In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote a book titled, Built to Last, in which they shared results from a landmark study of what habits set apart companies who were successful and created sustainability compared to those who made it big for a while, but then fizzled out. The book was a huge sensation because I think we all want to LAST. No one wants to be a one hit wonder like Kris Kross, Vanilla Ice or The Rembrandts. We want to be like The Beatles, Bon Jovi or Beyoncé.  The same goes for our joy; we want it to be sustainable over decades of living, not just for a brief moment in time.

In their book, Built to Last, the authors share the secret to an enduring great company, “the ability to manage continuity and change.” Just like enduring great companies, the key to sustainable joy boils down to one word CONSISTENCY. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.” Sustainable joy is created or depleted by the constants in our life. Yes life has variables that will shift, but when we establish our joy in deep roots we can whether the storms life brings us.

In the next few posts, we will explore the four constants we need in our life to cultivate sustainable joy.

Constant Choices

Joy is a choice. I didn’t say it was an easy one. We are creatures of emotions and sometimes we let those emotions guide the decisions we make in life. We cannot however let anger, sadness, hurt, jealousy, etc. be our source of guidance, for feelings are fickle. We must instead ground our choices in joy, meaning that we can look beyond our immediate circumstance to see a bigger picture. Many times a day, a married couple might have to overlook the imperfections of their spouse. They choose to extend grace which helps them to reap joy. You might get stuck in traffic and instead of choosing to yell at the cars in front of you and lose your joy, you choose to breathe and take this time to remember all the goodness in your life. Realize that every choice and every decision that we make, either creates joy in our lives or robs the joy in our lives. As you go through your day think about the choices you are making and ask yourself are they helping you create sustainable joy?

Constant Character

Your character is what defines you. It is what people see in you and remember about you long after you leave this world. Character is rooted in core convictions that are then carried out in your daily actions. Many companies will say they have core values, but when you ask people what those values are; you get the deer in the headlights look. Successful and sustainable companies live out their core convictions. For example, if you have ever visited Walt Disney World you would have seen their four core values in action which are safety, courtesy, show & efficiency.  By living out these principles they have created a space known as the “Happiest Place Earth,” which is overflowing with joy! Do you live  your core values or are they just words people hear you say?

This world needs to see joyful people who can give thanks and remain content no matter what their circumstances are or what their lot in life may be. We want to see people who have character and our consistent in who they are and how others interact with them.

Today think about what choices you are making and what core convictions your character is rooted in.

Discussion with Dawn: How did you choose joy today or this week?