happiness_quote_3Everyone Seeks Joy

Every man, women and child that ever walked the earth had the primal need to feel joy. Every action you take is in response to seeking it.

Unfortunately you live in a society that is actually doing its best to have you act in ways that would only give others joy. When I watch TV and see a commercial about a casino or restaurant here in Las Vegas where I live makes it sound like I’ll have a lot of fun and enjoyment by spending my money there. They suggest that by dressing up in fancy clothes and taking a chance I’ll win when I place a bet. They go on to even show someone winning, throwing their arms up in the air and hugging a beautiful women. That I can’t lose and thus I’d have joy by going there. Or if I ate their massive steak and lobster dinner and $.99 beer I would be happy and joyful.

The truth is the casinos didn’t get big by everyone winning when a bet is placed. They get big by you losing and them winning. They financially gain while you financially lose. Then you’re sad and go eat the big steak and lobster dinner and pound down five bucks worth of beer. Now you temporally have numbed your pain and decide to go back and place another bet. Then guess what happens? You lose again.

You go home justifying your $150 night on the town and go to bed. The next day you wake up and don’t feel that great. You gained 2 pounds and feel kinda of depressed.

No joy for you that day. Why is that? The promise of pleasure is never a promise of joy. They are not the same emotion. Pleasure is fleeting. Joy is an attitude.

I’ve boiled it down to three things we need to have joy.

The Three Attributes of a Joyous Life

You have been given a unique set of attributes that are not shared by any other human being. You’ve been given both strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths are given to you to serve others and through the Law of Receiving (you must first give to receive) are given your bounty. Your weaknesses are given to you to humble yourself and seek others to help you. In this simple connection of human beings you receive one or more of your six human needs which are:


1. Certainty
2. Variety
3. Significance
4. Love & Connection


5. Contribution
6. Growth

You have three areas of your life that are uniquely yours. When you begin to live them your way, it’s much easier to have joy.

The three attributes that are uniquely yours and are the portal to your joy:

  1. Core virtuous values,
  2. A purpose for being on this earth and it’s dream, and
  3. Self-love and being authentic, embracing who you really are.

Joy Attribute #1: How to Discover Your Core Values

Daily check list question: Am I living based on my core value?


You have a set of core values that are both virtuous and important.

Below are some questions from my “Find Your Joy Workshop” that will help you discover your core values. My friend Steve Moeller has a list of core values from his book, ENDORPHINOMICS The Science of Human Flourishing  that will help you identify your core values.

Endorphinomics Index of Positive Human Values

Copyright 2014 Steve Moeller Endorphin Zone New Media 1131 East Main Street Suite 203 Tustin, CA 92780 714.505.8030 Go to his site: http://www.stevemoeller.com/

Download the Positive Human Values worksheet


The Values that Enhance Individual and Communal Flourishing

Prioritize these values by rating each Master Value a 1, 2, or 3. 1 means “very important,” 2 means “somewhat important” and 3 means “not important” to you.

Go fast and trust your gut. If a word in parentheses resonates with you, circle it.

1. Personal Operating System
Culturally Endorsed Values

___ Work Ethic (industriousness, productivity, staying busy, diligence)
___ Self-Direction (entrepreneurial self-starter, independent thought and action, need little supervision, master of own destiny)
___ Competition (winners and losers, no monopolies or cartels, free markets)
___ Respect for Authority (hierarchy, honor, social order, institutions, status)
___ Conformity (fit in, suppress impulses that might upset others or violate social norms, harmonious group functioning)
___ Heroism (self-sacrifice for the good of the group)
___ Tradition (respect for customs, values and beliefs of one’s culture or religion; support group solidarity and survival)
___ Purity (chastity; respect for taboos, customs and sacred objects and places; devoutness, piety)
___ Prosperity (abundance of money, wealth and resources)
___ Power (influence and control over money, people and resources)
___ Status (respect, social recognition, admiration)
___ Image (looking good, fashionable) Personal Growth Values
___ Positive Emotions (autonomy, competence, connection, self-esteem, pleasure, security, etc.)
___ Self-Actualization (meaningful growth, positive change, integration of different aspects of self into a synergistic, holistic, authentic state of being, fulfilling your potential, adapting, flourishing)
___ Personal Responsibility (conscientiousness, accountability, reliability, do what you say you’ll do, punctual)
___ Self-Expression (individualism, non-conformity, being yourself, expressing your opinions and experiences)
___ Self-Esteem (self-respect, honor, confidence, dignity)
___ Integrity (authenticity, free from inner conflict and incongruities, will stand up for things that matter)

