Written by Jenny Blake It's so easy to fall into the trap of pinning our happiness to the piñata of far-off big wins. THE job, THE monthly income target, THE ONE.
Attaching to these big happiness hypotheses as the route to joy is a bit like buying a lottery ticket every day. Oftentimes even when we get what we want, we are surprised by how it actually feels.
And eventually, often shocking quickly, we return to that pining state for The Next Big Thing. The Buddhists call this Samsara—the cycle of death and rebirth that befalls attaching to things in the material world.
Every new experience comes with its own joys and its own challenges.
Some experiences (like break-ups) feel like all challenge, no joy. But there is deep joy and heart-opening to be found in the cracks of sadness. And sometimes the best surprises in life are ones you couldn't have predicted or invented in your wildest dreams.
Like any motivated, future-oriented planner, it's so easy for me to pine for the "big" things I don't yet have.
But when I really slow down and look at my life, it's the small quiet moments that bring me the most joy.
It's fresh air, talking with my family, taking a great yoga class, walking outside through the streets of New York, sitting at the park with friends, watching dogs amble down the street, and working on companies and ideas I am passionate about.
I was talking with friends last night about the even smaller life minutiae like doing dishes and making the bed. I see these tasks as a sign of respect to my future self: "Hi Future Self! You're going to head to the sink tomorrow morning to make your tea. I'll leave it clean for you." Even if only by 1%, I'm a teeny bit happier in the midst of my morning fog when I don't have to clean up yesterday's mess. Clean sink, clean mind.
Introducing the Lucent Meditation App
One project I'm thrilled to be working on (with an incredible team) is a new app for people who describe themselves as "meditation curious" — you've heard about the many benefits of meditation, but aren't quite sure how to start.
Starting a meditation practice last year (after YEARS of resisting it) is one of the things that has made the biggest impact on my overall sense of equanimity, joy and self-awareness. Even just five minutes helps me feel like I'm recharging the battery of my brain back up to 100%.
Lucent facilitates a short 5-minute morning ritual that emphasizes emotional analytics and strategic action. We're going to be launching a beta version soon and would love for you to be part of our 4-day meditation challenge pilot!
I'd love to hear from you in the comments:
What are the smallest moments that bring you the most joy?
Jenny Blake is the bestselling author of Life After College, a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business.