Joy Means “Grinning Inside”

[ I=Integrity | Index | K=Kindness ]

Series: The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Jovial: full of joy and happiness; merry”http://www.Dictionary.com

“Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.” — Melba Colgrove

Based on public image, whom would you rather hang out with, Woody Allen or Steve Allen? (Forget for a minute that Steve Allen is dead.) Both made a lot of money, achieved significant fame and are known for the funny things they said. Whom would you choose? (It’s okay to make a quick trip to Wikipedia before answering.)

“My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” — Woody Allen

“Asthma doesn’t seem to bother me any more unless I’m around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar.” — Steve Allen

If you like being with people who are jovial over people who are sour, then based on public personae, you would have to choose Steve Allen. The alternative, Woody Allen, is the poster child for the sad, lonely and pathetic human being.

In reflecting how joviality is linked to professionalism it becomes apparent that the journey of becoming a professional produces joviality. Joy is the fruit of a positive attitude, good character and other aspects of professionalism. In other words, joy is a personal choice.

“Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy?  The  answer — you do!” — Norman Vincent Peale, “The Power of Positive Thinking”

This raises the question, “Can someone who is unprofessional be jovial?” Sure. Joy is not a black and white condition. Joy occurs in shades of gray, reflecting the personal satisfaction someone feels in response to the amount of professionalism he has achieved. If it were possible to measure joy, psychologists might establish a joviality index with theories about how it rises and falls relative to changes in attitude. We would probably learn that the more professional a person is, the less volatile his hypothetical joviality index.

“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue… as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.” — Viktor Frankl, “Man’s Search For Meaning”

The greatest most enduring joy comes from knowing one’s life purpose and living accordingly. To me, purpose is a God thing. So is joy. God intends each of us to have joy and the path to joy begins by discovering His purpose for us. Joy is our reward.

“Someone once said there are two great days in life — the day you were born and the day you discover why.” — John C. Maxwell, “Success” August/September 2008

“In the world to come, I shall not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I shall be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?'” — Rabbi Zusya

“Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.” — Viktor Frankl

Now if God intends for us to be joyful and purpose is a precondition of joy, it follows that He must have installed in each of us the ability to discover and the capacity to achieve our intended purpose. In other words, potential accompanies purpose. Therefore, if ‘X’ is your purpose, by definition you have the capacity to fulfill it. More importantly, with potential being granted by God, you have the responsibility to put your gifts to use.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

— Bible, Matthew 25:14-30

Remembering that joy is an effect, not a cause, it follows that pretending to be jovial and pursuing joy for its own sake are both ill-conceived strategies. That’s not to say that we have no control in the matter. As long as we focus on the causes rather than the effect, there is much we can do. It’s the little things we do everyday that produce fertile soil capable of sowing and sustaining joviality. We choose our friends, television shows and movies, books and music as well as the places we go and ways we spend our time and money. Collectively, these seemingly trivial choices affect our professionalism level leading to changes in our joviality index.

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.” — Norman Vincent Peale

“Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music” — Martin Luther

“The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” — Eudora Welty

In pondering life’s choices, it’s critically important to differentiate between pleasure and joy — they are not the same. “Looking for joy in all the wrong places” is a character flaw and contrary to the definition of professionalism.

“Joy comes from using your potential.” — Will Schultz

“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” — C.S. Lewis

“One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” — Robert A. Heinlein

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” — Bible, James 1:2-3

“Joy is not in things; it is in us” — Richard Wagner

“A joy shared is a joy doubled” –- Unknown

“I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.” — John D. Rockefeller

Professionalism is defined internally by our attitudes and externally by our actions. To the extent that they move in a positive direction joy tends to increase and the joviality index become less volatile. What hasn’t been mentioned, but is probably intuitive is that this is neither quick nor easy.  Achieving professionalism is a lifelong, challenging endeavor.

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.” — Kahlil Gibran

God bless,

— CC

[ I=Integrity | Index | K=Kindness ]

© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

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