2. Personal Powers
___ Engagement (flow, immersion, absorption, effortlessness)
___ Self-Control (self-regulation, willpower, discipline over impulses and urges, deferred gratification)
___ Zest (vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, aliveness, energy)
___ Health (physical and mental well-being, absence of stress, pain and disease)
___ Physical Fitness (proper exercise and diet, lean, muscular, flexible and muscular, active lifestyle)
___ Competence (skills, mastery, specialized knowledge, abilities, talents, character strengths, self-sufficiency)
___ Creativity (imagination, originality, ingenuity, innovation, inspiration, concepts and ideas, art, music, writing)
___ Learning (acquiring new knowledge and developing skills, adding to and refining mental models, optimizing your personal operating system)
___ Critical Thinking (listen to all sides, able to change mind in light of evidence, thorough & logical decisions)
___ Wisdom (perspective, using insights to advise, coach, counsel and guide others)
___ Accomplishment (successes and achievements, making a positive contribution, completing meaningful goals and projects)
___ Honesty (truth, sincerity, open communication, moral courage)
___ Perseverance (persistence, industriousness, finish what you start, overcome challenges and obstacles)
___ Valor (bravery, physical and moral courage, will fight to protect values and stand for what’s right)
___ Intelligence (learn quickly, able to transform knowledge into action, good problem solver and flexible thinker)

3. Passions
___ Curiosity (interest, novelty seeking, exploration, openness to new experiences and ideas)
___ Beauty (balance, aesthetics, form, design, symmetry, awe, wonder, elevation)
___ Excellence (mastery, genius, brilliance, merit)
___ Excitement (stimulation, novelty, thrills, risk, variety, adventure)
___ Pleasure (sensory stimulation and gratification, intellectual stimulation, warmth, movement, luxury, aesthetics)
___ Comfort (material abundance, leisure, low stress and mostly positive experiences)

4. Purpose
___ Meaning (purpose, direction, belonging and committing to something more significant than yourself)
___ Contribution (making a positive difference, supporting the community or greater good, give more than you take)
___ Gratitude (appreciation, thankfulness, gratefulness)
___ Spirituality (inner harmony, connection with the divine, oneness, transcending ordinary consciousness, profound sense of purpose and meaning)
___ Religiousness (faith in a divine being; sacred text; doctrines and historical religious figures that provide purpose, comfort and meaning)

5. Positive People
___ Connection (empowering relationships, love, friendships, family, romance, intimacy, active in groups)
___ Kindness (generosity, empathy, benevolence, nurturance, compassion, niceness)
___ Humor (playfulness, smiles, the lighter side of life, jokes, funny stories and laughter)
___ Social Intelligence (emotional and intrapersonal talents, empathy and understanding others’ states of mind)
___ Helpfulness (concern for others, support, cooperation, benevolence, win-win, altruism)
___ Forgiveness (mercy, second chances, accepting flaws and transgressions of others)
___ Care (, do not harm others, nonviolence, protecting human life and well-being, peace, charity, nurturance, altruism)
___ Fairness (reciprocity, equality in rights and opportunities for all, honest dealing, justice)
___ Humility/Modesty (not feeling superior to others, letting your accomplishments speak for themselves, treating everyone as equal to you)
___ Loyalty (to family, community, worthy groups and nation, self-sacrifice for group, patriotism)
___ Leadership (consensus building, inspiring others to act, positive role models)
___ Teamwork (citizenship, social responsibility, contribution to shared goals, social harmony and cohesion, synergy)

6. Positive Places
___ Inspiration (flash of insight, flow of ideas or artistic creation, motivated to create,)
___ Connection with Nature (sacred places; love of plants, animals, rocks, trees, clouds, stars, rain, waterfalls, sunsets and the outdoors)
___ Democracy (representative government; one-person, one-vote; rule of law; property rights; free markets)
___ Freedom (autonomy, sovereignty, freedom of speech, liberty, independence, self-rule, master of your life)
___ National Security (secure borders; civil order; economic stability; low organized crime and corruption; free from fear of conquest, civil war, invasion, rebellion, or annihilation)
___ Personal Security (physical safety, civil rights, property rights, low crime and violence, safe homes and communities)

7. Sustainability
___ Optimism (hope, faith, future-mindedness, believe you can create a better future)
___ Prudence (wisely cautious in planning for the future, thinking through the potential results of actions or thoughts, saving for a rainy day)
___ Financial Sustainability (money in the bank, predictable income, spend less then you take home, insurance, control personal finances and investments, preserve resources for future generations)
___ Ecological Sustainability (environmentalism, food security, clean air, water, and land; healthy and diverse ecosystem, conserve resources, leave the Earth a better place for future generation)

