Easy does not equal joy, in fact it’s often the opposite. Think about the top two or three things in your life that you are most proud of. The things that bring you the most true happiness and joy. Did any of them come easily or did they require sacrifice and struggle? Did they require you to sit back and receive or did you have to work for them? I’m willing to bet that the things that are most important to you, that you are most proud of and get the most joy from, are things you put great effort into.
Maybe in extreme circumstances things could have been a little easier and brought more joy but my point here is not pointed at extremes. I’m talking about the average person who has worked hard for some important and satisfying goals and achieved great satisfaction. The most popular answers are usually in regards to family. Great kids, wonderful marriage, renewed relationships with fill in the blank. The more invested you are in a worthwhile goal the more joy there is to be gained there. The same principle works in reverse the less invested you are in a relationship or goal the less joy there is to be found there.
We can gain joy by getting things free and easy if we understand the sacrifice made by others in order to make that free for us. However, if you do not or cannot understand the sacrifice, free is just expected, required and comes with no gratitude, love or empathy and lacks perspective. Treating someone to a meal who is a hard worker to provide for themselves and others is a good example of someone with gratitude in free. However, it’s the perspective of the recipient that makes it a worthy gift.
As Jim Rohn’s mentor taught him. You owe it to yourself to become a millionaire and once you’ve done it you can give the money away because it’s the challenge of getting there that you owe to yourself. The satisfaction of achieving a goal, the experiences learned from overcoming barriers and becoming successful despite many failures, frustrations and struggles.
According to Paul Tough, in his book, Helping Children Succeed, “The experience of persisting through and intellectual challenge and succeeding despite the struggle is a profound one for school children – as profound, it seems, as serve-and-return is for the infant brain. It produces feelings of both competence and autonomy- two of Deci and Ryan’s three big intrinsic motivations.”
Anyone who has accomplished a worthy goal after first struggling with barriers, learning curves, physical, mental and emotional growth will tell you that the lessons learned are as valuable as the goal itself.
What type of people do you want to follow? The person who was handed fortune and influence without lifting a finger? Or someone who went through the battlefield and sought it out for themselves? I want to surround myself with people who have become wise through their experience, people who have great perspective, understanding and empathy because of the path they’ve walked. I want people of character in my relationship circle and character is earned not given. I want to be a person of great character.