It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it
There has been no shortage of material encouraging individuals to find their passion, find that which gives them joy and brings them happiness. This advice surely has its place and time, but if we attempt to deconstruct this principle, it would seem to be implicitly built upon two premises:
1) Happiness lies in getting what you want
2) Happiness lies in the activity that you do
An example of this second premise are children. They usually play with no aim or final destination because to them “fun” is its own reason. Only when we grow up we turn playing into competing, winning and losing. Therefore, this second premise highlights the activity and not the goal, it encourages us to do what we truly enjoy doing.
However, I would argue one step further, that EVEN if we could do whatever we wanted, we might still not find complete fulfilment in it, as many times what we want changes and what we thought we wanted was different from what we actually needed.
Stating that happiness is purely dependent on our activities or on us getting what we want, places an external component as the central cause of happiness. But this, I believe could not be the source of complete fulfilment, because both premise 1 (happiness lies in getting what we want) and premise 2 (happiness lies in the activity we do) are centred on external components.
True fulfilment must not be subject to the laws of outward, environmental conditions, but must be present despite all of the exteriorities of our lives, and not because of them. It must be internally produced regardless of whether you are skydiving, organizing your favourite event, or peeling potatoes for hours.
Yes, I realise that is quite a bold statement but luckily this is not mine to claim. This is not personally proposed by me but has been implicated by mindful, eastern philosophies and masters across the ages. It is the quality of your presence that is vital to your fulfilment, whether it’s waiting in a medical hospital for your turn for hours or travelling to your favourite country. It is your presence that is constant in the midst of activities that is paramount.
In his book “Focus, The Hidden Driver of Excellence“, Daniel Goleman stated that contrary to what most organizations think, “attention” and not time is the rarest resource. That is, not only what we are attending to but harnessing “attention” itself turns out to be a great source of contentment, peace and harmony. Hence the title of this blog “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”. This opens the door for a wide range of new concepts and conceptions that require us to revisit some of our paradigms and perspectives regarding true satisfaction.