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Happy or Joyful?

Would you rather be happy or joyful?  I vote for “joy” every time; for such a small word, the feeling it invokes is tremendously impactful. We usually confuse happiness and joy thinking they are the same, but they are not!  Happiness is a temporary “of the moment” emotion, without depth or meaning usually tied to an event.  Joy on the other hand, is a lasting feeling that comes from an ongoing state of wellbeing, good fortune, and contentment.  A truly joyful person engages you in a way that you feel that joy yourself.  Happiness can be pursued and easily won but is fleeting, leaving you to look for the next event that will make you happy again.  Joy is long lasting but elusive as something that you build over time.  It’s not born of a single event; it is earned over time, through experience and perspective.  It is a long-lasting sense of contentment that comes from within and has the power to see us through difficult times if we let it.  Happiness is a short trip; joy is a journey.  I’d rather take the journey.  As you all know, I do love to travel!

The key to joy is finding satisfaction in simplicity. I like simplicity, it’s well… simple and easy to understand 😊.  When the markets crashed during the financial crisis in 2008, my entrepreneur friends suffered like many of us.  Financial struggles were one aspect, but they also struggled with the tough decisions they had to make to help their businesses survive.  It was hard, but many got through it, rebuilt and were more content than before.  I thought that was interesting and asked why, and the answers were eerily consistent.  In a nutshell, they decided to keep it simple the second time around, and chose not to overcomplicate things. One step at a time.  By letting the external factors go and focusing on what they could control, they found a sense of peace and contentment in their work. They found joy and it showed in everything they did.

When I travel with friends, I usually go along with whatever plans they want to make.  It’s simpler; I don’t have to do very much, and I always have a great time going with the flow.  There is rarely any conflict; we are all similarly like-minded and enjoy similar things, with just enough differences among us to make it interesting.  We all value time with friends, new experiences, good food and drinks and the time to enjoy it. They like to plan; I like to go with the flow, so it’s a win/win for both and we each find our own joy in it all.

Finding ease in simplicity doesn’t mean we should settle for less or stop striving for goals.  It simply means that we should appreciate what we have in the present moment, find contentment in the journey, and build towards a state of joy in our lives.

So, instead of pursuing happiness, let’s focus on finding joy in the little things. Let’s appreciate the people and experiences that make us happy and find contentment in simplicity. After all, joy is something that can be found within us; it’s up to us to cultivate it and let it flourish.

The journey can be just as rewarding as the destination.  What will you find joy in this weekend?

“Happiness is smiling when the sun’s out. Joy is dancing in the downpour.” – Rend Collective

Have a good weekend.