When individuals hear the word joy, the image of wide and bright smiles may initially come to mind. On the surface, happiness and joy may seem synonymous. Although closely related, there is a stark difference between the two, specifically it is the attitude of choice.
Joy vs. Happiness
One noteworthy essay describes happiness as “depending on external factors to exists.” Therefore, individuals may get into the routine of saying, “When this happens, I’ll be happy.” This if-then mentality sends us into a never-ending cycle of waiting on happiness to fill a potential void and puts your happiness in the hands of Future. Joy, on the other hand, is more spiritual in nature. In fact, many religious denominations place joy as a sacred or holy emotion.
Something that is seen as a blessing or rewarding occurrence. However, universally, joy is accepted as a choice one makes. Despite various circumstances, whether financial hardships or personal differences, a person who chooses joy still maintains a positive outlook towards the future. Their joy is ever-present and consistent despite situations of despair.
Happiness is often times momentary and matched with a state of euphoria. Within the moment, there are no other negative influences that could drastically impact the level of happiness one experiences. Because of this emotional focus, happiness is only limited to circumstantial occurrences.
How Joy is Life-Changing
Since joy is a choice, this means it takes a concerted effort to achieve. It is quite simple to bask in the stress, negativity, and despair so prevalent in the world today. Certain situations can even make it easy to become victimized. Because of this, learning how to choose a joyous spirit is vital. One simple way to do this is to practice kindness, even when it’s difficult. This is especially necessary for employment where things can get hectic.
Clashing personalities, strict deadlines, and even unmanageable colleagues can make work-life a dread. However, you have the power to remain positive in the midst of negativity. Walk into the office with a smile and strive to be kind to everyone you encounter.
Don’t respond to negativity with combativeness. Instead, find your inner peace that cannot be destroyed. This mentality goes far beyond the office. It transcends to every avenue in life. If you suffer from disappointments, hard times, or failure, try to find the learning experience within.
This will empower you to push forward and find delight in your experiences whether positive or negative. This new mentality is life-changing because it forces you to find the positive in whatever you are handed. Unlike happiness which comes and goes, choosing joy lasts beyond the circumstantial positives. It can help mold and guide you throughout life’s difficulties.
How to Develop Joy
One of the primary ways to develop joy is to find meaning and purpose in everything that you do. This will give you a sense of living as opposed to living for something. One popular news source suggests “connecting authentically” with those around you. As opposed to searching for vanity or the negative, find a way to really get to know those in your sphere of influence. This will help you to develop a deeper human connection.
In addition, remaining humble and grateful are two primary ways to further develop your joy. When you focus on the good that your life has, you have no reason to be down or remorseful. In addition, understanding your limitations in comparison to the huge universe will help you to not take life too seriously. By focusing on heightening your connective awareness, you will be able to develop long-lasting joy.
Joy can help you to serve others, be a better friend, employer, person, and advocate. It provides you with a sense of fulfillment even during harsh times. In order to live a life filled with purpose and sanity, it’s imperative that you learn how to choose joy every day.
If U are to truly experience life, U must be able to give yourself permission to fail.
Through failure U will learn, grow and become successful.
Life is akin to learning to ride a bike – U will fall. U will stumble. U will crash. U may even get hurt. U may even find yourself too afraid to get back on the bike. However, it is important to remember, whenever U put yourself ‘out there’ and attempt to tackle difficult situations, handle problems, or begin something new, U may not always be successful. In fact, it may take you a significant amount of time to master whatever U are attempting to achieve. There will also be times when no matter what U do, success simply will not occur.
That’s OK! Failure is a part of a life well lived! How you view and deal with problems, difficulties and new experiences can have a huge impact on your life, your success, and your happiness.
U may choose to give up or blame someone else or beat yourself when U fail. However, U might be surprised to hear that many successful people are not only grateful for their past failures, but they ascribe their present success to having tried and failed in the past.
Six Reasons to Embrace your Failures
- Failure is opportunity in disguise – To acknowledge failure as an opportunity is not putting a Pollyanna spin on reality. It’s accepting that everyone fails, and U can choose to try and learn from your mistakes, or you can do nothing. Successful people see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and change course when things aren’t working out as planned.
- Failure highlights your weaknesses – If U can detach from the emotions of failure, U can soon see where the leaks are in your boat are and take steps to mend them.
- Failure increases your resiliency – One big lesson learned from trying and failing is finding out U can get back up again and keep going. U can admit that U tried and failed and use what U learned to build a better strategy to reach your goals. That’s a huge life lesson!
- Failure will encourage U to innovate – When faced with failure, U will begin to learn to attempt new and different strategies. Failure encourages U to view risk in a different light. If you’re not afraid to fail, you’re more likely to try new things and experience life in a whole new way!
