What Will I Find Joy in Today?
It works best when I see it first thing every morning. It influences, and improves, every experience I have that day. This simple hand-written note, on a piece of scrap paper that I have taped to the mirror. It’s directly in my vision as I have my first “self-talk” each day while brushing my teeth and it sets the tone for whatever I’m about to encounter. The note simply says, “What will I find JOY in today?” and promises that if I focus on that perspective, I will be able to find the JOY that lurks beneath every experience, be they good or bad. Yes…there can be joy in the bad, it’s just harder to locate.
This routine kind of morphed from an old saying my dad liked to utilize as a warning to my siblings and I when we were growing up, especially when we were in high school. He’d say, “If you go looking for trouble, you’re going to find it.” Funny how we can catch ourselves about to say the things our parents said, even though we promised ourselves “When I grow up, I’ll never talk like them.” But, alas, sometimes we do because it makes the point to our own kids that our parent was attempting to make to us.
I know this will sound strange but one of my favorite hobbies is creating new thought processes out of the tried and true. I attempt to create a new perspective, or a different and unique way, of looking at the same thing. You see, I found value in asking myself each day what had brought me joy that day. I’d replay the day in my head and enjoy once again all of the different things that had brought me joy. Then it occurred to me that if I began each day looking for joy (trouble) in every experience I had, by the end of the day I had significantly found more (joy).
Studies show that we all crave the presence of joy in our life. And we’d like to increase the amount of joy we experience each day. Funny, isn’t it? The more joy we experience the more we naturally share with others. Just think, if we all sought joy in every encounter each day, and when we found it we shared it with others, I’m pretty sure we could change the world….at least our small part of it.
This is where the “finding joy even in the bad” comes in. When you find yourself in a situation going bad, attempting to find joy forces you to enlist the help of compassion and care as you seek to understand why things aren’t going better. I frequently find myself the paradigm shift story that author Stephen Covey shared. He was on a train enjoying the peace and quiet when at a stop a man and his three kids came on and the kids were immediately disruptive and noisy. The man sat down staring at the floor and was disengaged from his kids. Finally, Covey spoke up, asked the man to attend to his children who were misbehaving and disrupting all of the other passengers. The man looked up and apologized saying “I’m sorry, we’ve just come from the hospital where the children lost their mother, and I lost my wife.” Could it be that the person we’re engaged with in a situation headed south has a similar story to that suffering father? Maybe the joy you’re destined to experience is derived from the joy you provide the people on the other side of the situation. Is that a thought process you’re willing to consider? As my Dad would kind of say “If you go looking for JOY, you’re going to find it” which led to me creating a saying of my own which is: Rather than looking for things that bring you joy, MASTER FINDING JOY IN ALL THAT YOU DO.
So will you? Will you jot down the question “What will I find JOY in today?” and tape it to your mirror where you’ll see it first thing in the morning each day? I sure hope so. It’s very similar to investing $10 in yourself in the morning and being worth $100 by the end of the day. It’s the same ratio when you’re actually looking for Joy. Don’t wait. Take action right now and insert the gift of abundant joy each day. All it takes is a note on a piece of scrap paper. GiddyUp!