The little things that bring us joy

I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.

I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.

It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.

Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.

You have to think small-scale.

A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.

It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.

As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.

A labour of love

That thing you’ve been working on could be the reason you end up quitting your job or it could just be a labour of love.

That word just has a way of diminishing the words that follow. It makes it seem as though a labour of love is a bad thing but it’s not, at least not to me anyway.

Not every project or thing you work on is supposed to be how you earn a living or even make you money. And it’s not about promoting the idea of the struggling artist who puts their heart and passion into all that they do but can’t make ends meet.

It’s about the person that works as a receptionist but leads a conservation volunteer group on the weekends or the Math teacher that also paints.

The significance, importance or worthiness of what you do should not be based on how much money you make or even how popular you are.

I think creativity, vulnerability, connection, generosity and joy matter so much more.

Work and play

They’re both important.

We live in a society where it’s not uncommon to find people almost competing about who works the hardest.

Working a 9to5.

Doing overtime.

Working a 9to5 then a passion project 5to9.

Staying in the office till late.

Being self employed and working 7 days a week.

Coming into the office at the weekend.

We hear about working hard all the time but we rarely hear about play. There’s emphasis on resting from the work. But I’m a big believer in work and play.

I don’t believe in working for the weekend as though those 2 days are your reward for slaving away for the 5 days prior.

My ideas on work and play aren’t about a work life balance but more about just enjoying life as a whole.

So yes, meet your deadlines, impress the clients and do great work but also enjoy it.

Committing to the wrong thing

What do you do when you think you’ve made a mistake?

In times of great uncertainty it’s not surprising that people look to something safe to cling and commit to.

And so we end up playing it safe. Getting a good job and settling down because it’s easier to follow the rules than it is to actually figure out what you truly want.

But weeks, months or even years down the line you’ll get this feeling of longing and wanting.

This comfortable and stable life that you’ve carved out for yourself is great in some ways but it also leaves you unfulfilled.

You wake up, go to work, spend 8 hours doing stuff that you don’t really care about, come home, eat, talk about your day, watch a tv show and then go to bed. And tomorrow it’s exactly the same.

In a bid to have a safe and stable life you’ve gotten rid of the good stuff. The stuff that gives you the opportunity to learn and grow, to push yourself and see what you’re capable of, to experiment, try new things and to explore yourself.

In a bid to have a safe and stable life you said no to pursuing your dream life.

But why not pursue to the dream life instead and go at it with full gusto. Why not commit to living a life of joy, teach yourself to take chances and be okay with uncertainty. Why not find a job you enjoy, explore new things and visit new places.

Life is very different when you open yourself up to possibility and believe that you can do more than just get by.

Unfinished business

What happened to all those plans you made?

Starting is always exciting and finishing is always the aim. But somehow you let stuff get in the way of your plans.

You focused too much on the problems instead of how to make things happens.

You used your free time passively and felt like you needed more hours in the day.

You ran out of steam.

You listened to that person who said it wouldn’t work.

You lost faith in the plan.

You got stick and didn’t push through.

If your plans are often ending up unfinished you might want to figure out why. You might want to slow down and not get carried away with the joy of starting something new.

You might want to learn to stick things out until the end because some things are worth finishing.

 

Life changing habits: Transmute your feelings

Whenever I felt sad, jealous angry etc. my first instinct used to be to sit in it and wallow. I’d maybe play The Smiths, The Stone Roses or some other type of moody music and fall into some deep dark depression with thoughts like ‘there’s nothing in this life for me’.

This might sound dramatic or like an over exaggeration but it’s how I truly felt and it became this habit that I’d grown to almost find comfort in.

I’d also write as I was keen to document the woes in my life because sometimes it felt like nobody else saw what I was going through.

However, these days if I’m feeling jealous for example, I’m also aware of the fact that I often want things simply because I don’t have them and often once I get them, I get bored pretty quick.

I think it’s also important to remember that just because someone has things that you don’t have it doesn’t make your life any less good.

In my experience, most of the time if I start to feel jealous it’s because I’m focusing too much on other people instead of myself. It’s the perfect time to practice gratitude and once I do that my feelings change to joy, curiosity and excitement at the possibilities of life.

When I get sad or angry I turn it into a growth point and figure out what the takeaway is. I let myself know that it is okay to feel whatever I’m feeling, whilst reminding myself that I don’t need to sit in the feelings and wallow but I also remain patient with myself.

Most of the sadness or anger I’ve felt comes from not setting boundaries, not being open, trying to please others and sometimes it’s things that I have no control over.

In moments like these I transmute my feelings into joy by practising gratitude, remembering the joys of life and what it feels like to be me and love myself. But also just being present which is something I learnt from reading The Power of Now.

I’m learning to not wallow in my feelings but to feel them and move on. It’s fine to feel angry about something but you don’t have to hold onto it.

One of my favourite quotes I’m not sure who it’s by but it’s something like ‘Don’t let life make you hard’ and it has so much meaning to me because sometimes I fall into that.

But on the other hand, life can also be beautiful, wonderful and so full of joy.

The right time to quit

Perhaps there is no right time.

It’s easy to quit in the early stages but gets harder over time. After 3 years once you’ve  invested time effort and energy quitting, even if it’s for the best feels like giving up.

And so, it’s hard to know the right time to quit. If you’ve been working on something for a while and that could just be a few months  (it depends on how much you’re putting into it), if you’re thinking of quitting don’t make what you’ve put into it so far be the only reason to keep going.

But some questions to ask and things to consider are:
Do you still believe in what you’re doing?
If you knew what you now know, would you still start today?
Are you doing this for yourself or because you feel you have something to prove?
Do you enjoy doing the work?
Will the end result bring you joy?