A simple question to ask yourself on the road of happiness is, “Does what I am doing give me energy or take energy away from me?” At first, this might seem like an odd inquiry. After all, whatever we do takes energy, whether it is throwing out the garbage, writing an essay or going for a run.
We might believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth expending energy on. That makes sense. This notion provides an incomplete picture, however. You see, the above question is a kind of passion test. When we do something we are passionate about, it tends to enrich us by giving us back more energy than we put into it.
In other words, if we follow our natural callings in life – writing, speaking, painting, singing, dancing, working with numbers, exercising, etc. – then our innate passion for those things is generally rewarded with returns totaling more than our initial investment. If we spend lots of time doing things we have no passion for then our energy is drained and we are unlikely to see it replenished as a result of our labors.
This can be tricky stuff. We can convince ourselves, wrongly, not to pursue difficult undertakings because we lack passion for them. You see, we can be passionate about a field, medicine for example, but we might not be passionate about every single thing we must do to become a physician. (Caution! Passion does not give us universal permission to avoid doing some things we do not like.)
I know a wonderful doctor who was not a great mathematics enthusiast. This individual had to study some math to become a physician. They did not have passion for math but they needed math in service of their calling – to become a top medical professional and help people.
We might need to do some things that drain our energy, yet as long as they serve the greater goals of our driving passion, in the end we will be more, not less, energized. In short, we will live fuller, happier lives. On the other hand, going through life and never pursuing what we are passionate about seems like a good way to miss the happiness boat.
If pursuing something tends to energize us, then we are on the right path. If we spend day after seemingly endless day dreading our routine, then we are headed in the wrong direction.
Image courtesy of [jscreationzs] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.
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