This article is an adapted excerpt from Theron’s forthcoming book, Something More: Finding the Joy and Purpose of Life, set to be released next week.
Our Pursuit of Purpose and Pleasure
Scottish Olympic Gold Medalist runner Eric Liddell felt purpose and pleasure when he ran. In his own words, he said, “God made me fast…And when I run I feel his pleasure.” For Liddell, purpose and joy were connected. Whether we realize it or not, we connect purpose and joy as well. We believe if we can find our purpose and meaning in life, then we will discover a life of joy, happiness, and pleasure. Throughout our journey for meaning, we are in the pursuit of joy. If we can figure out what we were made for or what we were made to do, then we would not have to travel from source to source, always speculating where our happiness rests.
Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore?
This lifelong pursuit of joy is a worthy pursuit. No one spends their life intentionally and actively looking to lead a dreary life. A prime example of support is the show Winnie the Pooh. Although I did not regularly watch the show during my childhood years, I easily recall the two distinct demeanors of Eeyore and Tigger. Eeyore is a donkey whom can only be described as gloomy, pessimistic, and depressing. Tigger, on the other hand, is a tiger characterized by enthusiasm and enjoyment for life. You could say Eeyore sees the glass half-empty while Tigger sees the glass half-full. Two outlooks on life. Given these two options, which character would you wish to emulate? Would you rather display the smile of Tigger or the frown of Eeyore? I would venture to say more times than not we would choose the demeanor of Tigger. Why? Because to follow the outlook of Eeyore is to fall into a life of dreariness. To walk in line with the perspective of Tigger is to lead to a life of joy and happiness.
Of course, Eeyore and Tigger are fictional characters. Yet, they represent the attitudes we often hold. Both the Eeyores and the Tiggers of life have a particular disposition toward joy. The attitude of the Eeyore is dreariness because the pursuit of joy has ceased. The pursuer has given up on the pursuit. For the Tigger, the chase continues. He may not currently possess the joy he is pursuing, but he has not thrown in the towel. He will endure because in his quest for joy, he is seeking satisfaction. It is this quest for joy that my new book, Something More: Finding the Joy and Purpose of Life, will explore.