Seek Joy, Not Just Happiness

My grandma would always tell me, “Honey, both of us don’t have time to waste time.” I would think about that and always think to myself, “I do not waste time?” Then I would list off all the things in my schedule for that week and show how busy I was.  My friends would always ask me, “How has your week been?” and a common answer for me was “Good, just going to work 8-5. Not much else is happening.” The answer was always the same. The weeks went by in a blur, but the days went by so slow because I could not wait for the end of the week to get here. It felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again each week. I was getting a lot done, but I was not feeling fulfilled.

All my life, I have looked for ways to be happy. A common habit I always found myself doing was looking forward to the next day. Waking up on Monday, I would look forward to Friday. Friday would come; I would look forward to Saturday. Payday would come, my happiness would increase, and then I would look forward to the next payday. There was always something better on the horizon. Do you get the same feeling?

Happiness is something we should all be striving for.  It can do wonders for our attitude and our view on life. However the problem with seeking happiness isn’t whether or not we can actually attain it, but how we hold onto that feeling and stay that way. Constantly seeking happiness can lead you down a road that never ends because you may never be fully satisfied.

So let’s talk about JOY! I always thought joy and happiness were the same thing. In some ways they are, but they also have major differences.

Happiness is a feeling based on your circumstances. I am happy BECAUSE it is payday. Joy is an ATTITUDE that DEFIES circumstances. I am joyful that I get to do what I love today!  Even though it is not payday, I get to do what I love while making an impact on people’s lives!

Example: Happiness is getting a raise at work or getting a travel contract in an amazing location. Joy is waking up in the morning and doing what you love. Joy is a choice; happiness is based on external factors. The thing with this example is that the travel contract you got in a great location is GREAT news! As a recruiter, I am so happy for you that you got what you really wanted! But in 13 weeks, your contract will be done. For your next contract, you will want to go to a destination that is even better than your previous assignment (I know I would). Because of the competitiveness of the travel world, it might not be a walk in the park to find that next great location for an assignment. You have to pay your bills. You have to have an income. So you sign a contract and then realize your dream location just came open on your first day of starting an assignment. What now?

Seeking joy in this situation can do wonders with your overall well-being. Wake up every day and remember that you have the opportunity to make a change in the patients you care for. You get to travel around the country, gain additional skills, perhaps expand your comfort zone, and meet new people. You get to do what you love. Think of your “why”. Why did you become a nurse or therapist?

Think of how many people you see/talk to in a day. Think of how much of an impact you can have on the world if you made a lasting impact with just ONE person. It becomes a ripple effect; everyone will make some sort of impact with the people they meet.  This is how we change the world, friends. So we are we going to make the choice to be joyful? Are you going to take advantage of the 24 hours you have in everyday to make a difference? Remember my grandma’s quote. “Honey, both of us don’t have time to waste time.”  Let’s not waste another minute and seek joy every day!

Travis Simonin is a Social Media Recruiter for the Nursing division of Aureus Medical Group.

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