Achieving Happiness…?

“Happiness is in accordance with virtue”Aristotle

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of HS boys. This particular group of freshmen are overachievers. They’re part of a local service organization that focuses on leadership and giving back to their local communities. Pretty cool, regretfully, I was not that mature in HS.

We talked about Building Health Through Habit.

I opened the conversation a bit on developing the mindset needed in order for one to lead. A term that we like around the gym is that of “voluntary hardship”, which refers to choosing growth over comfort. The idea being, when something has value, you pursue it… even though said pursuit will be uncomfortable.

I have a client that always refers to this as “stretch and grow”. Whenever I tell him what our next block of training is going to look like, he only smiles and says, “stretch and grow”! Coincidentally, he is one of the best leaders I’ve ever met.

Practically speaking, what does this mean? Want to be a better guitar player? Great, plan on logging hours of scale work and simple 3-note rhythms. When you’re done with that, probably go back and work them some more, this time in the dark so you’re forced to learn the fretboard by feel. Eventually, you’ll see progress. And the progress will be needed because if you intend to continue attempting to “stretch and grow” you’ll need a bigger skillset.

The closer you get to your goal… the more skill and “voluntary hardship” you’ll need to acquire and build.

Why keep going?

Simple, it’s important.

If becoming a “good” anything matters to you, you’ll continue to the degree that it actually matters. The same goes for health. If your health matters to you, you’ll do the difficult things needed to improve.

  • You’ll get to the grocery store on Sunday.
  • You’ll meal plan and prep for the week.
  • You’ll note your exercise sessions on your calendar.
  • You’ll pack your clothes so you can head there straight after work.
  • You’ll keep the gym bag by your front door, so you don’t forget it.

You’ll do these things on repeat until you get what you want… or, until you change your mind about what it is you want.

This is the way.

What does this have to do with Aristotle? He had a really interesting take on “happiness”. He believed humans achieve happiness. That happiness was an achievement, an action, a pursuit. In fact, he believed happiness was the pursuit of what we hold valuable. Rather than happiness being some arbitrary feeling or state of being, he believed we were designed to pursue our passions. Certainly, that doesn’t mean we’ll be happy every step of the way (see voluntary hardship). I can remember learning to play guitar, it wasn’t much fun for a long time. Then, all of the sudden, on day it was the most fun I’d ever had.

Where does this sit with you? Are you aggressively pursuing what you want? Are you building your healthiest self so you can live your best life? Are you happy?

If you’re already on the path… congratulations, keep going!

If you’re struggling, reach out for help. We get folks STARTED on their journey every month. We know how to do it and I’ll bet we can help you get started too!

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Hope this helps, talk soon!