After you identify your core values I recommend you prepare a 3 x 5 card of each one to review daily. On that card, for example, if one of your values were ‘Connection with Nature’ you might add sub-categories such as, “Animals and birds are important. I feel a need to protect their habitat.” Each day review your 3 x 5 core value cards and then live towards that value in all you do. Understanding their importance in your life will allow you to prioritize events and tasks. Most people undergo undo stress because they react to life instead of act toward a purpose. In the reactionary mode you’re more likely to be locked into the “urgent” way of living, never having enough time to devote to the things you value the most. Once identified, your values will act as a guide to help you prioritize acts in your life, thus never having to compromise what is “urgent” for what is “important.”

Joy Attribute #2: Discover Your Dream (Put Your Dream to the Test)

Daily check list question: Have I followed my dream with passion?

You have a dream of the way you’d like to live. But is it your dream? For many years I followed what I thought was my dream only to discover late in life that it was not my dream but the dream of others.

dream-to-the-testFollowing John Maxwell’s book, Put Your Dream to the Test, I was able to discover my purpose for being on the earth. It was a powerful day in my life and I finally understood what Mark Twain had penned, “There are two great days in your life. The day you were born and the day you discovered why your were born.”

Go to my blog post on discovering your dream

Click to download the 10 questions to put your dream to the test


To assist you in putting your dream to the test, I’ve developed The Dream Test. Respond to each of the three statements under the dream questions by answering true or false. Once you’ve completed the test, enlist three people who know you well to help you evaluate yourself. If you have not already told them your dream, do so now. Then ask them to answer each of the questions as it applies to you. In addition, ask them to give you an overall score from 1 (not a chance) to 10 (absolute certainty) for how likely you are to achieve your dream.

  1. The Ownership Question: Is my dream really my dream?

    1. I would be the person in the world most pleased if I accomplished my dream.
    2. I have publicly shared my dream with other people, including those I love.
    3. Others have challenged my dream and I still embrace it.
  1. The Clarity Question: Do I clearly see my dream?
    1. I can explain the main gist of my dream in a single sentence.
    2. I could answer nearly any question about the what (if not the how) of my dream.
    3. I have written a clear description of my dream that includes its main features or objectives.
  1. The Reality Question: Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dream?
    1. I know what my greatest talents are, and my dream relies heavily on them.
    2. My current habits and daily practices strongly contribute to the potential success of my dream.
    3. My dream is likely to come true even if I am unlucky, if important people ignore or oppose me, or if I encounter serious obstacles.
  1. The Passion Question: Does my dream compel me to follow it?
    1. I can think of nothing I would rather do more than see my dream fulfilled.
    2. I think about my dream every day and often wake up or fall asleep thinking
      about it.
    3. This dream has been consistently important to me for at least a year.
  1. The Pathway Question: Do I have a strategy to reach my dream?
    1. I have a written plan for how I intend to accomplish my dream.
    2. I have shared my plan with three people I respect to get their feedback.
    3. I have made significant changes to my priorities and work habits to put my plan into action
  1. The People Question: Have I included the people I need to realize my dream?
    1. I have surrounded myself with people who inspire me and who are honest with me about my strengths and weaknesses.
    2. I have recruited people with complementary skills to help me accomplish my dream.
    3. I have transferred the vision for my dream to others, and they share ownership for it
  1. The Cost Question: Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?
    1. I can recount specific costs I have already paid toward achieving my dream.
    2. I have already considered what I am willing to trade to achieve my dream.
    3. I will not be compromising my values, ruining my health, or damaging my family to pursue my dream.
  1. The Tenacity Question: Am I moving closer to my dream?
    1. I can identify obstacles I have already overcome in the pursuit of my dream.
    2. I do something every day— even if it’s very small— to move closer to my dream.
    3. I am willing to do extraordinarily difficult things to grow and change so that I can accomplish my dream.
  1. The Fulfillment Question: Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction?
    1. I am willing to give up my idealism in order to make my dream become reality.
    2. I am willing to work for years or even decades to achieve my dream because it is that important to me.
    3. I enjoy the pursuit of my dream so much that even if I fail, I will consider
      my life to have been well spent.
  1. The Significance Question: Does my dream benefit others?
    1. I can name specific people other than myself who will benefit if my dream is realized.
    2. I am working to build a team of like-minded people to accomplish my dream.
    3. What I’m doing to achieve my dream will matter in five, twenty, or one hundred years.

