A joyful life is something we all want. But as we continue to ride out a worldwide pandemic and battle with life’s demands, the joy we’re looking for is sometimes hard to find.
But it doesn’t have to be.
As Joseph Campbell once said, “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
From my own experience, I’ve learned that the key to a joyful life isn’t in our circumstances—it’s in our choices.
When we choose to live in joy, that’s when joy will actually come.
For me, choosing joy means laughing at life’s ridiculous moments. And let me tell you, I’ve had many.
I’ve shared some of those experiences in my book, The Extraordinary UnOrdinary You, like the time a rat totaled my minivan. And I could write volumes more on the ridiculous experiences I’ve found myself in.
But in all my misadventures, I really try not to focus on the struggle and look for the lesson instead.
For example, just last week I was in Chicago doing what I love.
I was a featured speaker for the Lakeshore TEDx event.
Since it was a hybrid event, they asked us to record our videos ahead of time and then they showed those videos both in person at the event and streamed them over the internet.
Every speaker’s video was great. There were no technical or audio problems and everything was running smoothly. That is, until my video.
Mine was the last video of the day. But when it popped up on the screen, it looked like it had been dubbed. Everyone saw my mouth moving, and after a two-second delay, they were able to hear what I was actually saying.
My entire speech was completely off, despite the fact that the recording I sent worked perfectly when I sent it to them.
I’m going to be honest, at first I was pretty frustrated. I know the importance of choosing joy and laughing at life’s ridiculous moments, but that’s easier said than done when you’re pretty sure that everyone is watching your video and laughing on the inside.
Plus I had worked really hard on my video. I had spent retake after retake after retake trying to make it the best it could be. Was it perfect—no. Nothing is ever perfect, but I felt it was pretty decent work.
All I could think of was, “Of course this is happening to me!”
But after I sat there for a moment, I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, Simone, you are being ridiculous! It’s a video. Of course, they’re going to fix it.”
The AV team went to work right away to fix the problem. As a result, the speakers were invited on stage to answer impromptu questions for the next ten minutes.
When it was my turn, I just made a joke about it. I pretended to give the beginning of my speech because they just kept playing those words over and over again, “Hills make me breathless. Hills and mountains completely take my breath away…”
It became a laughing point for everyone there. The poet after me even told the audience she was intrigued by my introduction and couldn’t wait to watch the rest of the video.
After several attempts, the AV team was finally able to get the video working and my daughters even saw the whole thing streamed virtually.
The truth is, that situation could have gone much differently had I continued to stay in my frustration and show that frustration to the audience. But instead, I chose to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, creating joy not just for myself but for all of the people who were experiencing it with me.
My daughters told me that my ability to make light of the situation made it that more personable and meaningful. It was certainly memorable for everyone there—including me.
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you plan it.
I would actually say that most of the time life doesn’t go the way you plan it.
But sometimes those things that get in the way are actually the best kind of moments to choose joy and make a meaningful and memorable experience out of it.
In every ridiculous moment we’re given, we have a choice. We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to be miserable.
It’s not always easy to laugh when you’d rather cry instead, but laughing is absolutely the best kind of medicine for achieving a joyful life.
Joy isn’t in circumstances—it’s in you.
What are some of your ridiculous moments and how are you going to experience joy in them today?