(This blog is the first in a series of eight, taken from Lesson 5, “Discover Your One-of-a-Kind Genius Zone and Set Your Current Top Life Goals” in Happy School, Where Women Learn the Secrets to Overcome Discouragement and Worry. You can access all 8 blogs in Lesson 5 HERE at JulieNGordon.com.)

If you ask random people about their goals, one goal you will often hear is, “Getting financially free so I don’t have to work.”

Hey, I’m up for getting financially free, too, as that gives one certain freedoms and choices. But none of my reasons are so “I don’t have to work.” Work, when using your Genius Zone (the intersection of your interests, strengths, and a need) is a gift from God and one of the most pleasurable and fulfilling aspects of life. (You don’t have to get paid to call something “work.” Stay-at-home mothers “work” and there are a slew of people who use their time to volunteer or to engage in meaningful activities in which they don’t get paid.) Just know that pursuing a life of ease and constant pleasure is only sought out by those who are not well instructed. Despair is certain to follow when one pursues pleasure and ease as their primary goal. The mind was created to only be happy when it is engaged in pursuits. 

Years ago I remember meeting a man in his 30’s who was a trust fund baby, and therefore never had to work. His financial situation afforded him a fabulous opportunity to get in touch with his gifts and to use them to make a contribution to society. Instead, he drank a lot of alcohol and occasionally painted landscapes. Of course, painting is a wonderful activity and for many, a worthwhile calling. But this man had no true purpose. Not only did he have a drinking problem, but was plagued with depression. How wonderful it is to have purpose and something worthwhile in which to focus the mind! Dedication to your purpose and having an aim outside yourself engages the mind and brings satisfaction. Lack of purpose is always coupled with despair. (Just to be clear, most trust fund babies are not like the one in the above example. Many use their lucrative financial situation to build great lives of service. But this person was not well instructed in how to build a satisfying life.)

Leisure is a reward for work and for being productive, not an end in itself. All of us know people who retire then become terribly bored. I know a doctor who retired, and then started up his practice again. “I found out it was boring reading crime novels and playing golf every day,” he told me. 

Making a meaningful contribution with your Genius Zone is stirring to your heart. Much human flourishing lies on the other side of using your Genius Zone. It is one of the true secrets of happiness. 

The culture can sometimes erroneously define happiness as an all-expense paid trip to some tropical island. But that’s actually not the correct description of true and lasting happiness. A huge aspect of happiness is more like the process of working diligently toward something meaningful. It’s not the absence of responsibility, but working toward accomplishing significant goals that you deeply care about. 

I knew a man who, when he was young, had so much talent and potential. He won awards in his early twenties for his outstanding personality. But he was madly in love with pleasure. He chased women, booze, and the easy life (he became corrupt in his business life.) Before he died in his 60’s, he was terribly depressed and in deep despair. Of course, no one is truly happy without virtue, but in addition, he never harnessed his talent and put it to good use for the contribution of others, an important aspect of happiness. He only spent his many talents and gifts on his own desires. In the end, it’s a pathetic existence.

I also know of a woman who didn’t chase illicit pleasures, but chased money, country clubs, status, and other hobbies, all of which were totally geared toward her own pleasure. She didn’t do anything illegal (well, maybe a few little things) but she never did anything with her (vast) skill set for others. She used all of her gifts to focus back on herself. Old age is sad for these people.

God gave you your interests and skills so that you might use them to glorify Him and to benefit others. In this process, you receive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. God’s ways and plans always come back to bless us. 

Remember, God gave Adam and Eve work to do before the fall. Work is part of God’s best design. And working in your Genius Zone is amazingly stimulating. It takes a lot of pains to discover your Genius Zone. Filling your head space with your Genius Zone is a great antidote for discouragement and depression. In fact, it is one of the main solutions to overcoming your discouragement and worry (along with not swimming around in your WMD thoughts—What’s Missing and Disappointing—but quarantining those rascals!)

This, my friend, is a path out of the dungeon of ruminating all day long about your WMDs.  

Blog #2 is coming soon and is entitled, “Massive, Continual Boredom is a Surefire Sign You Are Not Using Your Potential and Capabilities.”

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