“The happiest people seem to be those who are producing something; the bored people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing.” ~ William Ralph Inge …
Happiness, as William puts it here, is perhaps a measure of how much we produce as opposed to how much we consume; of how much we give as to how much we take. And if this is the case, then one would expect to find the happiest people to be those who keep themselves busy, those who set goals and commit to achieving them, those who fulfill their duties and act out of necessity, and those who learn new skills and abilities and strive to live purposeful lives–which in my experience has seemed to always hold true.
Yet far too many individuals let boredom and inactivity become a dominant element of their lives. Perhaps they fear taking challenges and trying new things or prefer the safety, comfort, and consistency of the regular paths they are used to. Maybe they are afraid they might not finish things they start or be criticized by others for how they work and the results of their labors. Or perhaps they live a very indolent or passive life, preferring to sit around and consume what others are producing instead of being active themselves. But in all of these cases, they are letting either fear or sloth determine how they are going to live their lives and sabotaging so much of the happiness that is available to them through producing positive things that are real and tangible.
In truth, being productive is a wonderfully easy way to exercise our body and mind and to keep our heart and soul feeling alive and fulfilled. And it does not even matter what we are producing–as long as it is not harmful, immoral, or illegal–as the mere act provides us with a deep feeling of accomplishment and an abundant source of happiness. If I enjoy producing music and song, I do not have to be famous–I can sing with my children or play a musical instrument for those in a hospital or retirement home. And if I love sewing or crocheting, I do not have to sell thousands of my creations–I can make beautiful blankets, garments, and apparel for friends and family, for decoration, or simply to give away.
Each individual on this planet has the ability and opportunity to produce something of value and worth. And doing so gives to us feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction, important components to a healthy and happy life. In addition, when we successfully produce something, we are inspired to produce more, giving us hopes, dreams, and aspirations of what our lives can be. In the end, happiness is most often the result of being active in making the most of our lives each and every day, whereas boredom is the result of sitting around and watching as life passes us by.
Make today a productive day for yourself.
Questions to consider:
What do you think William means when he says, “those who are producing something?”
What kinds of things are you good at? How often do you actively pursue your chances to produce things?
Why do so many people get caught up in merely consuming without producing?
For further thought:
“If you observe really happy people you will find them building a boat, writing a symphony, educating their children, growing double dahlias in their gardens, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. They will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. They will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. They will have become aware that they are “happy” in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day.” ~ W. Beran Wolfe