Happiness is Hard Work

by David Samoranski on January 16th, 2013

I read a blog article last month that made me think about how happiness is affected by laziness and hard work. This also reminds me of similar concepts like pleasure vs. fulfillment and delayed gratification. It is far easier for me to be lazy, drink beer, and watch football all Sunday compared to writing a blog post, exercising, or volunteering at my local Habitat for Humanity. The lazy and pleasurable stuff is so easy it’s almost automatic. Even though the hard work is what leads to real happiness.

6 Harsh Truths

David Wong wrote 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person. The audience for this article is primarily 20-something males, so the tone and the language is not for everyone. It is meant to be a wakeup call for guys who are living their life in the misery of cruise control. Not all of the truths resonated with me specifically, but #1 certainly did.

David also brings up a really good point in the second truth that I can relate with. It’s best summed up in his question, “How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made rather than creating your own?

Our brains trick us into thinking that caring is just as good as doing. Simply being a good person is not enough. We can have pure thoughts and abstain from bad things, but that does not produce anything positive. Many of us identify with who we are rather than what we do. Who we are on the inside is responsible for what we want to do, but somehow so many of us get stuck in our heads – we don’t actually do much of anything. Great compassion or enthusiasm for a specific cause does nothing to actually help the cause. It requires hard work to make an impact, not just thinking and talking.

Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

Changing our current state is hard. The human brain has a very strong tendency to resist anything that challenges the status quo. Drug addiction is a great example of how powerless people can be to make and sustain positive change. We have a very steep hill to climb whether we are trying to beat an addiction or simply eat healthier.

Repetition and practice help us build new habits and skills. The challenge is that most of us give up before we see or experience the results we had in mind when we decided to make a change. “I’ve been exercising now for 2 days. I don’t feel any better and I haven’t lost any weight. This is stupid. I quit.” The lesson for me is that it takes real effort over time before the benefits eventually fall in to place. Good things come to those who put in the work.

The one lasting takeaway I have from this article is that our brains make it seem like misery is comfortable and happiness is hard work. It explains why so many people are miserable. A lot of us are too lazy/comfortable to do the hard work that will make us happier. Misery is not just comfortable though, it’s safe too. If we challenge ourselves to do something new and actually produce something for others consumption/benefit, there is a very strong chance someone will criticize what we produce. These psychological forces are very real barriers to happiness that can more easily be overcome when we understand how they affect us.

I got a strong dose of motivation and courage from the harsh truths. Hopefully, this post will inspire you to get up and get to work doing something that will make you happy too.

From → Personal

Comments are closed.