The Value of Your Happiness and Meaningful Action
We all want to improve our happiness, to be able to produce great work and have that feeling that we are being effective in the world.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” Aristotle
We think about how to be happy, how to to begin a happy life, how to change, to be better and therefore take another step towards happiness.
Maybe, we all have different ideas of happiness.
But there is one thing about happiness that is true; it has to be meaningful.
Deep thought seems like a powerful way to dig into life and find out how to do something with meaningfulness. When we dig, we churn up feelings, we turn over the rocky soil of our minds and become something like gardeners of the soul.
That’s great work for a Sunday afternoon. But each day of our lives really needs to be full of actions that create the meaning that rewards us.
Actions our as powerful as thoughts — if not more powerful and effective.
To discover the best way to do something, which action to follow, and how to execute that action effectively, is always the question.
How can I make more money?
How can I carry out this task so it will end up having an effect on my life and business?
How can I be happy?
The last question is the root of most people’s thinking. That, coupled with fears about putting the first foot forward. Which foot?
Wanting to be happy seems to be the instinctive thought of self improvement, the search for lifestyle, the right business, the perfect relationship, the best place to live. These all promise happiness, if we get it right.
So, we sit and think. It’s what we were taught to do at school — “think before you act”.
Thinking about things, however deeply, will always lead to more thinking. It’s the nature of the beast that wriggles and squirms in our thoughts. We do battle with a vague feeling or thought, we go into chase mode and hope that our intelligence will figure out the answer to something that will put the final touch on an undeveloped idea.
We keep thinking, trying mental techniques that make us feel secure as we follow paths of thinking that lead us into rabbit holes.
Rabbit holes are the most common cause of depressive states of mind.
I think Aristotle would agree that taking action, ready or not, is the best antidote to depressive states of mind caused by over thinking.
Staying above ground and walking the green fields of life helps us to see more clearly, feel the atmosphere and breath life in as we stay active and in a state of focus.
Action, getting on with the task, is underrated. Caution is wise. Allowing fear to rule the day is not wisdom, it’s opening the doors to the circus of the mind.
To start is a great power of the soul.
To begin to act, brings with it motivation. It causes new thoughts to appear — thoughts that are oriented towards actions, thoughts that are instinctive towards the act.
Meaningfulness is the real word for happiness.
Actions prove meaningfulness.
If we act on our impulses, we will fall into chaos and return to thinking, asking questions, and find more questions waiting for us. The mind will play the game of setting traps and snares for you to dodge. And before you know it, you’re back down the rabbit hole, darker and darker.
Life is not a computer program. It won’t respond to push button ideas, nor will it work just because you’ve got the perfect plan in place.
You live in a world full of people, even when you sit at your desk and begin to write something you are surrounded by the vibes of other people’s ideas — one push of a button and you land on Facebook, a stray thought that needs to be resolved, just check Google for a minute, tap the keys and you are off to the thought-races. Pavlov’s dog, the sound of a bell that beckons towards the rabbit hole.
The mind loves to sit and idle time away with thoughts about what’s really in Schroeder’s box, a live cat, or a dead cat? Is there really a cat, how can I find out without destroying the box?
We don’t need to waste time. Life is weird in its set up of things, our bodies, our minds, instinct tells us that we must look after both otherwise we’ll die. Unfortunately, we tend to look after one of them and neglect the other.
Actions that bring results will also bring meaningfulness with them, if we put mind and body into the action.
Actions in our daily lives express the meaningfulness of our lives. Thoughts don’t express meaningfulness, they ponder ideas, process feelings, develop new feelings and do their best to stay clear of thoughts that lead to action.
When you think about what you value in life, you feel motivated. That motivation comes from the solid emotions that surround your values; they aren’t feelings that drift through the mind, they are solid characteristics of your mental make up.
It’s when we act we show our mettle. That’s because we can only follow our values, we put our hearts into what we believe in, we don’t need much egging on or outside motivation.
It is always at the last moment, the darkest times, that we finally stop thinking and spring into action.
When this happens we feel better, we are doing something and there is often a feeling that all our thinking was wasted time. Actions can exist in conjunction with thoughts — it’s just the those thoughts will mostly be the babies of actions — not the meandering waves of feelings that come from too much sitting and thinking.
Writing, programming, using constructive thought processes to execute work, these are as much actions as playing football or running a business hands on.
There is nothing passive about being a writer, or a person who uses their mind to build a life that is meaningful.
Quality thoughts create blocks of finished work that lead to meaningful lifestyles.
Building a house with your hands is physical. Knowing how to build it so it doesn’t collapse is mental work.
Writing a book, an article, is mental work. It will come to nothing without a combination of physical actions and mental processes that work in harmony.
Many non writers believe that writing is a gig from heaven. People seem to just sit there, tapping away at the keyboard while lounging in a comfy chair — this guy’s got his slippers on, she’s drinking coffee and eating a bagel while she writes — it looks like a fun job.
Walk past a construction site, it doesn’t look like fun. People covered in cement dust and grime. Cold weather and red faces exerting effort, that looks like pain. Lifting weights, sweating, shouting up to be heard above the clatter of falling metal poles. Do you get that feeling that you would love to work 40 years of your life in that situation?
I’d rather sit and drink coffee and be stumped at a thought about what to write next. I know one thing though, people who write for a living do it because the know the secrets of mental work: stay in action, keep mental action flowing and the structures and processes that create ideas will deliver the goods.
Writing begets meaningfulness. Working at it, what ever it is, will create something that can be called an object of our mind.
The work that a writer does is only meaningful because it is congruent with that person’s values. We create meaning in our lives by understanding our own values. We follow actions that lead to a meeting point of emotions and actions, that’s when we see sparks fly, the type of friction that causes life.
Things happen at the friction point that create confirmations of reality and meaningfulness which we interpret as happiness.
The object is something to be worked at. On a construction site it’s about working towards a plan that has been laid out on paper, then turning that mental plan into a physical object for use. A house.
Mental work, such as writing, is about following a plan based on pre-knowledge or a meticulously laid out set of points to cover while working. It depends on the writer, but the outcome should be a solid piece of work; a book or an article.
Both objects only come into existence through actions, action will only manifest when the thinking process and planning stage has been worked through and finished. This opens the box of tools that then become the way forwards to realization of the object.
The tools of the mind in action are very different to the tools of simple thought. Each sentiment can be a call to action, a motivation that doesn’t need questions. To know, and not think, will lead to a chain of actions that creates meaningful happiness.
To stop thinking is not the goal towards happiness, I think that to curb over-thinking is the healthy practice of thought. Always believing that the only thoughts worth attaching to the object are your emotions of value, the thoughts that express your meaning of life and motivation.
Over thinking is often mixed up with fear of missing out on something important. But, what’s important is already in us, we already have values that we live by, they can be adjusted, honed to a keener edge, but they are basically what we know, what we feel, and what we do at critical times in life.