Success Starts Early - Joy
"Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life."
Ever heard that line? I've seen it attributed to several different people throughout history, but honestly have no idea who really said it first. Do you think it's accurate? It seems to me that, even when doing the things you love most in life, there are still certain aspects that don't turn out to be all that enjoyable. Still, the sentiment behind the statement is sound - there is a foolproof way to avoid the drudgery that often comes along with doing the hard work that is necessary, and it's really perfect for the holiday season we're about to experience. Find the joy!
Growing up we used to watch kid movies that encouraged us to find fun in the chores, and that would turn the work into a game. You've probably seen a few of these sorts of things as well. I remember a t-shirt that a friend used to wear that had the phrase "Work is what you make it" along with the picture of a character that had strapped brushes on his feet to skate around a floor that he was supposed to be cleaning. The point to these similar messages is pretty simple: your mindset has a definite affect on how you perform. So let's take a look at a few ways we can maximize our potential by improving our attitude.
First, there is something to be said for doing something you enjoy. We are all frequently drawn to areas of interest that we're good at. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that many of the things I used to do with ease didn't necessarily come naturally to others, and sometimes they were happy that I would volunteer to do those things that were difficult or tiring to them. For instance, while some folks have a tremendous fear of public speaking, I thoroughly enjoy getting in front of groups. And while I really hate getting bogged down in mundane tasks, some people find enjoyment in completing detailed assignments.
Second, remember how we've talked about setting goals and finding passion? When you know the main reason for all of your actions, it makes even the most undesirable activities easier to handle. When my three kids were born they needed a lot of help, such as diaper changings, late night feedings, soothing unreasonable crying, and all of the extra costs and planning required to care for tiny humans. But I loved my girls and none of these inconveniences bothered us so much. The most important thing overshadowed every other thing.
Finally, never underestimate fun, friendship, and humor. I've worked a few jobs in my life that required a lot of hard work and long hours, and it seems like the best times were when I had camaraderie with a few other individuals who were going through the same things but had determined to make the best of it. Telling jokes, singing songs, and engaging in some general nonsense can be quite cathartic, even while focused on performing the toughest tasks. When your chore doesn't give you joy, you can always bring a bit of your own into the situation!
Try performing a household chore that you don't particularly enjoy - for me, that would include folding laundry or cleaning toilets. While doing it, turn on some of your favorite music and sing along loudly. Or play some clips of a comedian you enjoy and laugh along. Like the t-shirt said, work is what you make it!
Joy differs from happiness, in that it isn't determined by external situations. It really does come from inside, and the Bible says in Romans 15:13 that joy and peace come hand-in-hand with the hope that only God can give. If you need help finding joy, that's a really great place to start.