Next time you do the dishes, clean the house, or do the laundry (insert your worst nightmare here), we have a challenge for you. Do that frustrating thing in the best way you possibly can. If you’re working on the dishes, turn on some music, focus in, and make sure every single dish is as clean as can be. Skip the dishwasher for this round. Try and enjoy this process. This will help you with fixing real life problems, because… Guess what?
There are always going to be dirty dishes.
That pile will be right there again tomorrow, with no sign of your previous efforts. How maddening is that? There will always be laundry and trash. There will always be pain, hunger, financial issues, fights with family and friends, or what have you.
So, do you just give up? It sure is an option. You can contemplate the meaninglessness of your existence, and that gives you a pretty good excuse not to do the dishes. But that comes with consequences, doesn’t it? When you don’t work on solving your problems, your problems spread like weeds. Gardens will always have weeds. It’s just your job to deal with them, so you can enjoy your garden.
If you want any chance at having a happy and healthy life, you can’t try and make the dishes go away forever. That’s quite silly. The only sane thing to do is figure out how to enjoy doing the dishes. And that is very different from seeking the accomplishment you get from finishing the dishes.
There is an old story called The Myth of Sisyphus.
He was a man banished to hell, and his punishment was to roll a giant boulder up a hill. As soon as he got close to the top, the boulder would roll all the way back down to the bottom, no matter how hard he pushed. His only option was to try again, even knowing the eventual fate of his struggle against the boulder.
Unfortunately for the devil, Sisyphus found happiness. He spend eternity trying to solve an unsolvable problem, and loved it. Maybe he went crazy, and maybe being crazy is actually being sane. Maybe we all have to be a little crazy, if we want any chance of enjoying this life.
So, go do the dishes. Then, go do the next thing. Deal with your financial debt, start the most uncomfortable conversation in the world, or dig into the worst part of whatever your career makes you do. Have a laugh at the ridiculousness of your situation.
Maybe next year, you’ll have a million dollars, the partner of your dreams, and complete inner peace. You’ll still have some version of “dishes” to take care of. Just breathe and get to it.