Joy And Happiness: What Do You Presuppose?

by Doc Orman, M.D.

For my third and final blog post this week on the topic of joy and happiness, I want put my two earlier posts on this subject into clearer perspective.  What do Walking Out On Baryshnikov and The Story Of O. J. Brigance tell us about the nature of human joy and the source of human happiness?

Three Options

There are basically three ways you can think about the nature and source of human joy and happiness:

  1. There isn’t a lot of joy and happiness available in the world, so your odds of getting much of either are pretty slim;
  2. Joy and happiness are a “hit or miss” thing—sometimes you can have them and sometimes you can’t;
  3. Joy and happiness are abundantly available to you—anytime you want to experience them.

Each of these is a presupposition about joy and happiness that we can adopt.  Interestingly, whichever of these three presuppositions you choose, your life can be exactly that way!

Believe It…And You Shall Receive It

If you think that joy and happiness are scarce…they probably will be for you.  If you think they are a 50-50 proposition, you will likely be happy half of the time and unhappy the rest.  And if you think that joy and happiness are always available to you, regardless of your circumstances…then presto, your life can be this way as well.

It all depends on which presupposition you start with.

In my first blog post this week, Walking Out On Baryshnikov, I clearly had the presupposition that I was never going to find joy or happiness at the ballet. And as long as I fiercely held onto that presupposition, I found zero joy or happiness.

In my second post, The Story Of O.J. Brigance, it’s evident that O.J. doesn’t subscribe to the presupposition that joy and happiness are only available if you’ve got desirable circumstances in your life.  When he was in his prime, and his body was strong and responsive, he created joy and happiness through his athletic accomplishments.  But when his physical capabilities left him, he continued to self-generate joy and happiness, despite their loss.

Create Your Own Joy And Happiness

The third presupposition is the one I now favor.  Earlier in my life, I believed joy and happiness came from what you had in life.  Today, I no longer believe this.  Instead, I now believe that joy and happiness are things that we create within ourselves, and then bring to our life. As such, they are always available to us, if we apply ourselves effectively.

Sometimes this may take nothing more than a subtle shift in focus, like my momentary transformation midway through the performance of Swan Lake.  Other times, it may take tremendous courage, fortitude, and strength of will, like the self-generated optimism and undiminished enthusiasm of O.J. Brigance, which makes him such a source of inspiration to everyone around him.

What Are Your Thoughts?

I hope you’ve enjoyed these three brief blog posts on this very important topic. Obviously, there’s much more than can be said and learned about both joy and happiness.

So please feel free to add your own thoughts or questions in the comments section below.



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