ARTICLE: The Game Of Joy

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“Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.” – Mother Teresa

joyThere are two things that have always astounded me about us Human Beings. The first is just how complex we can be with our thinking and behaviour. The second is that, despite all our complexities, what drives us at a fundamental level is remarkably simple: The desire to be happy.

Extensive research from the field of Positive Psychology has produced evidence for what many great thinkers have known for some time; that the happiest people are those who live in accordance with their highest values and have a sense of purpose and meaning in their life.

If we were to go a bit deeper and ask the question, “How do you know when you are living a meaningful life?” The answer for most people is likely to be a derivative of “When I get a feeling that I am contributing towards something worthy, good and right.”

However, if we were to continue our line of questioning with “…And what’s important about that? … And what’s important about that?”, there is a better than average chance that the final answer will be something along the lines of “Because it makes me happy.”

So, it could be argued that, when all is said and done (and however you choose to get there) the ultimate purpose of life is to experience authentic joy (I also like to refer to this as ‘love in action’).

It’s a romantic thought I know, but I often wonder, if everyone’s purpose is to experience deep joy, what would happen to the World if everyone on it were to successfully live their purpose? (Perhaps we should leave that to an ex-Beatle to right a song about!)

The interesting thing about joy, though, is that we don’t have to wait until we’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize before we experience it. We just need regular reminders to express ourselves in ways that connect us with that joyful place within us. That may be through engaging in fun and inspiring activities, making a positive difference to another person, or simply choosing to mentally and physically put yourself into a happy and joyful state (see my article “How Do You DO Happiness?”)

A lot of people think they cannot access their true joy because they have yet to discover their life’s purpose. The irony is that people do not find their life’s purpose until they have experienced their joy. It would appear that you need to have come alive before you can have a real effect on the World. It would make sense, then, that you’re far more likely to discover your path of purpose and meaning whilst you are busy having fun than when you are miserable and struggling to find answers.

So, I’ve created a game which I’m calling ‘The Game of Joy’. Woo Hoo!!

Objective:
To score maximum points by experiencing as much joy as you can within a 7 day period.

Rules:
1. Must be completed during a ‘normal week’ (going on holiday to a tropical paradise is cheating!)

2. You can introduce as many creative ways as you like to enhance your daily tasks so that they are more fun to perform. E.g. singing at the top of your voice while doing the washing up; completing that report over a cappuccino in a cafe rather than at your desk; getting someone to tell you a joke every 10 minutes; putting up photos of happy events and / or loved ones where you can always see them…

3. You can also include as many extra events into the weekly schedule as you like. E.g. going on a date with your spouse, booking a spa treatment, going to a comedy club, taking up a new hobby, getting involved in a community project, etc.

4. Be completely honest with the scoring.

Scoring:
At the end of every morning, afternoon and evening rate the level of joy you have experienced out of 10 (0 = would rather forget it, 10 = So much joy you need a tranquiliser). So that’s a maximum of 30 points per day. At the end of the 7 days, tot up your total score out of 210:

181 – 210= Living the dream (please share your secret!!)


131 – 180 = Keep it up and enjoy the party


81 – 130 = Doing OK but you might want to question whether you’re on the right track. What would need to happen to put a bigger smile on your face?


Less than 80 = Probably best to take a holiday, evaluate what’s really important to you and plan for a change in direction.


BONUS TIP 1: When you’ve completed the game, play it again for another 7 days and beat your score ;o)

BONUS TIP 2: Review all of the activities that brought you the greatest amount of joy. Write down what it was about those times / events that made them special. What do they all have in common? There’s a good chance your answers will provide inspiration and clues for finding a worthy life purpose.


Take great care. Namaste. 

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