I recently shared a quote about grief on my social media pages. The quote is credited to Sophocles, the Greek playwright who wrote Oedipius Rex and Antigone.

“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.”

Sophocles is believed to have written over 120 plays, but only seven have survived in complete form. The fifth century B.C. playwright is known for his tragedies. While the above quote carries tragic overtones, it—ironically—also contains the path to one of life’s greatest sources of happiness.

In The WE Gear, I describe the ability to differentiate between chasing pleasure and pursuing happiness as a defining characteristic of a good teammate. Good teammates pursue happiness. They don’t chase pleasure.

My interest in understanding how to better pursue happiness has led me to become a fan of author Gretchen Rubin. Her field of expertise is happiness. A few months ago, I completed Rubin’s online course, The Happiness Project Experience. I am fascinated by a concept she discusses in the June module about the three categories of fun—challenging, accommodating, and relaxing.

Challenging fun is taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill. This type of fun takes patience and perseverance—and usually a considerable amount of time and energy.

Accommodating fun would be attending an office party, taking a family trip, or going out to dinner with a group of friends. Accommodating fun necessitates coordination, organization, inconvenience, and some “give and take” on your part.

Relaxing fun entails virtually no effort. It’s watching television, scrolling through Facebook posts, and chilling by the pool.

Most of our “fun” time is occupied by relaxing fun. However, challenging fun and accommodating fun tend to bring us more happiness and produce the best memories. Why is this?

Because, relaxing fun involves little effort. Challenging fun and accommodating fun compel a greater commitment. Putting forth more effort strengthens our bond to the experience. To paraphrase Gretchen Rubin: We get more out of it because we put more into it. 

Being a good teammate requires sacrifice, concessions, inconvenience, ambition, and love—all potential sources of grief and all brought on by our own choice. Helping a wayward teammate find the right path can cause you a lot of grief. But much like the sources of challenging and accommodating fun, helping your teammate can leave you with the best memories and highest levels of happiness.

Few endeavors will bring you more happiness than being the reason a teammate who falls down seven times, stands up eight. The happiness brought on by this struggle will be worth the grief. The greatest griefs can indeed bring us the greatest happiness.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.


One more thing…

If you’re a teacher or a team leader who has been using Zoom or another video conferencing app to communicate with your “team,” check out this video we recently released. These three simple tips can help you improve your message!


Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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