- Failure reminds U that you’re not alone – Accepting failure as part of life will make U more empathic and less judgmental of others. You’ll be more likely to help other people who are embracing life and attempting to move forward despite their obstacles. In return, U will be more open to ask for and receive help when U are in need.
- Failure will suggest U be kinder to yourself – Seeing failure for what it is (a temporary setback) will make U more forgiving of your flaws. You’ll be less of a perfectionist and be less prone to self-doubt. Forgiving yourself, in turn, will build your self-confidence and make U more likely to succeed the next time around.
Embrace failure, learn from it and use it as a stepping stone to success. – Recreate-U.com
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan
No man ever achieved worthwhile success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure. – Napoleon Hill
The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. – Buddha
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. – Confucius
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. – J.K. Rowling
Using The Power Of Choice To Improve Your Quality Of Life And Wellness
U have the ability to choose. U can decide what to eat each day, what clothes to wear, what restaurants to go to; U have the ability to choose what U want in life and what U don’t want. Of course, some things U can’t choose such as what color your skin is, what size feet U have, what day of the week it is, but U do have the ability to make choices that matter in regards to your well-being.
How We Feel
The practice of developing wellness in your life shows U that U do have the ability to choose how U feel. U can consciously influence your emotions and yourself. U can use mental training strategies like self-hypnosis and meditation to encourage certain states and feelings within your mind.
U can choose how to react to a certain situation or to a certain person. U can control your emotions so U don’t fall into negative, degenerative, or destructive thought processes. U can even use the power of choice to heal.
Healing from Within
The power of choice is very similar to the power of intention. When U hold an intention in your mind, U are attracting the result of that intention into your life. When U make a choice, U are attracting the result of that choice into your life. Therefore, if U learn to be very aware of the choices U are making for yourself, U will become more aware of where your choices are leading U. U can learn to remove destructive and negative influences from your life once U become aware of the choices U are making.
When U remove negativity and destructiveness from your life, U will begin to feel an all-pervading sense of wellness within your daily way of life. When U learn to promote this feeling on a regular basis, the natural result is healing of your spirit.
Healing the Spirit is Healing Both Body & Mind
Spirit is the awareness of the entire cosmos and the understanding that everything is connected to everything and, indeed, everything is one. Obviously, that includes U, and me, and everyone else. Therefore, when the Spirit is encouraged to heal, meaning, when healing is promoted within yourself and without yourself, U will begin to experience healing on all levels.
But What Does Healing Mean?
Healing, or more specifically, spiritual healing does not actually have anything to do with physical health. I know this may shock some of U, who are reading this, but it doesn’t. It is actually pretty obvious why not when U are able to see the big picture.
For example, a person with a terminal illness can still have a very powerful and aware spirit. A person who is incredibly fit and healthy physically can be completely negative in their mindset and still practice many destructive forms of behavior. Spiritual awakening occurs to many people who are on their ‘death-bed’ so what am I talking about when I use the term ‘healing’?
Healing, In Reality
Becoming completely aware of who U are; knowing, in reality, everything is okay and understanding your position and function in life, that is real healing.
On the other hand, there is suffering. Being lost in life, being confused about what is real and what is not, being angry and traumatized by past experiences, holding onto judgements and opinions about people, things or places which leads to a feeling of separateness, these things all fall into the realm of suffering.
True healing can only occur when all of these things are overcome, when suffering is brought to an end inside your heart. In reality, true healing and true spiritual wellness can only occur when the source of your suffering has been extinguished.
U have the ability to choose whether or not U suffer. By choosing not to suffer U are encouraging healing within your spirit. When healing is encouraged within your spirit, this has the natural effect of developing inner peace within your heart.
To truly heal, to remove all of the anguish, all of the confusion, all of the aggression, all of the conflict, U have to make positive choices. U must choose not to suffer, not to feed your problems, but instead, take away the source of their inspiration.
Only U can do that for yourself.
If U choose not to promote suffering in your life, this will have the effect of promoting greater quality of life and greater health. Even if your physical health is bad, as will be the case with most of us as we age and grow older, U can still have a mindset that doesn’t experience this as suffering, but simply sees that it is a part of the natural way of things.
For those of U who have health problems in your younger years, make the choice to stop doing anything negative or destructive to your spirit. By doing so, U can encourage greater physical health as well and mental and spiritual health.
Healing begins with your mindset and the choices U are making for yourself. What will you choose?
You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change. – Tim Cook
The idea that everything is purposeful really changes the way you live. To think that everything that you do has a ripple effect, that every word that you speak, every action that you make affects you, other people and the planet. – Victoria Moran
To become more conscious is the greatest gift anyone can give to the world; moreover, in a ripple effect, the gift comes back to its source. – David Hawkins
Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix, but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. And that’s a lot. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect. – Rob Reiner
We need to take action to develop compassion, to create inner peace within ourselves and to share that inner peace with our family and friends. Peace and warm-heartedness can then spread through the community just as ripples radiate out across the water when you drop a pebble into a pond – Dalai Lama
Acceptance is the acknowledgment of yourself as U really are at the moment, with no illusions or self-deception.
