Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Secret to the Happiest of Lives

False promises should never be the forte of a person who values the truth; as I do. So I have a far bit to follow through with in this article if I’m going to come close to achieving your satisfaction regarding the promise.
Central to the effectual delivery of this promise, first and foremost, is a vibrant relationship with God; the commitment to grow – as the fundamental premise for life – right through the lifespan, including bending into the many and various shapes of humility to make the choices required.
But the actual secret – that one solitary thing we need to do – to have the happiest of lives is we need to embrace hard work. Not just manual labour, though that helps. Not just waking early and finishing the day strong – interspersed with sensible recovery breaks. Not just working hard to get ahead. Not just being goal-focused. And not just slowing down enough to learn through it all.
This is centrally about the virtue of diligence. (Please don’t switch off yet. You’ve come this far; stay in this.)
The number one problem in most our lives is fear. The preparedness for hard work amends fear. If we have no fear for the work ahead of us – especially that work that has been chosen for us (that which we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves) – we have everything needed to experience the happiest of lives.
The reason people are unhappy is they allow fear to control them, whether they are conscious of the fear or not. Fear from procrastinating when it would be easier to knuckle down. Fear from envying what someone else has when it would be wiser to do the deep soul work of knowing the blessing it is to simply be us. Fear from what we are missing out on because of the responsibilities we need to attend to, instead of grasping the blessedness in being able to be relied upon. Fear from the grief we have been plunged into rather than holding fast to faith that will see us through into relative prosperity if we don’t give up. Fear from being appalled by how we look in the mirror when the not-so-easy sacrifice of being self-disciplined with our diet and exercise is just what we need. Fear from unmet comfort needs – for instance, when we comfort-eat – can be stayed in simply doing a little exercise.
The very thought of hard work produces fear. We can overcome this fear if we see the value in hard work. And when we work hard the results come. That produces happiness, which is far superior to settling for fear because we are not prepared to commit.
Thoughts of hard work produce fear.
But doing the hard work overcomes the fear.
Hard work produces positive outcomes.
Positive outcomes create happiness.
The Value to You and Others for Your Investment of Hard Work
Hard work in the holistic sense – which could be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual – or, in fact, a combination of these – is motivated by trust. Nobody works hard without proper reason, right?
If we have sufficient trust to work now in the hope of an unseen reward later on, down the track, and we work diligently enough with the right attitude, our work will increase in divine value. More people than just us will be blessed as a result.
When we experience blessing, especially as we observe that others have also been blessed because of our work, the result is the kind of joy we can only call happiness.
When we are prepared to trust God and do the work that our lives require, in order for our lives to work, we become blessed. Others, too, are blessed. And upon blessing is the state of joy we call happiness.
Work hard, trusting God for the blessing to come, and you will have the happiest of lives.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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