Joy of Living! One powerful step to Resilience

Laughing is one of my favorite things about life.

I see a funny movie or show, hear something funny said on the street, have light and meaningless conversation with friends around the table and laughter ensues. There are all sorts of benefits to laughter – mitigating stress, boosts your immune system, can relieve pain, and can improve breathing.

For me though, laughter means I’m all-in on what is going on in front of me. Whether it is a movie or friends, when I laugh, it’s because I’m engaged. I love living and laughter is one of the benefits. There is a level of happiness when laughter is taking place. The room changes, people’s moods adjust. 

. Joy is an outcome. Joy is what we see on a child’s face the first time they see a magic trick. Joy is knowing you completed something with great pride. Being connected to life in the present moment is experiencing the joy of living.

The French calls this Joie de vivre which means a person is completely engrossed in the business of being alive. You are alive. Are you experiencing joy in your relationships? In your work?

The truth is that being engrossed in living provides more opportunities for joy. That’s what I want. more moments, more opportunities to experience joy with those I love, lead, and serve. As humans, that is something we should strive for – joy.

Is it always possible to experience joy? No. People with higher levels of resilience experience more opportunities for joy. How do you develop more resilience? One way is to live with purpose. Not just live on purpose, although that helps, but live WITH purpose. Punching the clock, counting the days to the weekend, watching hours of TV is not living with purpose.

Living with purpose means knowing what you are about and where you are going. It often involves giving of your time, energy, and resources. Whether in a non-profit or your local place of worship. Maybe volunteering at a school, foodbank, or community center just to get started.

Andres Zuzunaga developed a purpose Venn diagram (see left for a representation of his work) so he could live with greater purpose. They’re worth exploring.

If you’ve got a great job, the last one maybe isn’t as relevant. The other three speak to passion for living. Joie de vivre! The joy of living is the result of living a life of deep friendships and purpose.

Are you regularly experiencing Joie de vivre?

Do your job right

My first ‘real’ job was as a dishwasher. The restaurant was called Dip’n Donuts.

I loved that job. Master of my own domain, even if it was the dishwashing station. That is the place I learned to work hard, to do my job and do it with passion and excellence. Cooks and servers wanted to work my schedule.

There were times cooks would trade shifts just to be on with me. Why? Because they trusted me to get clean dishes to them on time, with a good attitude, especially during the lunch or dinner rush. When I reflect on my time as a dishwasher, it is with great pride. I was very good.

As I see it, there is no shame in being a dishwasher, unless you do it poorly. But that goes with any industry, any position, any job. Whether a dishwasher, in finance, CEO, sales or whatever you might be doing; if you do not take pride in the work you do; that is a personal issue. There is no job done well that is demeaning or beneath us.

Do your work well and do it with pride.

Throughout history, people have worked hard and sought opportunity. There are many examples of people doing their work well and carrying their work-ethic over to more lucrative, powerful, or positional work.

Roxanne Quimby was a waitress when she approached Burt Shavitz about expanding his bee-keeping business into what is now Burt’s Bees. Former President Andrew Johnson was a tailor before entering politics. A quick google search will reveal others. Whether starting from poverty, middle class, or of more affluence is less relevant. What we do with the opportunities we have is what matters for our future.

Do your job, do it well, do it with passion.

The Freedom to Choose Daily

I was reading and this line stood out to me, so I journaled. What you see here is raw journaling. If you want solid grammar, read a different post. The only filtering I have done is to leave out names of those I worked with.

Through our perception of events, we are complicit in our creation – as well as the destruction – of every one of our obstacles.
Ryan Holiday
Author The Obstacle is the Way

I decide my story every single day. I have the power to choose my attitude, my beliefs and make choices for my life. Those are mine to choose. No one else has the right or power for these except me. No matter what comes, everyday these three are mine and mine alone.

Attitude sets a tone. How do I view my wife and my girls? They do not control my perception of them, I choose it. They have their choices, and I can choose whether their choices affect my attitude towards them or the outlook on the day? My attitude is my choice no matter what others say or do.

No one can choose my beliefs. They are mine alone. I can share them and defend them, but no one can take them from me. Others can share their beliefs but that does not mean I am obligated to adopt them. I alone choose every day.

Obstacles can present themselves and I can choose my response, largely from my perception of the obstacle and based on my attitude, belief, and choice. These three are mine to control or relinquish when faced with and obstacle or opportunity in life, relationships, or business.

I recently worked with a leadership team and their VP (who is a micromanager). Pushback came from a decision the team had made. The VP wanted to have access to details of the conversation. The VP pushed, prodded, and threatened. Throughout, I had the power to choose my attitude – anger or calm; frustration or peace; fear or strength.

The truth is I my internal dialogue ranged through all these emotions plus more. Throughout the conversation the choice was mine in how I viewed the relationship with the VP. Would I give in to my attitude, thus giving away that power or choose to maintain steady and hold to what I believed would be best?

There is power in deciding your story each day.

You have the power to choose your attitude, or you can relinquish it.

You have the power of the convictions of what you believe unless you give it away.

The choice is yours daily.