We all want to be happy. It’s a universal thing. Ask anyone what they want from life and almost most will say they want happiness. Ask parents what they want most for their children and again it will be something like, “I just want them to be happy.”
Happiness however is fleeting at best. We can be happy in the moment, but it’s also relative, depending on our mind state.
If we decide to be happy, we can be happy and there’s the famous happiness equation, where your life condition is compared to your expectations. You are happy when your life condition is equal to your expectations. If your life conditions are less than your expectations, when you’ve got these high hopes, but the reality doesn’t come close to it, you feel unhappy; you are in a place of scarcity, a place of need, a place of want. On the other-hand, when you’ve got so much more, or you receive so much more than your expectations, you may feel guilty that you’ve received all of this extra stuff that you have not worked for, or you have not expected, or you may feel superior to other people. Whereas when you don’t have enough you may feel inferior, you may now feel superior and that’s not a good place to be in either.
Happiness therefore is related to your expectations and your life condition. It however is also a choice. It’s been proven that some people can be happy despite anything. They simply decide to be happy. It’s a decision and what may make me unhappy, may make you happy under the same conditions.
To me, happiness is this decision, this emotion, this fleeting thing that can leave in a moment. But it’s a building block to joy, it’s a means to an end. Happiness is not the destination but it’s part of how you get there.
But what is joy then?
Joy is much deeper than just mere happiness. It is something that comes to you when all the other pieces have fallen into place. You can decide to be happy. Joy on the other hand finds you. In that moment of joy you realize you’ve got it, you’ve received joy. It is something you receive from a bigger place, from outside of yourself.
Joy is an outcome, the product of having your life in a place where you are not only overflowing with joy, but also able to share it with those your life touches. Being on purpose plays a role. Gratefulness is a big part of it. Being in control of your emotions and able to withstand the onslaughts of the world are crucial. There are many factors which we’ll explore in this book.
Joy to me is also a gift. The experience comes to me often when I’m singing in a big choir and especially in our church’s mass worship choir. Joy is also contagious. I’ve seen that those leaders who are able to live and work in a place of joy are way more inspirational to their people. Everyone wants to follow someone who leads them to this place! The journey is fun! This energy is infectious and attracts better behaviour. Relationships improve. Clients are served better. Some actually develop waiting lists of top talent who want to work in these companies. In the end it is no surprise that their companies become more resilient, more profitable and stand the tests of time better.