Day 10 – Invest in Joy

One time I served as the chair of a marketing committee at my temple. And if you know anything about volunteer groups, then you know that trying to wrangle a group of people who aren’t paid is challenging. But despite this I mostly enjoyed my work.

Things changed when a woman who was on our committee but hardly ever came, started showing up. She was our graphic designer, and she had opinions. Within a few months she was making every meeting very difficult. Everything was a point of contention. And on top of everything else if I disagreed with her, she would take it out on us by dragging her feet on assignments. Suffice it to say I was miserable.

So I went to a good friend with my problem. I told him that I hated running the committee. The woman seemed to confront me for no reason, and the joy I felt for being of service had been completely sucked out of the process. Which is when he asked me why I was still doing it. I told him I was doing it because being being of service made me feel good. To which he replied, “Why do something that makes you feel good but that also makes your life miserable?”

I realized he was right. And within a week I tendered my resignation and stepped down from the committee.

The Story of the Moral
So what’s the moral of the story: Life is too short to do things that make you miserable.

Yet we do this to ourselves all the time. We invest time and energy into things that don’t bring us joy and instead bring us misery. But we keep doing them because in theory they make us happy, but theory and practice are very different things.

So for today’s challenge you’re going to look at the things you do in your free time to figure out whether or not they actually make you feel better.

Challenge #10 – Invest in Joy

1. Practice:

Sit down and make a list of all the things you do in your free time. My list would likely include:

  • Spend time with my partner
  • Watch movies with friends
  • Exercise
  • Poke around on Facebook
  • Meditate
  • Clean
  • Play with my cat
  • Etc.

It doesn’t have to include everything, just things you generally do when you aren’t working.

Now go over your list and next to each item I want you to write pluses or a minuses depending on how good (or bad) each item makes you feel.

For example:
I really like spending time with my partner so I would put ( +++ ) by it.
And while I often poke around on Facebook it doesn’t actually make me feel better so I might put a ( – ) by it.
And while I don’t love cleaning it makes me feel better so I might put a ( +- ) by it because I have mixed feeling

2. Reflect:

Now look at this list of how you invest your free time and compare it to how good each item makes you feel. What do you notice?

When I looked at my list I realized that playing with my cat makes me feel really good, but I don’t do it very much. So that’s something I’m going to spend more time doing.

Then consider these questions:

  • Why don’t I spend more time doing things that make me feel good?
  • Why do I invest time into things that make me feel bad or neutral?
  • How would I feel if I spent more time doing my ++ or +++ activities?
  • And less on – ones?

3. Share:

Please share in one or all of these ways.

  1. Blog – Write a post about your plus and minus activities and why you rated them as you did. Or write about what this challenge taught you.
  2. Post – Post one +++ activity that you want to spend more time doing and why. Remember to #30dayhappy an to post to our Facebook Group –
  3. Comment – ask a question, share a thought, or tell me why you didn’t like this challenge.

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2 thoughts on “Day 10 – Invest in Joy

  1. This is a complicated exercise for me: being unemployed, theoretically all time is free time. I am guilty about any free time I indulge in because it is time that could be used more wisely for job-hunting yet I do wallow in a certain amount of free time activities. It’s a conundrum for me.

  2. I do things that make me feel bad when I’m already in a bad mood. Now that I’ve made my list of plusses and minuses, I know which activities to look out for as evidence that I’m feeling poorly.

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