The Joy is in the Work

The definition of Work: 

“Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.” 

There’s no mention of whether work is good, or bad.  Fun or boring.  Easy or hard.  Joyous or monotonous.  Work is something we do to reach a result.  For so many of us work has developed a negative connotation.  Work is hard.  Work is not fun.  Work is downright dreadful at times.  In fact, we may even avoid it from time to time…  < Who? Me? >

But there’s no denying that work is required if we want to achieve anything meaningful in life. 

Why should we have so much angst over something that, when done regularly, will allow us to reap great rewards and offer so much satisfaction? 

How do we avoid having angst over the work?  The secret is to truly want the desired result but to also hold in high regard the things we must do to reach the desired result.  If we can appreciate the routine, the day to day activities and habits performed that will deliver us to the next level and perhaps even find some joy in them, we stand a much greater chance of reaching our purpose and feeling fulfilled and successful along the way.  

If you struggle finding happiness in the work, ask yourself this: 

  • If I can’t appreciate or find joy in the things I must do to reach my goal, is my goal honestly that important to ME?  
  • If I can’t appreciate or find joy in the things I must do to reach my goal, am I pursuing my goal through the most appropriate actions for ME?
  • If I can’t appreciate or find joy in the things I must do to reach my goal, am I using the right measures to prove successful outcome of my goal?

Other questions to ask:

  • Does my goal genuinely have meaning to me or is it something I’m chasing because everyone else is chasing it?  Am I doing this to simply to keep up with the Joneses?
  • Does my goal truly carry a fulfilling outcome for me or is it something I’m pursuing because people around me expect me to reach this goal (even though no one has ever actually said it to you)?
  • Do I truly believe that my goal will bring significant improvement in my life?  Will it fix something that is truly broken?  Or is it a cosmetic change that, while desirable on the outside, is not substantial enough to evoke goodness or contentedness in my soul? 
  • Is it something I’m pursuing while I neglect working on something that is more meaningful but more uncomfortable/difficult to approach? 

If any of your answers hint that your goal or your tasks are askew from your heart’s true desire, take a time out. 

Ask yourself “What If” questions: 

  • What if I changed my goal to focus on the very opposite thing?  What would I miss, what would I gain, is there some benefit of adjusting trajectory? 
  • What if I stopped pursuing my goal for 30 days, what would I do instead, how would I feel? 
  • What if I did 2 different things to pursue my goal for 30 days?  What would they be and where would they bring me?  What could I stop doing?
  • What if I changed the measures of my goal and modified the tasks I’m taking to reach it? 

Let yourself think crazy thoughts and feed off your answers to banish boundaries and come up with a new approach. And don’t just think about that new approach, put it into action. Today!

If, after sincerely answering these questions, you discover that your goal is the exact right goal for you to pursue but you just can’t find any joy in the work don’t despair.  Some things in life are like that.  Here’s one final perspective to consider that may help in your daily toils:

Not everyone wakes up with the ability to leap out of bed and slay dragons. 

But YOU do. 

When facing the work that is devoid of joy simply be grateful that you are of sound mind to dream big dreams, set high goals and that you have an able body and access to resources to perform the tasks.   Even if you don’t have every of those benefits, don’t take any one of them for granted.  You have opportunity and tools within you that others can only dream of.  Don’t discount it, you’re among the fortunate.

And maybe that can be the joy you’ve been looking for.

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