Likewise, acceptance expands outward by acknowledging situations, other people, your whole world and overarching reality as it is, not as U would rather it be.
To invite acceptance is to face facts. No one can truly reinvent themselves without practicing the art of acceptance, because acceptance is a form of deep honesty and reinvention requires honesty.
The art of acceptance is also the art of living without preconditions or unrealistic expectations. Having expectations isn’t a bad thing, except when U try to treat your own expectations as facts. It’s easy to get caught up in a false world that’s governed by your expectations.
Your irrational expectations prevent acceptance in many cases. U have expectations yourself, other people, the world, the way life should go.
Consider how disappointing the following expectations are:
• Life should be fair.
• People should always treat me well.
• I need to be great at everything I do.
• People must like me.
• I must please other people all the time.
These are all irrational expectations that create misery and frustration. U will remain afflicted with disappointment because U are living in a state of conditionality, not acceptance. Acceptance may look a bit grim, but it’s far from it. Indeed, irrational expectations prevent acceptance in many cases.
• Life isn’t fair.
• People don’t always treat me well.
• I’m not great at everything.
• Some people don’t like me.
• I don’t please others all the time.
Accepting these as the rock-solid facts they are is liberating. Acceptance frees U from disappointment. It blows the doors to your own personal development wide open. Personal reinvention leads to fantastic developments only when U are willing to shed your illusions, preconceptions, and expectations.
What acceptance isn’t
If acceptance is an acknowledgment of facts, what is it not? Acceptance is not:
• Settling for less
• An excuse for negativity
Acceptance doesn’t mean U pretend to like a situation or that something doesn’t hurt or disturb. Instead, when U accept a situation as distressing, U own your feelings. The tendency is to shy away from things that are unpleasant, and many times in life you will face unpleasantries. Sometimes it’s not so much the hard truth that disturbs U as it is your thoughts and feelings about the truth.
It is a natural tendency to want to make things congruent and harmonious with your beliefs. Often, when faced with a fact that doesn’t fit in with worldviews, U will distort it to fit your own views, or U will ignore it altogether. That’s a false belief, but it’s the nature of the human psyche to keep U insulated from pain.
Often, that insulation gets applied before U make a rational analysis of a threat—or a change. Often U will feel threatened, and U will attempt to remove yourself from the danger, even if it means U haven’t accepted the reality of a situation.
Coping with reality always works better for reinvention than avoiding reality. Accepting reality never lets U down and always helps build U up. Given that reinvention is all about change U have to have a solid basis for correctly and realistically gauging what to change and how to go about it.
Acceptance is essential for inner peace, and it’s also essential for making life changes. As U begin to make changes, you’ll be able to discover how to carry out your personal transformation.
Acceptance of yourself isn’t the end of things. Acceptance is the beginning of reinvention, a re-awakening of your self.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it. ― Anthony J. D’Angelo
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
― Maya Angelou
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster
How would you describe your life thus far? Is it everything U have wished it would be? Do U believe your path has been within your control? Or has life’s natural energy and forces carved a path for U which U never intended to follow?
The reality is the life and path U follow are what have been designed for U. Life’s illusion is your belief that U have the ability and the knowledge to forge your own way. U may even feel the need to follow the path others have chosen for U. The reality is If U continue to fight and attempt to control where your life leads and resist outcomes, U are in for a battle. Unfortunately, with battles come battle scars. Resistance and struggle leads to additional resistance and struggle; not wellness, satisfaction and happiness.
Should U choose to approach life without any preconceived notions or expectations, U will calm the negative emotions and devastating physical outcomes that occur when life becomes a battle. When it’s a battle you choose, it becomes very difficult to avoid failure, loss, physical issues and life-long illnesses. The battle scars U may experience include anger and frustration, a defeatist attitude, low self-esteem, regret, sadness, depression, etc. When battling life, U will never open yourself up to the myriad of possibilities because your focus is on challenging your current path rather than realizing another path could be one of least resistance and personal fulfillment.
A wise teacher recently helped me accept how my life has been thus far. I have learned life is a series of lessons and every experience U have been given thus far is a gift to help U move along the path that has been chosen for U. You see, life JUST IS.
Dealing with chronic pain and other health issues hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses and has led to many changes in my life’s direction. The path carved out for me wasn’t the one I intended to follow. I have fought accepting my circumstances because my illusion was to continue to desire what I thought I couldn’t have.
