I have wondered my whole life why there is so little joy in the world, given that most of us want to be happy.
Joy is an important and healthy quality. I have discovered that most people do not fully understand what it is and its value. As a result, they can be confused when they want it to materialize in their lives, and it does not. Let’s clear up some confusion so we can have more joy in our lives.
Let’s look at joy, what it is, what it is not, and the thinking that can get in the way.
Insight #1: You define success as joy.
Success is an outcome; joy is bigger and richer. It is a quality and intelligence.
We are all taught to seek success from an early age by earning good grades in school. It feels good, as does the approval that comes with it. Not only that, we begin to see ourselves as competent individuals as a result, and that matters when you are young. We learn to create specific outcomes, which is what success is. Joy is not a specific outcome, however. It materializes when what we have created is good for ourselves and others.
Insight #2: You think joy is a tactic.
Joy is a heart-based, friendly energy. It arises when we live from and make choices that honor the spirit of graciousness and friendliness.
The decision to act from those values or priorities provides a path toward joy. It is the intention that matters. The actions and results follow afterward. Looking at our priorities and intentions is one of the easiest ways to create and increase joy in our lives.
Insight #3: You think of joy in a competitive way.
Success is often achieved through competitive endeavors because we live in a competitive economic system. That is not joy’s story.
Joy does not need winning in the competitive sense. Winning from the perspective of joy comes from creating goodness and the resulting good feelings. What it means to create goodness varies from one situation to another, so there is no formula. There is no one to beat. Joy is the quality of thriving, so what we mean by goodness here is contributing to thriving for yourself and others. As a result, the thriving quality of joy makes life easier in a good way for yourself and others.
Joy Is A Wonderful Life Enhancing Quality
Many people think of joy as a saccharine, pretty feeling that is not really all that important in life. It is nice but not of great value because their view is that life is tough, a war, or all about adversity. Life can be all those things but it does not have to be.
Joy is an intelligence that is natural to us. It seeks the most life-affirming choices and actions that make life good for everyone. It is low conflict by nature, and friendly in its intentions. Joy is worth cultivating as a path, intention, and practice.
Life is and probably will always be challenging. That does not mean it has to be miserable. Invite some joy and see how it makes your life more rewarding in big and little ways.