The Four Noble Truths on the Path to Enjoyment

The thing I want most for my children when they grow up is to enjoy their life. But only they can make this happen. This is the first Noble Truth on the Path to Enjoyment:

You alone are responsible for your enjoyment.

The Four Noble Truths on the Path to Enjoyment are inspired by my love for my children, my own experiences with enjoyment in life, the four noble truths of Buddhism, and Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and his book, Flow. Specifically, this quote from the aforementioned book:

“Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.”

The goal of The Four Noble Truths on the Path to Enjoyment is not the apparition of enjoyment, but liberation from suffering associated with vain and superficial quests for enjoyment. It’s a chance to share the information I was never offered growing up, but would have appreciated knowing (even if I didn’t appreciate hearing it at the time). It’s written in case someone out there is waiting and listening.

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THE VENN OF ENJOYMENT ACCORDING TO DR. CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

Copy of enjoyment

Growing up I was taught to expect enjoyment from things like a college degree, a good career, and financial security.  These things may be nice to have, but an enjoyable life they do not make.

This is the second Noble Truth on the Path to Enjoyment:

Long-term enjoyment is found in the everyday challenges, not the everyday comforts.

This is because long-term enjoyment is more about discovering potential than it is discovering pleasure.  Here’s a more accurate representation of enjoyment in light of this truth (at least in my opinion):

the awkward pubescent phase necessary for discovering your potential

Boredom is the suffering that results from not living up to our potential.

Anxiety is the suffering that results from overthinking about living up to our potential.

Enjoyment is the suffering that results from the challenges required for living up to our potential.

Enjoyment is not the absence of suffering. This is the third Noble Truth on the Path to Enjoyment:

The path to enjoyment includes suffering.

It’s not uncommon to get tired or a little lost while traveling the path to enjoyment. To avoid frustratingly flip-flopping between boredom and anxiety or giving up altogether, there are a few “rules” for the road. This is the fourth Noble Truth on the Path to Enjoyment:

Keep a positive attitude. Be kind to yourself and others. Do good in the world. Have fun.

None of us are getting out of here alive, so make the most of your living while your living lasts.

May your path to enjoyment treat you well.

 

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