To Increase Your Joy, Do What You Love
One of the best ways to ramp up your joy is to do what you love. Period. End of story.
If you’re like me, you probably already have a whole bunch of reasons popping up in your mind why you can’t possibly do that. The ego loves to doubt and second-guess.
But life is too short for excuses. There’s no real reason why you shouldn’t do the things you love, despite your circumstances. You’ve read the inspiring stories of how people born into extremely harsh conditions – homelessness, lack of limbs, severe physical abuse – have overcome these tough challenges and lived their dreams. If they can do it, so can you!
Sure, it will take practice, dedication, and perseverance. But doing what you love is so packed full of rewards, ones that are received in the moment. The bliss that arises when you’re doing something meaningful and fun to you will make all the challenges worthwhile.
OK, so, you’re in? Great! Now let’s address a few of the most common reasons why you’re not already doing those things that call to you.
No time. You’re busy. Seriously. Between work, care-giving (kids, partner, parents, pets), housework, errands, volunteering in the community, when is there time to do something just for you? The main answer to this is that you’ll be much more productive and able to give of your best self when you devote time to doing what you love. As for the logistics? Give up something else to create time for your passions. Watch less TV, skip reading the news, take a break from Facebook, ask for help with the housework. You can create just one hour a week for doing what you love, and that’s a great start.
Lack of resources. What if the thing you love doing costs money? Like, say, horseback riding, or making pottery. Or perhaps your job takes up most of your energy, and you need it to pay the bills. Years ago I read a book called Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar. The book’s title phrase really stuck with me, and while creating an entire career from your passions can be more complex than we have space for here, the concept holds. Chances are there is something you can do that generates the resources you need to pursue your passions. You could volunteer to groom horses and muck out stables in return for riding lessons. Sell a few of your homemade vases to friends and family, then use the money to buy more supplies. Use your imagination! As for your day job eating up your time and energy, refer to the previous paragraph. There’s sure to be something in your schedule that can shift just a bit.
Fear of failure. Modern society has trained us to be afraid of failure. We don’t want to look bad in front of other people, so we play small and stay safe. But failure is a part of learning! Think about babies when they learn to walk. If they fell a couple times, then just gave up, we’d all still be crawling around on our hands and knees. When we fail, we learn lessons that we can apply on our next attempt. Let go of that fear of failing and go for it!
Not sure what you love to do. This is the best possible objection. It means you get to enjoy playing around and discovering fun new things! Make a list of everything you think you might enjoy but haven’t tried yet. Knitting, salsa dancing, playing the trombone, building a tree house, running a marathon, writing a novel about werewolves, whatever sounds like fun. Now start trying some of them! If you like being prepared, do your research first. Or just leap in and see what happens. Have fun!