Learn to Enjoy What You Don’t Enjoy

Posted by Todd Smith

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Not everything in life is fun. Not everything in life is interesting. There are plenty of things that we have to do even though we don’t want to do them. Whether it’s going to work, cleaning the house, or helping a friend move, there are things we would prefer not to do. The question is, do you take on these tasks with a good or a bad attitude?

I see and talk to people almost every day who are clearly doing things they don’t enjoy.  It may be the teller at the bank, the checkout person at the store, or the guy fixing our air conditioner. Unfortunately, they are distinctly telegraphing their displeasure.

Can you distinguish between the people who enjoy what they do from those who don’t?  How can you tell?  Is it communicated through their body language? Is it written all over their faces?  Can you hear it in their voices?

The other day I was at a restaurant, and the server was clearly having a bad day.  Her unpleasant attitude was apparent in the way we were greeted, the snarl on her face when she took our order, and the way she interacted with the other servers.

Let’s take a look at the two options that were available to the server to determine which one makes more sense:

Option #1- She could have a bad attitude, take our order, bring us our food, get a bad tip, and feel worse.

Option #2- She could have a good attitude, take our order, bring us our food, get a good tip, and feel better.

Regardless of the choice she made, she was going to have to take our order and bring us our food. Whatever was bothering her wasn’t going to go away with her downbeat disposition, nor were dollars going to start falling from the sky to brighten her day. There was no upside to be gained from having a bad attitude.

The fact is, her attitude reflected poorly on her and the restaurant and made for an unpleasant work experience for her co-workers. But perhaps the saddest part of all is how her poor choice affected her personally.

Here is one of my life’s philosophies: if you are going to do something, do it with a great attitude and find a way to enjoy it.  I mean, if there is no getting around having to do something, then why not do it with a great attitude? NOTHING is gained by doing things with a poor attitude.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the things you don’t enjoy:

1.  Think positively. If you consistently say to yourself that you don’t like to do something, you won’t. You must begin to guard your thoughts and make sure you don’t allow them to get negative. Remember, how you look at something impacts your attitude towards it. Be creative and challenge yourself to look for the good in the things you don’t enjoy.

2.  Learn from the experience. If you think positively, there’s a good chance something can be learned from the very thing you thought you didn’t enjoy. Even if the only thing you learn is that you can do things you don’t like doing with a good attitude, you will have learned one of life’s most valuable lessons.

3.  Focus on the benefits. When you make the decision to enjoy the things you don’t enjoy, you will be happier both in the short term and in the long run. You’ll feel better about yourself and people’s respect for you will grow.  Always keep in mind there is NO benefit that comes from doing things with a bad attitude.  Even if you are trying to make a point that you don’t want to do something, you will likely look like a big baby instead.

Take a few minutes today to identify the things you don’t enjoy doing. Being honest with yourself, do you think others can sense you don’t enjoy doing them?  How is your attitude affecting you and those around you?

Here is my challenge to you: if you are going to do something, find a way to enjoy doing it. Whether it’s your full-time job or cleaning up after someone, don’t allow yourself to cop a bad attitude. If you sense one is starting to brew, remind yourself that you are in control and the choice you make affects you and everyone around you.

For every unpleasant situation you face, it’s your choice how to respond.  You can choose to make the best of it or let it get the best of you.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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