Old habits die hard. Growing up, I developed the habit of doing things because they are required, not because I could feel a sense of joy or happiness by doing them. Probably one of the reasons why I was a “good” student back when I was still studying was because I always did what was required of me. Even when I was still an employee, my bosses told me that I always get the job done.
Sure, always doing what’s required helped me a lot. But because I didn’t know what gave me a sense of joy, purpose, or happiness, I struggled with finding my passion for a long time. It was only at 25 years old when I finally discovered that I really loved to write and wanted to become a writer.
For the past few weeks, my old habits crept back on me. There were days when I wrote not because I felt joyful, accomplished, purposeful, or happy. There were days when I wrote simply because I was required to do so. At work, I had weekly deadlines that I needed to meet. On my blog, I required myself to write and publish a post every day.
Whenever I write because I feel required to do so, I easily get burnt out and unmotivated. I also write half-heartedly, which I could sense from some of my posts and drawings. That’s why reading this advice from Michelle D’Avella on creating from joy was so timely:
“Don’t put so much pressure on figuring it all out, but make sure what you’re doing is something you can feel good about. When we create from joy, people feel it. When we create from lack, people feel it too. Human beings are attracted to abundance. We run away from desperation. So make sure the thing you are doing is something you believe in.”
And as I remember the days when I created from a place of joy and from a place of desperation, I resonate with what Chris Guillebeau, one of my favorite authors, commented on his blog:
“… as I look back over the past decade, I can clearly identify the seasons in which I was ‘creating with joy.’ I felt energized and motivated. I worked hard, often early in the morning until late at night, but with a sense of purpose. Alternatively, I can also identify seasons in which I was creating with an intention that was less-than-joyful. In my case, I’m not sure I was doing so out of desperation, but I certainly wasn’t doing so from my true self.”
Like Chris, I also felt the most energized, motivated, and purposeful whenever I wrote from a place of joy. Also, I often got more things done.
That’s why starting today, I’m making a commitment to myself that before I even sit down to write, I will spend time in prayer, exercise, and read a book (again) — activities that make me feel joyful, happy, energized, motivated, purposeful, and even accomplished.
How about you? What can you do to create from a place of joy?
Hat tip: Chris Guillebeau and Michelle D’Avella