Hello out there in cyberspace! This is my first blog post and I’m excited, but also a little scared. I’m always a little scared, but we’ll get into that later. For now, welcome to my new blog! In case you haven’t noticed, it’s called The Joy of Effort. Sounds strange, right? What’s so joyful about working hard? Not a whole lot, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about work – I’m talking about effort, and there’s a difference. Work is work is work. It often doesn’t take much thought – it’s something you can do on autopilot a lot of the time, like digging a hole. And that is where I found myself, and why I started this blog. I noticed I was living my life on autopilot, and not really enjoying it much.
I want to change that.
I’m tired of living the status quo. I’m tired of the wash – rinse – repeat cycle my life has taken on where I get up, go to work, come home, gripe at the family, go to bed, and do it all again the next day. This is not a recipe for happiness. To quote Eep from The Croods, “That wasn’t living! That was just, not dying! There’s a difference.” I want the difference. I want to enjoy my life, and I want to start now. I think I spent most of my life up until this point thinking that happiness was just around the corner. It would come with the next grade, the next house, the next job. It was something I thought would happen to me.
But I was wrong. Happiness doesn’t just happen, not unless you’re living in a fairy tale. Happiness is something you have to pursue. Happiness takes effort, and effort requires mindfulness. Remember the difference between work and effort? This is it: mindfulness. Work can be done on autopilot but effort requires mindfulness.
Why are you digging a hole? Because the boss told you to and you need a paycheck = mindless, unfulfilling, unhappy.
Why are you digging a hole? So I can plant this beautiful rosebush and enjoy the scents of roses all summer = mindful behavior I choose to do to fulfill a goal and achieve joy.
Even if your job is to dig holes you can find fulfillment in it if you remember to be mindful. If you remember that your paycheck feeds your kids, or funds your passion, or helps you build a savings.
At least I hope so.
I am going to try to live my life more mindfully. I am going to actively pursue happiness. Not just pursue it, but hunt it down, corner it, and beat it into submission. I am going to find joy in the little things in life and lose the perpetual fear. You know what I’m talking about: the fear of failure, the fear of what others will think, the fear of not living up to standards, the fear to try. Other people’s standards are not mine and I’m tired of trying to live up to them. I’m going to live up to me. I’m going to be the best me I can be, and in the process I hope I can spread some of my happiness around.
I don’t claim to be perfect. If fact, I don’t WANT to be perfect. Fear of imperfection kept me from starting this blog for more than a year! So I’m taking up Nike’s banner: Just Do It. Even if it’s not perfect. Even if other people will laugh at me, or criticize me. I won’t be great at this at first, and that’s ok. I’m going to be all over the place until I find my stride. But I’ll keep going, and I’ll get better.
I’m tired of letting fear stop me. I’m in pursuit of joy, and I hope you’ll join me.