Success and joy – can we have both?
On 17th of September this year, 76th generation of NLP Practitioners started with education in our NLP Centar. After 14 years and 76 generations there are not so many new things for us as organizer. From content, delivery and organizational point of view, things are already well standardized. Typical participant of this training is a person in late thirties, usually employed in international company as an expert or a team leader. There are always people who don’t perfectly fit in this social group, but this September we got one really unusual participant. Slavko Laloš, 73 years old grandpa in perfect mental and physical shape came to learn about goal setting, communication and personal change. Slavko immediately took our attention not just because of his age, but because of his unique attitude towards life, amazing physical abilities and the lightness he brought to the group.
“No matter how old are you, it is not normal to be sick, it is normal to be healthy.” Slavko Laloš
Beside Slavko and president of Erickson Coaching International Marilyn Atkinson, I don’t know many other people who are, in their seventies healthy, joyful and open for learning. Key human quality that they have is joy – quality I am not able to intentionally experience on daily basis, but I ready to learn how to do it 😉
Joy vs. Pleasure vs. Happiness
Although Merriam-Webster defines joy as the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires, Slavko is talking about internal state of joy that is not directly related to external elements. Closest to this is C. S. Lewis distinctions between joy, pleasure, and happiness:
“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy“, and “I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again… I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.“
If you just look around you can see that modern man is dominantly running for pleasure as, in most cases, he / she doesn’t know how to get in contact with joy.
Another interesting view on distinction between joy and happiness comes from Michela Summa:
“Joy accompanies the process through and through, whereas happiness seems to be more strictly tied to the moment of achievement of the process… joy is not only a direct emotional response to an event that is embedded in our life-concerns but is also tightly bound to the present moment, whereas happiness presupposes an evaluative stance concerning one period of one’s life or one’s own life as a whole.”
How to experience joy daily?
Every success in life is meaningless without joy. So what can we do to experience it more often? Here are 9 useful tips proposed by Chris Stefanick:
“When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Gautama Buddha
Coaching and Joy
Coaching is useful approach that can support people to get both desired results and live with joy. Projecting future helps to create a balance with past and to better experience present moment. Without future images we have a dis-balance in our (internal) experience. Our bank of memories becomes richer as life goes by. As we are getting older there is not too many things that we see in front of us. The older we get the more we talk about past, and at some point most of us start to live in past. No matter how positive past experiences were, focus on “good old times” usually brings tension in present moment.
Its not so common, but there are people who have complete focus on future. This approach brings tension as well. No matter what kind of results we get, full focus on future rarely gives peace… and when it does, it lasts for a short time.
Good balance between accepting the past and keeping the focus on future can help us to experience joy and peace in the present moment.
Present moment is all we have. Activities like mindfulness, prayer, meditation … can help to experience it fully and completely. But unless we make a healthy balance between inner experience of our past and projection of the future it will be difficult to experience peace and joy and progress in desired direction.
Whatever achievement strategy you choose, it is important and relevant to learn how to act from peace and joy and not to chaise for it.