I have a question for you. Are you happy? Now ... are you joyful? Do you think there is a difference between the two?
It has occurred to me lately that there is a tremendous difference between happiness and joy ... and the pursuit of one is not the same as the pursuit of the other. In reality, while we all believe we are pursuing happiness, we are really chasing joy - but joy is much harder to achieve. However, once we find joy, it is far less fleeting and temporary than happiness.
Think about the last luxury or extravagent purchase you made. Or the last time your business had an amazingly profitable year. That likely made you feel happy and warm and fuzzy for awhile right? But after some time passed, perhaps an hour or a week, that happiness over the object or success began to fade. Soon, there may have even been a new object you longed for you just knew would make you happy, or a new level you were reaching for with your restoration company. The truth is, we can and will always want more. It's human nature. It's survival of the fittest. But it also makes it easier to lose sight of where true joy is found.
Now, for those of you with children - think about how they make you feel. That emotion is far different from happiness, right? They give you joy! Every single day! Maybe not every moment of every day (haha), but my guess is they bring you a whole lot of joy, and they bring it often. It is not fleeting. It only grows with them as they age.
I realize with some of this, I'm preaching to the choir. Trying to find happiness in material things, money, a good company, a successful career, etc. just won't pan out as time passes. I was speaking with someone recently who felt like they have all they've ever wanted - a dream career, a big truck, a nice home, and a great family - but, now that he has all those things, something is still missing. I'm not going to get religious on you here, but I am going to challenge you to take a good look at your life, the objects of your affection, even your goals - and if you feel in your day-to-day life that you are joyful or happy.
Here is the truth: happiness is external. Joy is internal. If you are chasing happiness, you are likely looking for it in outside things, and not within yourself. You hope that your spouse or your successful business and big paycheck will make you happy. But when those things don't bring you happiness, or they fall through, then what? You lose your happiness - and if you don't have deep-rooted joy within yourself, life feels more bleak than ever.
This is why joy is important! Joy comes with making peace with yourself, with realizing that success goes far beyond possessions, money and success. Joy comes from doing for others, not for yourself. It comes from selflessness while, in the process, finding self-worth.
Chase joy. Don't chase happiness.