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The Thief of Joy

There is a famous quote by Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, that says “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

The context, and potential impact, of his quote is profound and it speaks to so much of what we preach at CFG – there is no need to compare yourself to what others have done or are doing. You really don’t even need to compare the you of today to the you of yesterday. Rather, create habits that support who you want to be tomorrow.

We even have an iteration of that quote on our wall when you come in!

But if comparison is the thief of joy, then I think we should all be most interested in how to capture more joy, right? Because it’s not enough to just avoid comparison.

Joy, in speaking specifically about one of our values at CFG, comes from knowing that smiling is contagious and we think the world could use more of it, so you’ll experience a lot of that each day you spend time with us.

But back to how we can capture more joy, beyond just smiling at one another.

Brene Brown is one of the world’s experts on this topic. She’s done a few TedTalks, written a few books, and is a Research Professor at the University of Houston.

Here’s what she says on the topic:

“The relationship between joy and gratitude was one of the important things I found in my research. I wasn’t expecting it. In my 12 years of research on 11,000 pieces of data, I did not interview one person who had described themselves as joyful, who also did not actively practice gratitude.

For me it was very counterintuitive because I went into the research thinking that the relationship between joy and gratitude was: if you are joyful, you should be grateful. But it wasn’t that way at all.

Instead, practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.

Practice is the part that really changed my life, that really changed my family and the way we live every day. When I say practice gratitude, don’t mean “the-attitude-of-gratitude” or feeling grateful, I mean practicing gratitude.”

And this is why I love the CFG community so much. We are all quick to be openly thankful for the many blessings in our lives. It’s actually one of the main reasons we practice ‘Bright Spot Fridays.’

Now I won’t lie – sometimes it’s not easy to create a list of things we’re grateful for. It is actually biologically easier to complain about things – did you know that? The reason is because it takes significantly less brain power to complain. Crazy, right?!

Here’s a personal, albeit relatable, tidbit from me: while it would have been incredibly easy to complain about the physical location of CFG being forcibly closed for two months, I saw it as an opportunity to continue delivering our actual service, coaching, to each of you in a unique and effective manner.

Same with the modifications to how classes are run now that we’re back open, what equipment we can use, etc.

It would actually be easy to just dismiss our current circumstances as minor inconveniences. But even that wording is a thinly-veiled complaint.

Instead, I am beyond grateful that we can gather together again. Because, as I’ve written about before, we are better together.

And that gratitude invites joy into my life. It allows me the opportunity to walk into the doors and see all of YOUR smiling faces in there.

Here’s the thing – nobody ever says “there’s too much positivity in the world, we need more negativity.”

Let’s continue to shine bright, and be a lighthouse for positivity. It takes more effort, its harder, but nothing worth doing ever came easy.

You know what else Ol’ Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as saying? “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I don’t know about you, but I really care about creating more joy in the world. And it happens by practicing gratitude.

So now I’m curious – what are you thankful for?

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