What's Stealing Your Joy?

Photo Credit: Romeo Conilas

 

Imagine this:  You wake up to a beautiful Saturday morning, eager to start your day with a perfectly planned home-cooked breakfast.  After a few stretches, you get on your feet and head to the kitchen. Egg, sausage, pancakes, a bowl of fruit, and a  cup of freshly brewed coffee, one by one perfectly laid on the breakfast table. You grab a bottle of ketchup from the cupboard, and remembered- – Bistro! Oh no! You look over your shoulder and see your fear actually happening! Big Bistro gobbling down a big breakfast!

Joy stealers are like that. They’re cunning. While you get so self-absorbed and unaware, they come out and take something you really value. There’s an army of them, but let’s talk about two that may seem non-threatening, but prove to be strong enemies of your time.

Laziness

– you say you want to get fit, but you don’t get up early in the morning to exercise.

– you say you want more sunshine, but don’t make an effort to go to the beach or just outside your home

– you say you want to be more productive, but you linger for hours on social media

– you say you want more income but don’t find ways to get one

– you say you want stronger, healthier relationships but you end up with just intentions, no effort, no actions.

Indecision

– you want to accomplish a lot of goals but you don’t start working on a single thing

– you want to explore opportunities, but actually, don’t pick one of several choices that come along

– you want to change something in your circumstances, but you get stuck at wishing and not doing

My brother once told me that completing a marathon is more of a mental thing, not a physical one. The strength lies in the mind, not in the body.  I believe this applies to almost everything.  We are stronger, more able and better than we think we are.

When I see old people dancing, running, biking or doing yoga it inspires me and makes me happy.  When I see them accomplish their greatest feat ever in their old age, it drives me crazy!

Philippe Dumas, a 60-year-old man who took the fashion world by storm in 2016 after growing a beard.

80-year-old Deshun Wang, who killed it on the catwalk during the 2015 China fashion week.

Greta Pontarelli who started pole dancing at the age of 59 and at 61 won first place in 2014 pole sports world championship.

And who can ever forget Paddy Jones who wowed the world and the audience of  Britain’s Got Talent in 2014  with a salsa dance when at that time she was turning 80!

If older people can do it, surely the young can do better!

Laziness. Indecision.  Nip the problem in the bud. Both can kill your dreams. Both can waste your time. Both can stop you from discovering an ocean of possibilities laid down your path.  Both will hinder you in accomplishing something more than what you’ve hoped for in this life.

Why did we call them joy stealers?  Because they stop you from becoming the best version of yourself.  Embrace them and you end up being unable to give your best gift to the world. You retire with a wealth of regrets. You’d fail to finish strong.  You take your dreams to your grave.

Let me leave you with this quote:

The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”-  Les Brown

You don’t want your dreams to end up there, do you? So move and win this life.

Question:

Have you identified your own joy-stealers? How is your battle against them? Are you winning or are you losing? What steps are you taking from here today to move you closer to your dreams?

Comment here.

Ride It Out

We have our highs and lows and sometimes we find it difficult to handle both.

Yes, you heard me. There will be days when you’d feel like you’re not getting it. You feel slow, so behind, down, uninspired, even clumsy, and unsteady.  There will be days when you’d doubt yourself and your capacity, question your plans, and beliefs, or how you walk on this journey called life. Yes, the struggle is real. We have our highs and lows and sometimes we find it difficult to handle both.

In this amazing journey that we all share, it’s without a doubt that all of us are eternal students of a real-life university.  We stumble and make mistakes, and at times we reap small wins and victories too. It’s an exciting experience, at least, if you perceive it that way.

You see, we see the world through lenses that we choose to put on.  Some of us wear a pair of blurry ones, some too clear, and some are just about right. What do I mean?

I have met a lot of people who are either too negative or too optimistic.  I don’t judge, I’d tell you that. I’d take the person as he is and get to know him as time unfolds.  Talk about being a realist.

I wasn’t born a realist, but I think I became one as I navigated my way through pleasant and unpleasantness experiences.  If you’ve read past articles that I wrote, ( https://sundaewrites.com/it-all-burned-down-to-the-ground/ , https://sundaewrites.com/the-bitter-pill/, https://sundaewrites.com/make-room/, https://sundaewrites.com/closed-doors/),  I’ve shared an empowering question that most of us fail or fear to ask ourselves. The question of “What Now?”.

