The thief who steals happiness from his own life

Again I tasted the stab of joy

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Roosevelt famously said that comparison was the thief of joy, but there’s a comparable mindset that also robs us of our ability to relish life.

It’s the kissing cousin of comparison. Criticism.

Which has its merits insofar as growth and innovation are concerned. But there’s a fine line between the passion for continuous improvement and the compulsion to find fault in everything we encounter.

That’s what our egos don’t want us to know. That if we’re too busy wielding our ability to identify with perfect precision what’s wrong with every person and experience and piece of art we encounter; if we’re refusing to consume anything without trying to figure out the architecture, opportunities and strategy and motivation around and behind it; and if we’re always sticking a pin in every moment and consciously picking apart its flaws and imperfections, we’re setting ourselves up to avoid joy at every turn.

I read about a man who pastors a small congregation, and he wrote a fascinating philosophy on criticism, as it pertains to singing hymnals.

Nate said that just because a song is musically boring, lyrically vapid and emotionally naïve, we can still worship as fervently and freely as we would when our favorite tune being sung. Complaining only ruins a genuinely worshipful experience. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could sing our favorite songs every week, he said. Jesus died so that we might learn to die to self as well. Part of doing that might just be singing songs we don’t like, and singing them as genuinely as the songs we do.

The point is, not everything in life requires a cold, hard analysis. And not everything can broken down into a set of formulaic principles.

If we are to again and again receive the stab of joy, we can’t constantly be on the lookout for life’s flaws.

Instead, we should be scanning for moments that inspire a sense of awe and wonder.

In what situations have you become the thief who steals happiness from his own life?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Written by

Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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