This I Believe

Montana - Van Nuys, California
Entered on May 18, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe joy is what we all should strive for. One of the most important concepts that I learned is the difference between joy and happiness; happiness is a temporary emotion while joy is a state of being. One day during my English class, my instructor handed out a list of ten goals or morals that people should attempt to achieve or remember, as told by a retiring college professor. He listed that his last and “greatest” lesson was to make every effort to find joy, not happiness. At first, I never really understood what this phrase meant until I tackled the reality of life, when I had to work. Joy brings out the best in all of us when we finally find it. I found my first taste joy during my first semester of college and it was being a student, constantly learning why I suck at writing at essays and coming to class where a loving professor is ready to help me not suck.

Many ask me, “what’s the difference between happiness and joy?” Happiness is a feeling that can easily be swayed depending on one’s situation, whether the day is going well or utterly horrible. Joy on the other hand is a lasting happiness or bliss that is retained regardless of the emotional condition one’s in. My passion is writing, but one day I took an offer for a high paying job at a fast food joint. I was be excited at the fact that I made so much money, but than I hit a block where I didn’t really have a reason to wake up in the morning because work was so dull and tedious. As time progressed, I didn’t enjoy flipping burgers, managing new recruits, and worrying about whether or not my cashiers were stealing profits. As a result, I applied to be an intern for a local newspaper. Although I earned only 1/2 of the pay of the regular job, my new position produced three times as much emotional satisfaction by just writing and editing articles and essays because it’s what I love, enjoy and have a passion for.

This experience taught me that if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, it’s most likely I’d live a very dull, monotone, and an uninteresting life. Working at a job with high pay may provide happiness for the first few moments, but if I don’t feel joy whenever I do my tasks, I’d feel empty without a reason to work so hard like my first job.

The feeling of pure joy is a rare state because many of us sacrifice lasting joy for immediate happiness. Many of us compromise what we love doing for what we’re forced to do to make ends meet in our society. Taking a step back, I contemplated what really made me enjoy doing what I do, instead of taking immediately what was offered in front of me. I find that once I do find joy, I easily acquire many other aspects such as inspiration, and determination towards my goals because, well, I enjoy it.