Sunday, I posted 10 Ways to Find Time for Inspiration. This post expands on #8: Do What You Enjoy and Enjoy What You Do.
When you enjoy what you are doing, staying focused and on-task is easy and you can experience inspiration without having to set aside time to do so.
There are two distinct ideas here. One involves changing the circumstances in your life: job, career, free time, etc. The second involves changing how you look at your life. I’ll start, today, with the second. If we are unable to maintain a positive, inspired outlook, no external change will bring happiness.
We all have passionate feelings about certain ideas and strong justifications for them. We certainly have the right to our feelings. But, when those feelings are making life miserable, and we see ourselves as powerless victims to the world around us and our to our feelings and reactions, a change in perspective can help.
How we Develop a Habit of Discontent
Our feelings of enjoyment or dissatisfaction are, indeed, affected by habit. We can respond to circumstances with automatic reactions that reinforce negative feelings. For example, some habits I have had difficulty with include,
- tensing up when my boss would approach my work space before he even opened his mouth,
- complaining about world events while listening to the news,
- reacting with annoyance when a driver would slow me down on the road.
These types of reactions set us up for misery. No matter what the outcome, it is guaranteed that there is going to be stress and annoyance.
The more we practice these habits, the better we get. The more time we spend complaining, the easier it is to find things to complain about, and the better we can articulate the complaints. We can become experts at making ourselves miserable and sharing our misery with others.
How to Develop a Habit of Joy
When the habit of discontentment has been practiced for a long time, it may take a concentrated effort to reverse.
Start each day by praying or stating an intention to be conscious of negative thoughts and change them in midstream. Make a simple statement that you choose to be happy. You’d be surprised how powerful such a statement can be when you find yourself lost in negativity. The negative thoughts will come if the habit is there, but by catching them in the middle, you will begin to change the habit.
End each day with a review of the habits and considerations of what you can do the next day. Journaling can be a tremendous help here but is not necessary. The idea is to recognize your progress and see, in hindsight, how things could be handled differently.
Continue reading about changing perspective: 7 Ways to be Inspired When Surrounded by Negativity.