This sort of examination is so freeing and empowering as it gives us the courage to let go of what used to be, what we had or have lost in the past, and opens our eyes to the present along with the possibilities that are out there, things that we can hope for and realize. This brings me back to the first three words you’ve read in this piece- “Ride it out”.

Let these words sink in.  Yes, days can be difficult sometimes, just like the weather. But imagine yourself as water making your way through a river. Surely you will hit rocks but still, you’d flow your way around it. You go on and on, to wherever your strength could take you. 

Next time when you feel like you’re down and weak, don’t feel too bad about it. Don’t sulk in tears. If you must, allow yourself to cry or frown. Feel the feeling, experience it, but not for long. At one point you have to tell yourself, “That’s enough”. You have to pick yourself up and move on.  Others say, “Fake it ‘till you make it”,  but I say, “Fake it ‘till you BE it.- all in a positive context.  Emotion follows motion. Smile and leap instead of walk.  Trust me, you’ll be surprised by how different you’d start to feel.

Light up my friend. Never let a gloomy day or a losing moment, weigh you down too much or too long. It happens to everyone even to the best of the best. Life is too short to let yourself get stuck in that one moment forever. Again I say, ride it out!


Stranded

Life will not wait for you.  It will run its course the way it is destined to, and so should you!

That day when you just suddenly begin to question your circumstances.

Why am I here?

Is this what I’m supposed to do?

For how long?

Is this all?

And then what?

Have you ever been there?

I woke up feeling uninspired one Tuesday- my focus narrowing on the normality of life:

same job

same route from home to work, and back

the usual concerns

the usual complaints

monotonous tasks

predictable outcomes

It’s like ordering food from your favorite fast food chain.  You get to buy a different combo meal every time or try out different combinations, but it’s all coming from the same menu. You already know what’s there and what you can get.  No surprises. Nothing excitingly fresh.  It’s plain. It’s dull.

Conclusion:  Sameness leads to boredom.  Boredom consumes passion.

Should you be alarmed? Yes!  I remember a quote from the book Tuesdays with Morrie saying,

“When you’re in bed, you’re dead”.   Years ago,  this quote freed me from the trappings I’ve put myself in, and then again, it’s freeing me now.

Grass not watered on will wither and die. Like every tree that needs to bear good fruit so it’s not cut down and thrown into the fire (read: Matthew 7:19), we ought to do the same. We have to bear fruit, not only once, but through all seasons as long as there is life. To blossom is a divine call and it is a personal responsibility.

There is no end to what you can possibly do or accomplish, no limits for you to get better, no closed doors for growth and progress.  This is exactly the key.  When boredom strikes and stagnation knocks at your doorstep, open the door but don’t let it in.  Fight back and defend your territory. How? Create a brand new opportunity or get better at an existing one.

Whatever you choose, you need to have something to accomplish, something to push you out of your limits,

out of your comfort zone,

out of the ordinary!

That way you’re constantly experiencing, contributing, growing and truly living.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Take it from Albert Einstein.  So if you want a better ending, a fruitful and exciting existence, do something different, or do something differently.  Either way, you will win.

I know it’s not gonna be easy, and frankly, it never will be.  Everything around you is going to change, the world will keep on revolving even if you choose to stop, or pause or sit quietly in one corner.  Life will not wait for you.  It will run its course the way it is destined to, and so should you!

If you’re not arriving at anything significant yet, that’s good news. That means there’s room for creating or achieving one. Don’t limit yourself for the simple reason that: You’re not meant to live in a box. That was not the plan.

As to how my Tuesday ended, I said yes to an invitation to do something I haven’t done before and totally out of my comfort zone.

We get better over time and we should!  We learn as we go. Remember that talents and gifts not multiplied will be taken away (refer to Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents). If you really treasure what you have been given, you will use it for good and use it to bless the people around you. That way your hands, your heart, and your mind don’t become idle. And as you go along you’ll get to discover and create a purpose that’s far bigger than you!