Yesterday, my friend Katherine told me that whenever she is deciding whether or not to commit to something, she asks herself this question: Is this something I want to do? Or something I feel like I should do?
This question aligns with so many of the things I'm trying to accomplish: to be less busy, to stop shoulding, to make time for the things that bring us joy. But there is also something bigger it taps in to. Lately I've been performing a bit of a self audit. I've been making a list of what I love, what makes me happy and what moves me in the direction I hope to go. And then I'm taking the list of everything I do and seeing how they fit together. Does this event move me torward this goal? Does this project, charity, committee, activity move me where I want to go?
This is on the heels of a recent formula I heard about finding how to live a fulfilling, happy life. The formula is:
Doing what you love + what you think the world needs = happiness.
My brother, Duke, is the perfect example. He loves healthy living and believes in the power our physical health has on our mental health. He also sees a void in the world: people are undereducated, undermotivated and overweight. He took his love, found the gap in the world, and merged them. This weekend he will finish his Masters, and this fall will start his PhD in Sports Psychology. Every day, he's meeting with clients to help them understand how they can live a healthier life. He's performing research and writing dissertations. He's working with entire families to break the cycle of obesity. And I've never seen him this happy. He's living in his sweet spot.
Everyone should get to live this way!
Everyone should be able to do what they love to help make the world a happier, more productive place. Maybe it's your job. Maybe it's your extracurriculars. Maybe you're lucky enough to have both of your happy worlds in one!
For me, the formula is helping me keep my activities in check. It's reminding me that just because I can do something, doesn't mean I should. Some things move us forward and others bog us down. And when we can figure out which are which, that's when we're really living in our sweet spots. That's when we're really flying.