How to Discover Your Own Joy
by Jacques Ho
The holiday season is among us!
Christmas is just around the corner, and many of us are familiar with this time of year as being a time of celebration, appreciation for life, and spending time with our loved ones.
It’s a great opportunity for us to reconnect with the spirit of giving, especially for those who may be less fortunate than us.
Of course, who can forget the colorfully-wrapped boxes that hide underneath the Christmas trees?
It can be easy to look forward to a birthday, holiday, or other event as a time where we typically give or receive presents, but can you remember a time when someone surprised you with something completely out of the blue?
Perhaps a friend surprised you with a concert ticket, one of your parents called in the middle of the day to say hi, or maybe your significant other came home with dinner just so that neither of you would have to figure out what to do for dinner.
These random acts of kindness carry the most potential for surprise and appreciation. (Not to mention, the sneakier you are, the better the payoff!)
The common thread here is taking the time to make someone else’s day a little brighter.
On this note, I recently came across one of Jacqueline’s posts about her friend Adam who had recently passed away.
There was a quote from Adam that really spoke to me…
“Something I’ve learned as I’ve experienced such a wide variety in life through the things I’ve done, places I’ve been and people I’ve known is that so very little is actually about me. What is really important is not how much or what we are able to accomplish for ourselves in life, although that is a very common taught theme. True success, true power, true happiness is all determined by what we can contribute to the world and how well we can help others.”
~ Adam Christiansen
I completely agree with what Adam said. While I have my own goals and ambitions, a great deal of them have to do with involving or helping other people.
I’ve also discovered that when my aim is in service of others, I end up discovering my own joy in the process.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with achieving your own desires, and self-care is incredibly important.
However, attempting to find continual fulfillment through satisfying our own desires can be akin to running faster and faster on a hamster wheel – you’ll continue to make no progress, and become weary of it over time.
Why is it like this?
It feels to me that the differing element is the value of connecting with others.
Sharing time. Sharing energy. Sharing love. Sharing laughter. Especially when it’s genuine, wholeheartedly given, and without selfish ambition or hidden agenda.
It’s almost as if you’re playing a loving game of tennis. The game isn’t quite the same if you’re trying to hit the ball to yourself, but you can have a hell of a game when playing with another person who’s on the same level as you.
I also discovered that sharing warmth like this can serve as a GREAT pick-me-up when you’re not having your best day.
I recently had a morning at work when nothing was going as I had hoped.
It was challenging enough to console myself, and certainly no one was going to walk through my office door to make me feel any better.
When I had a few moments to myself, I went into Gmail, opened a new IM window for every contact who was online, and sent the following:
“Good morning, [name]! Dropping in to wish you a happy Monday. J ”
Many of those contacts replied with a similar wish, and the single momentary connection that I had with each person was more than enough to recharge me for the rest of my day. It’s as if I’ve taken my own candle to light other candles that belong to my loved ones. I can light as many of them as I want without decreasing the longevity of my own – and my entire world ends up becoming brighter as a result.
Since then, I’ve made it a regular practice to let my loved ones know that I’m thinking of them. Instant message, email, phone call, greeting card, hand-written letter, dinner invitation, or video game session.
When you reach out to someone simply because you’re thinking of them, you’ll always get the best possible result.
What’s that, you say? You needed a challenge for today? Well, that works out – because I have one for you!
–[ ACTION STEP CHALLENGE ]–
Select three people in your buddy list, email address book, or phone contacts.
Reach out to all three of them individually, and wish them well for the day. You can do this via IM, email, or phone call. Your goal is to do this within one week of reading this blog post. (However, if you’re having a rough day, then your goal is to do this by the end of the day today!)
I hope you enjoy making someone else’s day a little brighter, and I hope they appreciate and remember your efforts so that they may do the same for you in the near future.