Joy and Happiness

Day 234 Week 34 Q3 Wednesday, August 23, 2023

I suppose, one way of looking at Joy is that it is an Uber version of happiness. But upon closer examination, I think they are actually different. I think that happiness is relativistic, and that joy is transcendent. What I mean by this is that Joy transcends the day-to-day, ordinary activities, and is a nonlinear step beyond what people take happiness to mean.

And what does this have to do with creative outliers? I believe that creative outliers become happy when they are creating. They are also not very happy when they are prevented from being creative. But Joy is on another level than that. Joy is more akin to flow where the passage of time is barely noticed if at all.

I can be happy at the prospect of creating and expressing myself. But the real nonlinear payoff and return on investment is during the times that this creating an expression is not only occurring but occurring at a high enough level to transcend everyday-ness.

We don’t live just to be happy or sad. We live to experience joy. And for those unfortunate souls who never experienced joy, I feel truly sad.

But Joy is not an automatic outcome for a creative outlier. Steps need to be taken. Plants need to be made. Overall process flow needs to be designed, iterated and evolved. I think the majority of us know what we need to do in order to get to where we want to get it. Yes, it is true that some things are beyond our control, in fact, many things. But our behavior is well within our locus of control.  In fact, it may be one of the only things that we can completely control.

So why not set up a joy trajectory, where the actions we take, and behaviors, we habituate, lead in the direction where we are likely to be able to experience joy? In general, this requires some delayed gratification, prioritization and contextualization. In fact, I can be happy just contemplating, this trajectory because anticipation creates happiness too.  I suppose we might think that anticipation can bring joy as well, but I do not think so. I think Joy is very much a present-moment type of experience. It is not something that you see in your rearview mirror, or that you anticipate what is occurring all that exists is the present moment.

Joy may only be able to be experienced in the present moment, which is a pretty good reason to try to get into the present moment. It is also true, that being completely in the present moment, which, for a creative outlier, is most likely to occur, when they are in a state of flow. I

Can you be in flow and not experience joy? I don’t know, can you? For me the majority of joy in my life is experienced when I am in the present moment, and the majority of the time that I am in the present moment is when I am in flow.

Maybe we need to expand the title to joy, happiness and flow?