If something is bad for us, we should stop doing it. Of course it’s not that simple—people have addictions, compulsions, and desires (hereafter referred to as compulsions), and it may seem almost impossible not to submit to them. The two forces—the compulsions and the knowledge of their negative consequences—are in a constant battle to control our behavior. The “voice” of our compulsions can be quite strong and very crafty. We’ve all had times when we’ve rationalized having one more drink (“It’s a special occasion!”) or junk food (“Just while I’m watching the movie.”), and, at those times, our rationales have seemed perfectly sound. We’ve also had periods when the voice of reason has been dominant. We clearly see the connections between our behavior and its negative consequences, and we’re able to control ourselves. So why does this battle take place—why can’t we see the healthy and logical path and just follow it? If we could answer these questions, we’d find a clear path to healthy, positive behaviors.
Everyone wants to be liked and loved. Everyone likes to hear praise from people they admire and respect. But there’s a big difference between wanting and enjoying the love and admiration of others and needing it to feel worthy. If you can only feel good about yourself when you have an incoming stream of affection and love and don’t feel happy or confident if that stream slows or stops, then you need to reflect on your sense of worthiness. The trick with developing self-worth is that, ideally, you won’t have a time when you don’t feel loved or that you’re not getting praise, so it can be hard to determine where your sense of worth is coming from. Adding to this opacity is the fact that love and admiration are good. In general, they do suggest that you are a valuable person, and they feel good to receive. So, understanding the foundations of your sense of worth can be challenging. The key is the difference between want and need—the difference between independence and dependence.
So much of the modern approach to work is based on an antiquated model that is very narrow in scope. You show up in the morning, you work for eight to ten hours, and you go home. Five days a week. The problem with this model is that very few people can actually be productive for that long of a stretch and be consistent for several days in a row. We end up with many people finding ways around this challenge. They break up their days into chunks of time when they are more or less productive, creative, and social. Then they schedule their days accordingly, so that they are not just doing the same thing (or failing to do the same thing) for the whole day. Of course, some people don’t have that luxury and have to do the best they can and try to muscle their way through the day. It’s not ideal.
But what if we considered a different approach? One that takes advantage of the ebbs and flows of individuals’ energy. One that isn’t tied to specific times during the day. One that focuses on the work instead of on the time spent working.
Do you ever go through periods feeling that you’re just not satisfied?
We all have times when we’re not happy about the way our lives are going. Everything may be fine, or even good, but life can still seem mundane or ordinary. When no milestones are happening, when we’re in the doldrums between vacations, or when there’s nothing but routine, it can seem as if our lives aren’t special or extraordinary. Life satisfaction doesn’t mean settling for a life that is less than what you want it to be—it means accepting and living in the moment to the fullest. It means making the most of what you have while being open to opportunities and potential change. It means acknowledging and being grateful for the good things in your life and having a plan for addressing the aspects of your life that aren’t what you want. Life satisfaction means choosing to be happy now—not at some point in the future.
It can be the driver for our greatest accomplishments, and it can be the cause of our personal downfalls. It can be a source of strength and courage, and it can be a significant weakness. Many of us will think first of romantic desire, but desire can be many things—some healthy and some not so healthy. Desire is like an amped-up version of “want.” When we desire something, it is more ingrained in ourselves, in our identities.