How to Have Fulfillment Without Effort

We are presumed to agree that a fulfilling life comes through strenuous effort.

What if this isn’t true? Or at least, what if having to ‘compete’ and ‘struggle’ is not the only path to fulfillment? What if there is another way? A way that is easier and more relaxed? A way in which one may, say, become a mother and have meaningful career success, without straining or fighting for any of it?

In conversation with an entrepreneur I was partnered with last year, we created a ‘rule’ for her life, which is encapsulated in the phrase:

To be joyful or not to be.

For every choice she has to make, she asks herself: ‘Will doing this bring me joy?’

If the answer is YES, she does it.
If the answer is NO, she does not do it.

By building her life with bricks of joy, the house she lives in is joyous.

Does this sound too simple? Does it sound too fantastical? Too improbable?

If you have any grounding in science and logic, I certainly hope it does.

With a background in Physics and Math it certainly did for me, for most of my life.

However, at some point I realized I was considering this through a strictly ‘Newtonian’ lens.

The moment I began looking at life as not simply a sequence of causal events, but as a collective of happenings from the chaos of which order emerges, I was able to see how making decisions based on principles, over time, could be the source of an emergent success.

I began to see, for example, how choosing joy in every moment could create a joyous life.

What if you were to choose a principle and simply live for it and from it? What if you were to do so, not because you could connect the dots of causality between now and a future that you desire, but because you allowed yourself to be raptured by the idea that through time, the seeming randomness and inconsequentiality of your principled activity made an intelligent chaos that was required for the order of your vision to unfold?

What principle would you commit to living?