Love is an ideal thing, marriage is a real thing. A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
-- Goethe

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - November 2004

The Value of Enjoyment

Once I am successful, then I can start to really enjoy life.

Have you ever said that, or thought it to yourself? It is a widely held belief that success in life and enjoyment of life go hand in hand, and that is certainly true. It is also widely believed that success is the cause of enjoyment. That belief, however, is exactly backwards.

The fact is that enjoyment of life plays a major role in bringing about success.

But how can that be? Doesn’t success require lots of hard work and sacrifice? Doesn’t success require discipline, integrity, persistence and effort? How can these things be enjoyable? How in the world can enjoyment of life lead to success in life?

It is certainly true that success is the result of effort, discipline, and persistence. But there is no reason why you cannot enjoy life along the way. In fact, the more you enjoy life, the more motivated you will be to make the effort, to stick with the discipline, to persist on the path that you have laid out for yourself.

The most successful people in business are the people who truly enjoy what they do. Certainly they make a lot of money, but the best of them are not working for the money. They are working because they love it. They enjoy being able to create new and useful products and services. And it’s not only in the business world that enjoyment leads to success. The best teachers, doctors, coaches, ministers, athletes, actors, musicians, writers, researchers, tree trimmers, architects, concession stand workers, engineers, lawyers, artists, cab drivers, fitness instructors, fishing guides, nurses, convenience store clerks and child care workers are the ones who love what they do. You’ve no doubt seen these people and you’ve come to truly appreciate the work they do. Yes, in our modern world everyone needs some money to live on. Yet the best of the best, though they certainly accept payment for what they do, are not motivated primarily by the money. They are motivated by the enjoyment that comes from making a positive difference in the lives of others. And that makes them very good at what they do.

It really makes perfect sense. Would you rather be doing something you despise, or something you truly enjoy? That’s easy! Without question, you’d rather be doing something you enjoy. Now carry that one step further. Would you be better doing something you hate or doing something you love? Obviously, you would be much better, much more effective, doing something you love and enjoy. When you enjoy something, you develop a sincere interest in it. When you enjoy something, you naturally look for ways to do it better, to make improvements, to become more highly skilled at it. You enjoy being around others who are involved in it. You enjoy sharing ideas and discussing new innovations.

Are you beginning to see how enjoyment can lead to success? And it holds true not just in your work and career, but also in every area of life. When you enjoy your children, your parenting skills improve. When you enjoy working in your garden, your plants thrive and multiply. When you enjoy being with your spouse, you have a successful marriage. When you enjoy the food you’re eating, your diet improves (much more about this one in a minute). When you enjoy exercise, your fitness level improves. When you enjoy learning, you become more informed.


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—Ralph Marston