedish organisations governed by bureaucracy. Normally, it would be a challenge just to stay in a telephone line and get in contact with one official.

After a few calls and a 10-minute wait, the phone suddenly rang. It was a person from the new housing company. He confirmed that I was approved for the new apartment. I was able to cancel the contract of my current apartment and avoid one month of double rent. The whole thing had gone so smoothly and easily that I almost couldn’t believe it.

The need of ease

Ease is one of those needs that I have a hard time isolating and defining. In my story, several other needs are involved, including support and efficiency. The process above could have taken much longer time or not been resolved at all, due to technical problems or other issues. If those involved had been engaged in trying to resolve the situation, I would still have experienced the need of support. However, the need for ease would not have been met.

I find it more difficult to distinguish between ease and efficiency in this particular example. If I think of other contexts where ease is involved, efficiency does not have to appear on my radar. When I spend time with my children or with my friends, I often experience a joyful and calm flow, something I could define as ease. In these moments, the need for efficiency is not present. There is nothing special we want to achieve other than enjoying ourselves and the present moment.

Effort and recovery

When I think of ease, I inevitably think of effort. If I want to develop and learn new things or achieve my goals, I mostly have to struggle. I need to move outside my comfort zone and expose myself to unease. To be able to do this over and over again, I need time to recover. A result of constant practice is that skills eventually become integrated and easy to perform.

In the same manner I guess the one who teaches me often can do a better job when he or she is at ease. While I’m struggling to learn new things, I can achieve support from someone who is calm and confident.

Another need I relate to ease is rest. My quality of rest will be much higher if I experience ease at the same time. In other settings, I can often experience ease without the need for rest being activated. An example of this is when I do light physical exercise, not pushing my body too hard.

The easy way out

Ease can be a double-edged sword. I can compare it to happiness. I guess happiness is something I experience best as a result of something else. For example, if I engage in activities that I find meaningful, these activities may not always bring me happiness in the moment. Eventually I will experience happiness as a bonus. If I, on the other hand, set happiness as a goal in itself, I have a tendency to choose hedonistic and short-term goals that give me an instant dopamine boost.

I think the same effect can occur in relation to ease. If I have ease as a goal, I will probably choose simple activities and not challenge myself. These activities give me ease in the moment, but in the long run I may undermine my ability to meet this need. Maybe ease is something I experience best when I have made an effort and moved outside my comfort zone?

What are your experiences of ease? Is it a side effect of meeting other needs or something you strive for first hand?

Leave a comment below or, if you are a Premium subscriber of “The Needs’ Year”, at the online platform: https://empathiceurope.com/online/courses/the-needs-year/modules/week-22/ 


Joachim Berggren (CNVC Certified Trainer)

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On 7 June at 16:15-17:00 CEST, you can participate in a Zoom Talk with me and Rhonda Mills. We will talk about the need for ease.

Sign up for the Needs’ Year and you will receive a link to Zoom.

If you read this afterwards, you can watch the recording when you become a premium subscriber. Check the details HERE.

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