What would your life look like if you could do exactly what you wanted, all day, everyday? I think that most of us would collapse into unproductive, hedonistic shadows of our former selves. The more righteous among us will buck against that prediction, claiming that the outcome of hard work is satisfying enough to justify the journey. While that may be true, there is no denying that many elements of the journey are less than ideal. The path to success is rife with un-fun activities. Toil is the rule, not the exception. Even Michelangelo is bitterly quoted in saying that "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all."
Accepting the reality that success is born of laborious, sometimes tedious work seems to leave us with two options:
1) Enjoy life and achieve nothing.
2) Suffer a miserable journey and reap later benefits.
Instead of accepting one of those two options, at an early age I chose to invent a third. I was not born into privilege, and have had to work from a young age. Instead of choosing to be miserable during my time herding cattle, walking corn, and pouring concrete, I began to trick my mind into enjoying the work. Since doing what I wanted every day was not an option, I chose to like what I had to do. I focused on the silver lining, making a game of the labor and enjoying the physical benefits of working with my hands. To this day, I believe that balance, consistency, and happiness come from liking what you have to do.
I see a lot of people waiting to be happy. Whether they are waiting for their next paycheck, their next job, or (in extreme cases) their retirement, all they are doing is accepting misery now in anticipation of happiness later. What inevitably follows is dissatisfaction with whatever “windfall” they were waiting for. If you are always expecting the future to be better, then you are not able to enjoy the present.
I urge anyone caught in that cycle to find pleasure in being productive. Why delay happiness when you can have it now? Why focus on what is negative about your journey to success? Try to flip the script. Convince yourself that you are doing exactly what you want to be doing, and pretty soon, you will believe it.