If you are able to mark every statement as true, then the odds are very good that you will see your dream come to fruition. If you marked as false one or more of the statements under a question, then you need to examine whether you are being honest with yourself about where you stand related to that question.

Talk to the three people who evaluated these questions related to you. Did their answers match yours? If not, ask for their observations. Also take a look at their overall score for you. If they gave you less than a ten, ask, “What would it take for me to make it a ten?” Listen, take notes, ask clarifying questions, but do not defend yourself. As you receive their answers, look for patterns, and remember what management consultant Jack Rosenblum says: “If one person tells you you’re a horse, they’re crazy. If three people tell you you’re a horse, there is a conspiracy afoot. If ten people tell you you’re a horse, it’s time to buy a saddle.”

Used with permission. © John C. Maxwell, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It

Joy Attribute #3: Be Authentic; Embrace Who You Really Are

Daily check list question: Am I embracing who I really am?

be-authenticBrené Brown, Phd in her book, The Gifts of Imperfections, define being authentic as:

“The daily practice of letting go of who you think you should be and embrace who you really are.”

You live in a society that is doing everything to get you be someone other than who you really are. Our society has become progressively shame based. What does that mean?

For example in my own life, I lived in what is describe as a “closed” home. I was not allowed to express any emotion. My parents only conditionally loved me. I had to be perfect in order to receive any attention. If I made a mistake, like all kids do, my parents would slam on me. I was very enthusiastic as a child and loved to discover new things. Naturally I wanted to tell my parents what I had learned. My parents never wanted to hear me and rarely spent quality time with me or to just listen to me. Thus they would call me names such as “loose lips” and “rubber mouth” as a way to shame me into being quite.  They had very little empathy or compassion for me.

My parents, for what ever reason, were shame bound. They had to put up this false front that they were these perfect parents raising a perfect American family and “by God” they weren’t going to let anyone see their imperfections and/or be rejected or criticized if it wasn’t perfect. My mom, even told me on several occasions that I was a “mistake” and she and dad didn’t plan on having me. As a result of their shame, conditionally loved me. That helped me learn to not accept who I really was (after all, if my parents don’t accept me for who you I really am I internalized that I must be flawed) and I had  to go through much of my life being a perfectionist, a pleaser and I had a need to perform for everybody to be accepted. Why? Because, like my parents, I didn’t want to experience the pain of being rejected, like my parents had unintentionally rejected me.

I’ve seen so much shame inflected upon those I mentor. Almost everyone I’ve ever met has a measure of it and it causes them, like me, to pretend to be someone they really are not. They hide from branching out because of the fear of being rejected or criticized.

Unlocking who you really are takes courage. It takes courage to be open and allow others to see who you really are, including your imperfections. I’ve learned that being vulnerable, i.e., being open and still having the possibility that I may be rejected or criticized, that I’m the most powerful because contrary to what shame does to you, it allows for deep human connection.

I stated above your six human and spiritual needs. All of them need human interaction but four of them are directly and highly correlated to your ability to connect with others. Those being significance, love & connection, growth and contribution. We are wired to connect to others. It’s in our DNA because of the six human and spiritual needs. Your greatest joy will come from human connection and connection is powerfully improved through being authentic.

The most powerful form of joy is when you are growing those four needs. The most intense and deep joy comes from serving others.

Shame based human beings are fearful and fear drives them away from human connection and thus joy.

It is beyond this simple page to really help you embrace who you really are. Below I’ve listed several resources that may help. Each of these resources addresses shame. I would encourage you to read them and not be put off by this word and concept. Shame is fear. Fear is holding you back.


Brené Brown, PhD The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (purchase on Amazon)

Brené Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability

John Bradshaw,  Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child (purchase on Amazon)

John Bradshaw recorded PBS series; Homecoming (watch the series on my YouTube Channel)

Final Note

Joy is not illusive. If you presently do not have it or would like to have more, it’s inside you. It has not been lost. Following and answering these three daily questions will help you focus on the attributes of joy.

Joy may not be found right away. All things worthwhile have a price. The time you spend in pursuit of true joy will be worth every bit of your effort and energy. You’ll discover, as I have, that the joy is really in the journey. It’s not found at a place in time or even a destination.

Joy, like being authentic, takes daily practice. As you spend the time even with these resources I’ve shared, I promise will lead you to joy. Joy doesn’t mean you won’t suffer. It means that you will suffer with joy. I will also promise you, as you begin to live joyously, most, if not all, of your suffering will be removed.

Download a printable copy of the daily joy checklist

God bless you,

Big Mike

About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

The Wellness Warrior™; Health & Leadership/Business Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, paying for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more: http://HealthIsAHabit.live