How to Get Started in finding Happiness

Jonathan Chew
Apr 10, 2017 · 7 min read

So the story goes…

OKAY! Today’s the day. This is the day where all I’m going to do is think happy thoughts and change my life and everything’s going to be sunshine and rainbows after this.

Well… sorta

We all have this concept of a life-changing moment where we make a declaration of independence from the life of our past and step boldly forward into the vision of our future.

Except… life gets in the way… and old habits start stepping in… and before you know it, you’re right back where you started and all that determination and motivation gets sucked up… *poof*

Make a Promise to Yourself

That’s why, this time around, I’ve decided to start a “Joy Journey” where I’m going to do something every single day for the next 100 days: I’m going to find at least 1 thing in my day that bring me Joy and WRITE about it.

PLUS, I’m going to bring people along with me. A sort of declaration. This is the trick you see. Telling other people about the promises you want to keep to yourself. Humans are funny creatures and we have something built into us, some old software program we’re all installed with when we’re born, which some people call “Cognitive Biases” and one of these biases is called the “Consistency Bias” which basically means that when we tell another person our intentions, we have a tendency to want to carry it out lest we look silly and foolish.

(Perhaps back when we all lived in small village towns, this meant that if we lied, then we wouldn’t be trusted and thus eventually ex-communicated from the village and become nomads wandering the earth doomed to starve to death.)

But nowadays, when we make a declaration to the world, it’s more of an accountability method to hold us to a standard that we + our friends/family think we should hold ourselves responsible to in order to help us become better people.

I was listening to a Jim Rohn talk and this one passage inspired me:

“Purpose is stronger than object… Some of your goals should be personal development — the person you wish to become… It’s not what you get that makes you valuable. It’s what you become that makes you valuable. It’s the person you become… What kind of person must I be to attract all that I want in my life and the people that I want and the opportunities that I want. When you knock on the door and opportunity opens, you must stand there as a very attractive person or you may not be invited in.”

Most of the past few years I’ve been striving to ‘get’ something or ‘achieve’ something saying, “If I just get this, I’ll be happier…” or “If I just achieve this, I’ll feel better…” but I’ve forgotten in all the times that people have said to “stop and smell the roses” that it’s really the “JOURNEY that matters not the destination.”

So, I want to become a more joyful person and live a more joyful life. Right? Isn’t that what our founding fathers gave us the right to pursue when they said “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”? That’s what we all want right? That’s what we’re all striving for?

Be Kind to Yourself

Thus, instead of a DAY of fateful change, I think I’m going to make it a 100 days of slow but steady change and see what happens after that. This way the burden of failure isn’t so great if I flub up every now and then, and it helps me look at the larger picture where the larger purpose is the goal, not a single day. So if I take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, I’m still making progress in the right direction.

Thus I think self-compassion is key here, and one of the best ways to overcome a negative thought, or bad habit, or addiction is to stop punishing ourselves for failing but to reward ourselves for winning. We need to build in some things that when we do something that’s getting us towards our goal, then we need to do something that triggers the dopamine responses in our brains so that we KEEP on doing that thing, otherwise we’re just going to stop, drop, and stay like a rock where we are.

Resistance comes knocking too…

Unfortunately, when we make progress towards the person we wish to become, RESISTANCE becomes buddy-buddy with us and we suddenly get the urge NOT to do what we just set out to do. Again, going back to some basic programming we were brought on this earth with, where trying something new was too risky, it was better to just play it safe and do nothing lest we get attacked by a wild tiger when venturing out into the wilderness.

Luckily, we now live very safe lives within our concrete city walls. SO, we need to overcome these ancient biases that our brain has built in to keep us alive and use our newly formed pre-frontal cortexes to logically reason out that we can live far better lives, albeit, far more joyful lives, if we do what we know will help us become the best version of ourselves… to help us become the person we need to be… to make the world a better place for all of us.

One of the ways that brings me the most joy is the act of writing, but you wouldn’t believe the resistance that tackles me every afternoon when I make time to write. Somehow I find myself on Facebook, or surfing the internet for other books to read, or products to buy, it’s INSANE how resistance just creeps up on you and suddenly the 60 minutes you set out for yourself to do your joyful activity then becomes 15 minutes, then you just feel frustrated and a failure because you didn’t do what you wanted to do! UGH.

Grab a Partner

SO, I noticed that we have to be proactive in becoming the person we want to be, and to overcome this friend of ours called Resistance and put our foot down. In essence, in every moment, we have to CHOOSE to do something that brings us joy, we have to CHOOSE the perception & paradigm with which to view the situation.

Victor Frankl was famous for saying, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Thus we have the opportunity to CHOOSE the way we react to something or even the way we actively create something.

I grabbed my wife and convinced her to join me in this endeavor. And thus, we started a journey together of finding the world’s most thought-provoking ideas, ideas that you can “chew” on, and choosing to incorporate those ideas into our lives as mini-experiments, and because our last name happens to be CHEW… in the perfect trifecta of circumstances… we decided to start a little project called “ChewsJoy” filled with stories that we like writing, videos that we’re recording on the things we learn and travels around the world.

We recorded this video on the way to Costco because every moment is a chance for you to create something and to do something that makes you happy, so we decided to talk about what we think the difference is between Happiness vs Joy.

So we’ve been on a crazy journey of Choosing Joy. It’s only just begun and that’s why, if I want to stay committed to choosing joy, which is the longer term version of happiness, I’m choosing to go on a writing journey because writing (as I’ve recently discovered) bring me the MOST joy.

What’s stopping me? I always ask myself.

I don’t know!” I always answer, incredulously.

Getting Started (again)

So I’m beginning this journey on yet another platform that requires me to shout it out to the world and commit to it!

Thus, to get started, here are the things I did today:

  • I started a 30-day pack in the Headspace app that literally helps you focus your thoughts and become more mindful of how you think.
  • I downloaded the Medium app so I can start following people that inspire me and also write anytime inspiration strikes.
  • dminder is an app that reminds you when you should actually GO OUTSIDE and soak in the sun because (I just learned this), there is a difference in the type of sunrays you soak up and there are much more healthy ones and ones that just BURN you.
  • I listed to an audio book called The Zero Point by Joe Vitale to help me continue to change my mindset and paradigm through which I see the world.
  • I went out watched a delightful breathtaking beautiful story via a movie called Your Name which just came to America a couple days ago and was Japan’s 4th top grossing anime OF ALL TIME. It got a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes so you know it had to have something good about it!
  • I took an hour out to read 5 different books (~12 minutes each) of novels, short stories, and articles encompassing science fiction, time-travel and self-development which are two of my favorite subjects.
  • I took a couple hours to write this article (after much distractions and Facebook surfing), I won the battle between me and Resistance.
  • I’m probably going to go have a nice dinner with Mandy, my wife, somewhere. We noticed there were GREAT deals on the McDonald’s app today, so we’re super stoked to go have a Big Mac and some Chicken Nuggets. (McDonald’s has the BEST app out of all the fast foods btw, believe me, we’ve tried them all because we’re super cheapos).

SO, that’s it for now. My brain has become quite scatter-brained over the past few YEARS, so I’m using this Medium (ha, see what I did there?) to help organize some of my thoughts and get back into the habit of writing again!

I encourage each of you to go on this Journey of Joy with me and find your own path and passions that make you the most joyful, that bring long-lasting contentment, and bring purpose and meaning to your life! Let’s go on this together!

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Jonathan Chew

Written by

Disney Imagineer. Startup enthusiast. Sci-Fi/Self-Help novelist on a mission to build a Positopian world. Follow me @JonathanGChew or go to: www.chewsjoy.com

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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