Chinese has a famous saying, 乐极生悲, meaning 'tragedy comes from extreme enjoyment'. When we are too happy we tend to forget about the danger and go overboard. That is not to tell us not to enjoy life and be happy. It is just that we need to be careful when enjoying. Joy is a powerful force. I-Ching has a Hexagram 16 that describe this situation well. It also tells us about how to truly enjoy without regrets.The details of Hexagram #16 can be found in 16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared (subscription needed to view the details).
The summary is reproduced here with my additional comments.
Summary of #16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared:
Enjoyment and having pleasure is a gift from God.
Enthusiasm and joy are powerful forces for starting new and big projects. There are ways to truly have the pleasure without the regrets.
- It is to be directed at enjoying and doing the right things;
- having a meaningful purpose,
- accomplishing it with enthusiasm and
- following the time and seasons.
- Don’t go wild.
Take precautions first. Risk management is about preparing for the worse.
- Enjoy the right things.
Sin is pleasurable for the short time but regretful for a long time.
When you do the right thing, then there is no concern but just give of your best.
- Don’t flatter. Do real work.
It is good to please your bosses. But flattering alone will not really work, at least in the long run. The sure thing is to excel in your work. Give of your best, make your boss looks good through real performance and successful outcomes like winning the contracts and awards.
- Joy and enthusiasm accomplish much and draws others along.
Joy and enthusiasm have a virus like property of infecting others! Let your joy extends to others that the whole team may accomplish much much more. Joy enables you all to continue when others give up. Joy enables you all to have creativity and breaking out with new innovations when others remain stagnant.
- Don’t overdo and get sick.
Nevertheless, watch your health and don't overextend yourself so as to get sick. Work hard happily but do take regular rest breaks. You rest so that you can walk further and longer.
- Don’t lose your sight while enjoying. Reflect on your life.
Happiness, especially from the success of your enthusiasm, will at times make our head bigger than reality. We may lose sight of our limitations and dangers. It is a good time to reflect on your successes and happiness so as to repeat those successes again. There is methodology called "Appreciative Inquiry" that encourages us to study into our successes so that we can have bigger dreams and repeat the successes. Do a google on the term and learn and apply it.
Lim Liat copyrighted 16 July 2011
Update 29 March 2012
On further thought, I think this Hexagram Enjoying is more about Enthusiasm or the Passion that one has when doing the right things. It is more like Steve Jobs' "Follow your heart"!.
So I would like to change its title to "16 豫 Enjoying – Passion & Enthusiasm in The Right Things".