Two things that might help you find more joy today

I remember listening to Brendon Burchard speak at a conference in the USA a couple of years back.

I was familiar with Burchard from a few YouTube or Facebook videos, and I confess that I wasn’t sure about him. I thought he might be just another one in a long line of self-development online practitioners — and surely they couldn’t all be everything they said they were?

Hearing him speak, my mind was won over. It wasn’t just the information he was bringing — which was based on extensive study and research, and had so much that felt new or different, certainly different to the general mindset and performance platitudes you might see from ten different Twitter accounts or a hundred different Instagram profiles every day.

It was also the vibe he brought. He had an in-person and stage presence that was just … special.

One of the things he encouraged everyone to do was to “bring the joy”. He talked about a “doorframe mantra”: using doors as a trigger to bring joy, so that whenever he entered a room he was able to automatically remind himself that he was responsible for the energy he brought to that room, and that if we don’t consciously bring good energy, we are probably unconsciously bringing negative energy.

When he entered a room, he wanted to “bring the joy”.

It is three years to the day since that conference, the Summit of Greatness Conference, in Columbus, Ohio, and Burchard’s talk has stuck with me a lot these past three years.

But joy? It’s one thing to bring it … but we can only bring it if we have it, right?

How do we get it in the first place?

This is something I’ve been thinking about this week, as I realised that my default emotional response when anything goes well is not joy, but relief.

I love joy. Who doesn’t?

So I started thinking, and I decided that two things were required to have any chance of finding joy in any given day.

  1. Intention: We have to intend to embrace joy whenever we might see it. If we don’t, we are walking through life with a passive relationship with joy. Maybe it will come, maybe it won’t. I’ve found that when I’m passive about it, most often it doesn’t come.
  2. Attention: Once we have a clear intention to bring joy, then we need to open our attention to seeing moments that might bring joy. Awareness in the moment is the basis of all good experiences, I think, and it’s why times of supercharged energy — the birth of a baby, a rollercoaster ride — give us such a rush: they demand our attention right then and there.

Thursday nights are club social tennis nights.

A good rally in tennis, moving forward, back, sideways, trying to reach a shot or time a winner, often gives me great joy.

So last night I showed up with both intention and attention tuned for joy.

It was a joyful night.

But the most joyful moment was not a well-executed volley or a perfect serve.

The most joyful moment was a small bright yellow butterfly that fluttered across the court, shining in the floodlights. It came to rest next to my foot for a second, then was up and away again, flying past me and away into the night, bringing its vibrant colour and energy with it.

Watching it move, just for a few seconds between points, was pure joy.

PS. I’ve attended The Summit of Greatness in person twice, and both events were among the most special experiences of my life. Not just for the vibe that host Lewis Howes brings, but for the people it attracted. I’m still in touch with about 20 people I met in Columbus in 2017 and 2018, and many of them are now some of my best friends. This year’s Summit of Greatness is a free online event. You can find out more about it and sign up here.