Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Never Wait For Joy! by Philip E. Humbert, Ph.D

Have you ever wondered why so many of us have so little joy in our lives?

As I write this, my dog Cody, is scratching and playing in my front yard. He's twisting and turning and rolling over, and occasionally he jumps straight up in the air, as if he's pouncing on an imaginary mouse. And all the while, he keeps an eye on me, trying to entice me to join the fun. (Sorry, Cody, but someone has to pay for your kibble!)

You may not care how my dog entertains himself, but perhaps you should. In some ways, dogs are smarter than humans, just like children are smarter than adults.

Recently, I watched some neighbor kids, Daniel and Claire (age 3), playing in their yard. Suddenly, a flock of turkeys came out of the woods, perhaps 20 yards away. I'm not sure if the kids or the birds were more surprised, but the kids were ecstatic! They squealed, then cautioned each other with loud shushes to be quiet. "You'll scare them away." "No, YOU'LL scare them away!" They pointed and laughed and delighted in the moment.

Children know about wonder and joy. Last week, I got to do some work I really enjoyed up in Portland, and Mary went with me. After the work was done, we stayed a couple extra days to see the sites and enjoy each other. This week, I told my Mastermind group about the trip and an interesting thing happened. The four adults in the group paused to remind me to "take time to savor that". We actually took it as a task to be sure I didn't overlook the joy of those days.

Adults have to remind themselves to slow down and enjoy happiness. Wow!

I've been told the Buddha said that, "all of life is suffering". Now, I think the Buddha was a very smart man, and I'm sure he had something profound in mind, but on this particular point, I hope he was mistaken. Some of life should be fun!

As I talk with friends and clients, I get the impression that for most people, life is pretty stressful. The famous psychiatrist, Carl Jung, observed that "this is the age of anxiety". I remember Ram Das becoming famous for encouraging people to "be here now", because most of the time, most people are in a hurry to be someplace else.

Don't do that to yourself!

Of course we live in stressful times. Yes, we are bombarded with e-mail and electronic noise, from our iPods to television to talk radio. Sure, we are told we must "do more with less". You can be as busy as you'd like.

But these are also times of incredible opportunity and freedom. We can sit and read any time we wish. We can go for a walk, hold hands with a lover, or play with our children more than any people in history!

During the Great Depression, my grandfather worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, for a dollar an hour. He worked dawn to dark to feed his family, and he was proud to do it. Over a billion (think of that, a BILLION!) people still live that way.

Of course working hard to accomplish important goals is a good thing! Of course the desire to provide more for your family is a good thing! I coach people to earn and accomplish more every week. No one question that! But, we must also remember that success is the journey, not the destination.

How many shoes do you have in your closet? How often so you wear them? How many cars in the garage? How often do you drive in all of them? How much stuff do you have in storage? How often do you really need to use them? How much food do you throw out every week? Ahh...we are truly rich beyond measure.

Therefore remember to have fun. We can afford that. Take time to "smell the roses". This week, make a list of things you do for the sheer joy of it. If it's cleaning the garage, so be it. (I love the phrase, "different strokes for different folks".) If it's taking your spouse out for lunch, do so. If you need a walk on a beach or a "mental health day" from work, take it! When was the last time you went to a movie in the afternoon? Or, how about dancing or taking a bubble-bath? Whatever enriches your life, schedule it. Never wait to live well!

Be kind to yourself and to someone else, and have a wonder-FULL week!

Visit Dr. Humbert's website for over 250 pages of articles, Top 10 lists, humor, quotes, tips and tools for your success! There's a free book on making (and keeping!) more money, and a FREE motivational newsletter. Check it out at his website!

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