Roberta Chinsky Matuson
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Five Keys To Building A Joyous Life

Jumping with balloonsI know a lot of people who move through life as if they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. You probably know some of these people as well. They are the friends on Facebook who start each day with a tale of another disaster that has just taken place in their life. I keep wondering if and when they will realize that what is happening to them is directly related to something they have either done in their life or have not done.

Take the twenty-something year-old, who is constantly complaining about her earnings or is dissatisfied with her job. Yet, this person refuses to complete her college degree or seek employment in a field that is more suited to her liking. Or the person who complains daily about the boss, who is a jerk, yet refuses to seek out a new boss who might be more respectful.

Here’s what I want to say to these people. Stop it! As far as we know, we only get one life. Here’s how to build a joyous life.

1. Discipline. You might think it’s odd to begin a conversation on joy with discipline, since many find the idea of discipline to be unpleasant. However, much of our unhappiness comes from lack of discipline. We are overweight because we don’t have the discipline to refrain from eating foods we know are not good for us. We stop attempting to reach for our dreams because we come across a roadblock that at first glance appears to be too hard to overcome.

Imagine how different life would be if people intentionally made the effort to power through some of those tougher moments. I bet most people would be happier.

2. Build on your strengths. No one is great at doing everything, although sometimes you might feel like a sibling or friend is incredible at everything. Focus on what you do really well and build upon this. For example, you may be a whiz at using computers. Keep challenging yourself to learn more programs. You’ll become invaluable.

3. Have fun. If I asked you the question, “Are you having fun?” how would you reply? If the answer is no or I’m not sure, then it’s time to reexamine why you are doing what you are doing in the first place. Life is too short to wake up everyday without loving what you do or at least enjoying some aspect of your work and your life.

4. Build your career around what you are great at doing and what you love. We spend so much of our waking lives at work that it seems like a life wasted if you have chosen a career that does not give you joy. There has never been a better time in our economy to explore careers where you can soar.

5. Shed the naysayers. As you mature, you’ll find that some people no longer serve a purpose in your life. They are negative more than they are positive. They work diligently to ensure that you remain on their level. These are not people that you need in your life. Shed them and allow yourself to make room for those who will support you in your efforts to build a joyous life.

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