Self Help


I am one of those people, I just don’t smile much. People tell me I don’t look happy. I personally think being happy is over rated.

There is a famous whitewater kayaker and Olympian named Eric Jackson. He says that things are rarely as good or as bad as they seem. To me that means that not getting too excited when something good happens or not getting too upset when things go wrong. That is pretty much my philosophy.

I mean, I really think that happiness is fleeting and can come and go based on circumstances. Everything in life is not fun. I’m sure that most of us would rather be walking on the beach or camping in the mountains or shopping for a new pair of shoes versus going to work.

I try not to let what is going on outside of me affect what is going on inside of me. I prefer peace or contentment to happiness any day of the week.

I recently listened to a sermon by Steven Furtick. He has big church down in Charlotte, NC. He talks a lot about the difference between joy and happiness. He says that ,“Joy is a focus before a feeling” and that “joy is a choice”.

To me having joy means having a goal or a dream and working toward it even though some of the process of getting there may not be fun or bring happiness in the moment. Let me give an example.

I am currently trying to learn West Coast Swing (WCS). Mind you I have over 11 years dancing salsa and over 15 years combined when you add in ballroom dancing. West Coast Swing is hard, complicated and there are a lot of moving parts. I have been taking private lessons when I can and have gone to a couple of events which are all weekend and include dancing and workshops.

At times, it is not fun. It is not fun feeling embarrassed at a workshop when everyone else around you is grasping what is being taught and you are not. It is not fun competing and realizing that you didn’t even make it into the top half. It isn’t fun paying for expensive hotel rooms or driving for three or four or five hours each way to get there and back. It isn’t fun not knowing anyone when you get there and trying to figure out the format of the event and the culture of West Coast Swing. That is why you need to have joy.

It took me many years to get good at Salsa. At one point I was dancing five days a week. That wasn’t fun either by the way but I now have great joy know I have achieved a high level of mastery. I can now dance with a pro or a beginner and adjust and have fun either way.

I am finding joy in learning West Coast Swing because it is a goal I have set before me and I know it will pay off if I don’t get discouraged and give up. I think that is true with most things in life that if we are willing to keep doing and never give up we will eventually achieve our goals. Quitting guarantees failure. Patient, perseverance a persistence guarantees success.

So the next time you me not smiling remember that I very well may have peace on the inside and joy as I work toward my goals.