Thursday, October 12, 2017

Happiness is best served earned.

"True happiness comes from the fulfillment of our duties." This is one of my oldest and favorite locutions. The main reason is it simply sums up and answers the age old question of how to obtain peace and contentment. Think about it. In this one sentence is the key to happiness. Here all along I've been led to believe it was that shiny new truck, or that winning lotto ticket worth 70 bazillion koruna.

I first recognized the correlation between completing a task and feeling really good about myself in the mid to late 70's. I heard a sermon in church about wasting time; time that could be spent investing in service to Jesus. The preacher said "Procrastination is the thief of time." Research reveals it was penned in 1752 by Edward Young, but I can't say I heard it before that day. It stuck in my crop, so to speak. I had no idea at the time, that almost 40 years later, this would become my mantra.

Now, knowing to jump right on a project doesn't mean that the motivation will be right there like an over eager helper, because most times, it won't. It is very convenient to brush off the completion of a task due to our current economic standing and this justification is real a large percentage of the time, but that won't stop us from taking that same 60 bucks and going to Pappa's.

It is also extremely easy to forget that high-five ourselves feeling when we do right and complete a task. It could be small reward, like cutting the lawn, cleaning up our closet, or leveling that kitchen table your wife has been asking about for 6 months. Small jobs bring small, but nice rewards. The bigger and more difficult tasks can be performed by you, or someone you scheduled and both give us that great feeling of accomplishment.

I like to subtly remind my bride, oh, about 7 or 8 times after I get something done. I've been married long enough that "getting lucky" is a coveted pat on the head. Doing the task is reward enough and that satisfying feeling cannot be purchased with money. It is akin to the sensation we revel in when we perform an unselfish act. Let's face it, we are not going to get our jollies watching the news, weather, and now even sports has become a source of hand wringing. We have to reach from within. What?

Soul searching for that blood diamond? Grab a sheet of paper, cause "we gonna make a cipher!" Take a look around (Note: men just ask your wife) and pick the smallest tree in your forest and cut it down. Now take a break. You did it. You are a success story. Have a root beer. Tomorrow, pick the next tree. Each day you chop down another. Don't pick a 6 day $2300 project for starters, or chances are you'll enjoy that root beer while you ponder the economic blockade from the safety of your foxhole.

Go 5 days and take 2 off, but stay the course. That's what your list is for. Personal accountability and if you are like me, you staple the list to the inside of the garage closet door. This serves more than one purpose. It shows what you've done and it shows what you need to do, but it's also your trophies of accomplishment. Yea, you can gloat. Leave it up there too, even when it gets full.

Now, like I alluded to earlier when I said something about getting lucky. Don't believe it. If you do, then you are trapped into the false reward system and the first time there is no delivery, you will mope and whine like a 6 year old. We're going after the gold, baby! We want those reward endorphins that only come to us when we do good and they don't come from anyone else but good old us.
Now I realize I am writing this as if women are excluded, but the contrary is true. Pointing out projects for your mate to accomplish does not qualify you to get anything except frustrated. You have your own forest and your own axe (No, not the one you normally grind). Your plan is the same as his. Blood diamonds baby and the reward only comes by doing. I like to express to my bride that I didn't learn how to do whatever it is that she wants me to do, when I was attending school for that craft - because I didn't attend a school for that craft.

In short, do research on YouTube and it might just surprise you what all you can repair on your own. We are talking tasks, repairs, maintenance, and undesirables, right? Chances are if you don't want to do something, it is because you feel like it will be a hassle, too complicated, or just plain difficult. Okay. That's what your axe is for. That's why you feel so good when you chop that sucker down. 

Happiness is best served earned.
Alana Goodman Gill being happy.


Anonymous said...

Great column and insight. I knew I got satisfaction when completed but never knew why. Thanks and write more often.
Jerry Langford

Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham: Another great column in The Baytown Sun this morning. I fully agree. It feels so good to finish something, that after I finish.doing it, I will put it on my 'to do' list just so I can cross it off!

. . . . . said...

Melvin Roark: Another great and true article. Well said my friend.

Anonymous said...

Deb Farrington Hearn: Good read and some good tips. Maybe I will tackle the closet

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