Joy in All Circumstances
A friend of mine recently reached out to share some encouragement and at the end of his message he wrote, “Remember, peace of mind is a discipline.”
I felt that sentence deep in my soul because yes, it can be easy to forget that peace of mind comes not solely from outward influences, but from an inner commitment. It is a daily practice of choices (and gratitude) that drives a positive mindset and a sense of calm, no matter the circumstances.
Let’s face it, life will continue to be full of new challenges! There is no doubt about that. And as entrepreneurs, we continue to face challenges that haven’t been faced before. Every day we are forging new paths forward, paving the way for those who will follow our legacy. If we lose our sense of discipline—of the choices we have—we won’t live into our fullest, God-given potential.
JOY, then, comes from choosing to stoke the embers of what we love in our work and in life. We can DECIDE at any time to live in joy by paying attention to what is still right and good in the world.
I know you might first think that sounds naïve, but hear me out: Living in joy means you’ve built a HABIT of finding the beauty in each and every day, whether the day itself is light or dark or the gray in between. It doesn’t mean you live with your head in the clouds, but it does mean that you choose to raise your chin for a broader, better view.
For me, this looks like a balance of understanding the world’s news AND staying tuned in to the things I can actually control. It looks like being involved in tough business conversations and decisions while ALSO appreciating the everyday miracle of doing work I’m passionate about. Sometimes, it’s staring fear in the face and saying, “I see you, but I won’t BE you.”
If you lean into joy, you experience more of it. It’s the “Tetris effect,” a term coined by psychologists who conducted a study using the legendary game of fitting tiles together. After the study’s participants spent hours and hours playing Tetris, it’s all they could see: They saw it in sidewalks and cars and office buildings; their gaming experience patterned everything. The same thing happens to all of us with any given thought-pattern—our minds stay connected there long after the initial thinking takes place.
It’s this concept that continues to shape the way we walk through life. If you choose to ruminate on constant 24-hour news, your worldview veers toward alarm and fear. If you choose to focus on your service and contribution to the betterment of young lives, your big picture lines up with perseverance, satisfaction, joy and yes, peace of mind. I think it’s necessary to be informed, but the impact of that information must be complementary to the rest of my life—not at the center of it.
As you continue to face the challenges of business and personal life, I hope you’ll remember this: Joy is yours to keep; yours to nurture. It can be shared but it cannot be stolen. You can choose to experience it whenever you want. Tap into it often and ALLOW it to color your day. And if you’re reading this thinking, “But how can I do this?” then I recommend writing down all the things in your life that bring you joy—family, friends, faith, dance, travel, food, sleep, books, activity… anything! Let this list remind you of the big and small pieces of life that bring a smile to your face and fill your heart. If you know them and name them, you’ll see them in more places—and seek them out more often.
My friend’s email, the one I mentioned earlier, closed with an excerpt of Paul’s letter of gratitude to the Philippians. Paul wrote, “Finally, friends, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such a thing.”
That is my wish for you, friends. I hope you will lean into the good and the joyful. I hope you will make it a habit, so that your peace of mind grows. And no matter what happens each day, I hope you can find that peace, cherish it, and infuse it into your relationships. We are all better for it. <3