My teacher likened my life’s approach to a bird injured and weighed down with pain standing on a cliff wildly flapping its wings attempting to get off the ground and soar. Despite symptoms of exhaustion, pain and a rising sense of defeat, a bird will continue its attempts to fly. If the bird continues to fight rather than resting and healing itself, the bird may eventually succumb to its pain and die.
Just like the bird, my goals were alluding me despite my best efforts. Wanting to soar, I did everything in my power and pushed myself beyond my capabilities to rise up. My goals and ambitions were admirable. Yet, my approach was less than stellar. I struggled, fought, flapped, flapped some more and finally wore myself out. I was on the brink of falling off the cliff because all I could see was the need to return to the path that I thought awaited me. I never looked to the sky and realize I could rise above my circumstances. I failed again and again to take flight because all I saw was a singular answer to my problem – “work harder and U will succeed”. I didn’t understand I was simply causing additional tension, strain and exhaustion with my approach which often resulted in the need to recoup for days before I was able to fully recover and attempt to get moving once again..
With my approach, I never noticed the winds which had been blowing in my direction all along. Deafened by my flapping wings and blinded by my all-encompassing effort to get back on track, I never heard or felt the wind on my face. I now realize, I simply needed to lean forward, spread my wings and wait for the air currents to sweep me up above the cliffs allowing me to move with ease along my path. There was never a need to flap my wings widely to get off the ground and follow my path; that was the illusion.
The reality is life will sweep U up and take U on a journey like no other. There are gifts that await U. Gifts U may have thought were long gone; never to be achieved. Follow the wind my friends and see where life leads, there is so much to experience if U embrace the path U have been given no matter its hardships. For in difficulties lies experience and growth. U can’t control how far U will go or where U will land but, if U spread your wings, U will SOAR. Take pride in how far you have come thus far. Do not beat yourself with statements such as “I should have…”, “if only I would have…”. There is no guilt in doing what you did. It was what you knew. With each new challenge along your life’s path – ACCEPT, EXPLORE AND SOAR.
“It’s the ‘everyday’ experiences we encounter along the journey to who we wanna be that will define who we are when we get there.” – Aaron Lauritsen
“Some days… I walk.
Some days… I run.
And on the odd day… I fly.
And when I have a really special day…I soar!”
– Anthony T.Hincks
About forty percent of all Americans will vow to change one thing or another about themselves this New Year. Often these goals and resolutions are never met. In fact, sixty percent of all individuals will have completely forgotten about the resolutions they have made within six months.
New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories:
• Weight loss
• Personal development
• Health and diet
• Stress management
• Focusing on personal relationships
Carrying out your resolutions and goals can be accomplished. Read on to find out how.
1. Define your Motivation
There are 2 types of motivation:
• Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, U prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself. The motivation for follow through comes from within and U are comfortable and motivated to accomplish your goal without the assistance of anyone but yourself. Just doing and participating is reward enough.
• Extrinsic – you’re motivated by actions outside your personal scope. The reward system is external. Accomplishing the goal may be more difficult without having someone by your side you help motivate U. U may also find U are in need of an external motivator such as a reward when you achieve your goal.
Once U figure out your motivation type, then all U have to do is put yourself in situations that make U more comfortable and excited to accomplish your goals.
2. Actions speak louder than results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. However, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that are sometimes trickier. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals to make them more manageable.
Finally, each time you achieve a step towards your goal, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide U as you push towards your goal and commit to your responsibilities.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your goal setting and steps towards reaching your golas are S.M.A.R.T.:
• Specific – having a specific end result prevents you from making excuses.
• Measurable – evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost.
• Achievable – U can set daily goals as a building block to bigger goals.
• Relevant – if it’s not relevant, why bother?
• Time-bound – goals need to have a defined end date.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a 5-day workout week, go for twenty minutes each day then increase gradually.
You’ll find, as with all goals, as soon as U start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more. However, it’s crucial that U stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small, as U move towards reaching your resolution.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. Make a list, prioritize them, and go from there. Once U feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts, helping U reach your target faster.
4. Think things through
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals. However, let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if U get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or U can workout at home, as you catch up on your favorite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip obstacles in the bud before they becomes stronger than your willpower so that U can surmount any roadblock that comes between U and your goal.
5. Be accountable for your actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when U have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
- You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group to insure commitment and follow through towards meeting your goals. By enlisting the help of someone else, you are not only accountable to yourself but to another person.
- Hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so U can keep tabs how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution may seem difficult to accomplish. However, applying these 5 steps, U will be more apt to stick to your goals. Once U accomplish your first resolution, you’ll be more apt to continue to set new goals for yourself and move towards balance and fulfillment.
“You are not creating a new you; you are releasing a hidden you. The process is one of self-discovery. The hidden you that wants to emerge is in perfect balance.” -Deepak Chopra, MD.
“If you are not where you want to be, do not quit, instead reinvent yourself and change your habits.” – Eric Thomas