Welcome back everyone, to week three of our series on the Super Seven Life Paradoxes! We’re coming into the home stretch now—next week, we’ll only have the seventh and final paradox left, and a bit of time for a wrap-up. But for today, let’s not waste time.
5. Be intent only for good.
You can think of this as a continuation of our previous point from last week. What does a commitment to love or God mean in practical terms? It means a constant, conscious intention toward good for everyone in your life—what I have sometimes called win/win/win. You’ve heard of win/win situations before, this is taking it a step further. The first win is what’s best for the other guy, the second win is what’s best for everyone, and the last one is for yourself.
There’s a strange paradox at the heart of happiness. When a person gets it into their head that they want to be happy, they tend to think of taking things for themselves that will make them happier. More money, more free time, more pleasure. But happiness isn’t about what you have so much as what you do. It’s relationships that make life truly meaningful, and you tend to get out of relationships what you put into them.
This is where commitment to love comes full-circle. Putting it into practice means putting others ahead of yourself and making sacrifices for them—not just every now and then but habitually. Those who seek happiness in itself seldom find it, but those who seek only to love others will get happiness thrown in.
6. Do your absolute, 100% best at… whatever!
This one seems pretty obvious. Of course, you should make your best effort in your day-to-day job, for example. But let’s not stop at the obvious, “don’t be lazy.” If you look around and think back on your own experiences, you’ll find that the best efforts tend to come from people who are passionate about what they are doing.
There are two parts to this. We’ve all heard the phrase, “a man who loves his job never works a day in his life,” and the first part is finding things in your life (not limited to work) about which you are passionate. That can be easier said than done and is really deserving of its own full-length discussion. But if I could give one piece of advice here, it would be not to limit yourself to chasing things you are already passionate about. Be open to new experiences, be willing to try things that may not work or that you might not like. Search for new passions in the life you have, rather than just trying to make a new one from scratch.
Ancient manuscripts instruct us to “never be lacking in zeal,” and while that command was probably meant to refer specifically to the subject of faith, the same holds true in any significant aspect of your life. Discipline will get the job done in the short-term, but it is passion that inspires us to push ourselves and get continuously better. Eventually, doing your real best means a willingness to expose yourself to a certain amount of chaos, pain, and risk in order to follow that passion.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd