I recently watched the movie Bucket List. It is an enjoyable look at how two unlikely friends spend their last few months. There is one scene in the movie in which one of the men described the ancient Egyptian belief that upon death, two questions would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. These questions were:
- Did you bring joy to others?
- Did you find joy?
I think these two questions are pertinent to us today as well. Our answers to these questions can determine our attitude, our productivity, our happiness, our fulfillment, our satisfaction, and our perseverance. It can determine how we perform with our team, our relationship with our family, and whether we are a giver or taker. Our answers can mean the difference between a life with purpose and one without. So, let’s explore each of these a bit more today.
- Did you bring joy to others? Our purpose (in a family, on a team, or anywhere else) simply cannot be to satisfy our own needs and desires. Narcissism (e.g., a complete focus on self) is one of the most prevalent problems plaguing our society today. Living in a way that places everything and everyone below yourself on the priority list will not bring joy to others. Living intentionally to make a positive difference to others is that way to bring joy. Placing others above self means you focus on the happiness and joy of others foremost. So, what is the very best way to bring joy to someone else? I think the answer is simply to give yourself to others. By giving time to others, you demonstrate that you care and that you value them. By being present physically or through other means, you demonstrate that you are willing to give perhaps your most important possession (that is, TIME) to that person. By giving of yourself to benefit another, you most assuredly bring joy to that person. So, the real question is, “Did you give yourself to others in a way that demonstrated that you care for them; that you value them; that you love them?” This question is pertinent in a family, as a leader, as a friend, as a coworker, as a neighbor, and, simply, as a human being that cares for others.
- Did you find joy? And, perhaps just as importantly, are we living in a way that brings joy to our own lives? Personally, I believe that joy is not a single event or collection of events, but a base level present in all of us. It is like a cup of terrific coffee. Some have a full cup, while others have only a bit in the bottom of the cup. Then, we might add flavorings, sugar, etc. to perk even that up. Our joy is how much of that terrific coffee we have in our cup. Those other highlights in our life are like the extras we add. So, the question is whether we have a cup that is full of joy or one that barely has a drop at the bottom of the cup. Does your life percolate with that sense of satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, and collection of people that make you smile? It is tempting to be so caught up in the flurry of life (work, scheduled events, school, calendar, etc.) that we fail to stop and “fill our cup.” And, the other beautiful thing about our “cup of joy” is that it can be filled. Just because it may not be full today doesn’t mean that we can’t fill it up. We can add joy to our lives, but it might take some changes in our lives that allow it.
A person with a full cup is better equipped to bring joy to others, as well. One benefits the others. So, the challenge to you today is how would you honestly answer these two questions? At this point in your life, are you consistently bringing joy to others? And, is your cup full? If the answer to either question is “no”, then, what are you going to do about it? The next step is yours.
Have a fabulous day! And, thanks for bring joy to my life.