Seems an easy question, right? What do you enjoy doing most in this world?
I’ve thought about that question before and I came to some answers that seemed fairly obvious to me. I love helping people achieve their goals. I love teaching. I love working with someone and seeing that “click” moment in their eyes when they understand the concepts we’ve been speaking about. I love reading, especially books that make me think and grow as a person. I love spending my life with friends and loved ones. I love taking long walks with the love of my life. I love having brain storming sessions with other entrepreneurs and hearing all the amazing ideas that arise during those discussions.
That’s a pretty short list, yet it is the sum total of what I love doing most in this world. The sad part, when I came up with these activities, I realized I was actually spending very little of my life doing them. I spent the majority of my day at a job which, while financially lucrative, did not encompass many of these activities. When I returned home after work, I was emotionally drained and spent the remainder of my evenings watching TV so I could “unwind.” About four nights a week I would take a walk with my love and sometimes I would meet up with friends for a brainstorming session; even so, less than two percent of my life was spent doing the activities that gave me the most pleasure.
Where do you fall on this scale? What activities bring you the most pleasure in this world and how much of your life do you spend enjoying them? Take some time to answer these questions and you will find yourself surprised by the answers.
The majority of people in the world never take the initiative to plan their lives around what they love most. We usually get a job based on the pay or benefits and then go into default mode when we return home after our working hours. I find that most clients I work with suffer from a case of “chronic mild dissatisfaction” or CMD for short. That’s not a medical term; it’s just easier to type. CMD is caused by repeated daily activities that we find less than completely fulfilling. There are no one-size-fits-all activities that everyone should do, but everyone should do what they love most.
I enjoy watching movies and some television shows. I was a huge fan of 24 and Heroes. If these were the only shows I watched and every time I watched them I felt completely happy, there would be no problem or issue of CMD. Yet, whenever I finished watching an episode, I felt a mild form of dissatisfaction, as if I had not used my life in a way that lined up with my most-loved activities. When I took a walk with my love, I always felt there was nothing in the world I would rather do with my life than take that walk.
That’s really the litmus test: when you finish an activity, do you feel that was the best and most satisfying way you could have spent that period of your life? If the answer is “Absolutely!” keep doing that activity. If the answer falls anywhere from “maybe” to “not really,” work to avoid that activity in the future.
As you continue to make decisions based on this test, you will see cumulative results. You will start to notice how much more you enjoy your life now that you are spending yourself on activities that leave you fulfilled. As you increase your fulfilling activities you will become happier and as you become happier you will increase your fulfilling activities. This will become a positive spiral in your life, one that will forever change you for the better.
I will leave you with the brilliant words of the late Stephen Covey: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”
A question to ask yourself (and tell the rest of us ): What would you do if you could do anything? Why aren’t you already doing it? Please leave your answers below; I’d love to hear your thoughts.