How to do Something Worthwhile

Sorry I’ve been gone for a while. I haven’t posted in a week. I only post once or twice a week as it is but going an entire week without a peep? Well, I missed it. It’s not that I didn’t try. I came to the coffee shop, but I got here a little too late and just couldn’t seem to get a post ready in that time. The other thing that changed is that I tried to bring back exercise. You know that activity where you take a half hour or so to move your arms and legs fast enough that it might make up for the other nine hours where you just sit? Well, as I suspected, it won’t be easy to have both exercise and writing vying for the few fragments of time I have that are mine to assign. But here I am this morning, my eyes a bit red rimmed, but I am exactly where I want to be. Here’s to doing things that are worthwhile, things that make our hearts full. It’s worth the struggle.

I once read an article with this title “Worthwhile things are always hard” and while I liked the article well enough, what really grabbed me was the title. Because it’s so true. It’s hugely satisfying when it’s done, so why does the doing seem so hard?

Worse yet, sometimes we get confused and begin to believe the reverse is also true, that all hard things are worthwhile, but being busy is different than being productive, and being productive can even be different than doing something worthwhile. Busy-ness is a common distraction from really swimming in the deep end.

So why does doing something really worthwhile, bringing something new and fresh and uniquely from you, into the world feel so hard? I think it comes down to this: Engagement. And that level of engagement involves the following qualities:

5 Qualities to Cultivate if You Want to do Something Worthwhile

  1. Giving from the part of you that is uniquely you – When we are adding value to the world we are adding a bit of ourselves, our own unique spin. To do that takes some stretch, some reaching. If you think you’re going to add value by merely skimming the surface then you’ll need to be someone extra-ordinary in order for that to carry much weight.
  2. Perseverance – This is where many of us get stuck. We might work on something for a little while but once it really gets tough we tend to wrap it up and just offer up what we have so far as the finished product, even when we know that right now we are able to draw forth more value. Of course the line has to be drawn somewhere but before it is we need to pour it on and dig deep within ourselves for our best.
  3. Vulnerability – When you’re trying to contribute you have to follow the inner road signs no matter how scary.  We don’t always know at the outset where the journey is taking us and frequently it will take you somewhere you’re not immediately keen on going. For example when I had my personal chef business I eventually grew bored of my business model. But the signs for how to move forward, gentle prods by others to teach a class, to take over as the leader of the Slow Food group I belonged to, were always there, they were just intimidating so I ignored the signs that would have helped me grow my business into something more interesting and quite likely more worthwhile.
  4. Fierceness – protecting what you have and giving it the feeding and watering it needs to thrive even when everything else in your life is clamoring for your reserves or are nay saying your ideas. If we are not careful it is very easy for the noise in our outer lives to become louder than the voice of our inner life and that my friend, is death to creativity.
  5. Beware the lure of the easy road – This is the number one thing I want to teach my daughter. Doing something worthwhile requires avoiding the siren call of the easy road.  The lure of the easy road can be very powerful. It has at one point or another caught every single one of us who is not contributing to their fullest. Does it have you now?

Comment suggestions: I am trying to cultivate all of these qualities. Trying to be mindful of them in my everyday life so that when I do sit down to try to do something worthwhile I might have the wherewithal to believe in myself enough to accept the offer.

What is it that you are trying to do that is worthwhile? Which of the qualities above challenges you the most?

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