As an employee, or as an entrepreneur, you get up every day and get in the fight. Ask most everyone you know, who you consider productive, and the majority will probably agree with that view of their existence. Is this a good thing? Is this a good place to be in?
When you walk into a big mess, and you put things in order, doesn’t that make you feel happy? Maybe your week is crazy, your schedule is full, and you get out in the world every day and you cross out most items on your to-do list by the end of the day. As you do this, perhaps another aspect of your life goes into disarray: you miss or have to cancel gatherings of a personal nature, or perhaps the “inner sanctum” to which you come home at the end of every day becomes temporarily disordered. You live with the chaos for a short while, until you finally are able to get things back to order. Think for a second about different times when that has happened to you. If you are able to put things back in order because the level of activity slowed down – perhaps the weekend arrived, or you took a day off – you feel happy. Now think about the times when you were able to put things back in order WHILE in the middle of the craziness of the daily fight. Think about the times it happened that way. I bet, in those times, while you were able to “paint the airplane while flying it”, at the very end, you felt happier.
A pole vaulter that clears a height she never cleared before feels a great sense of achievement. It comes from the thrill of having fought and conquered the resistance of gravitational force to a level she never did before. A basketball player scores a three pointer while fighting all kinds of resistance from opposing players, from the forces of nature dynamically acting in the physical realm, both within him and outside of him. The harder the struggle before the basket is made, the greater the sense of achievement, the greater the cheers of the crowd. We observe that the greater the forces of resistance in play, the greater the happiness when success is achieved. Challenge produces happiness, achievement produces happiness. Achievement under strong challenge produces more happiness than otherwise.
To live productively you have to fight every single day. You have to address each day with the mindset that as the fight becomes more challenging, the happiness that will derive from the successful achievement of your daily goals will more than cancel out the negativity and temporary frustration you may have had to deal with, leaving a good reserve of happiness for the next day to start out, and take you farther. I heard today that happiness lives in the outside border of your comfort zone. It makes me think that perhaps the biggest reserves are there to be mined every day, pushing out the boundary of the zone to find increasingly bigger reserves, accelerating the potential for happiness. We are called to this pursuit. Don’t just live for the weekend.