As part of my commitment to working towards the kind of man, father, husband, community member, neighbour, and employee that I want to become I spent the holiday season reading Chade-Meng Tan‘s Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Inside. I cannot help but ignore the call of my heart that is luring me towards something bigger. Opportunity to help others. To change. To view work differently. To find joy at work. Allow me to explain (if I can).
Tao of Meng
Chade-Meng Tan (Meng for short), is a former Google computer engineer (Employee 107) and held the the official title of Jolly Good Fellow, and the founder of the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) Institute (and writer of the national bestseller of the book of the same title) that brings mindfulness practices to organizations to cultivate a healthier, more productive, more creative, and more joyful work (yes joy AT work) environment. Meng oversaw SIY program at Google for several years and his team helped thousands of Google employees to develop and utilize the simple mindfulness practices in both their personal and professional realms. If it works for practical and methodically-minded, computer engineers and digital architects of the most prosperous company in the world, Meng’s gotta know something…
Meng also is a cofounder of the Billion Acts of Peace foundation which has been nominated seven times for a Nobel Peace Prize (always the bride’s maid…). Billion Acts believes that through simple acts of thoughtfulness and empathy world peace is achievable. Bombastic and bold. Check it out and commit to sharing an act of kindness!
Back to the story…
Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within is Meng’s down-to-earth practical guide to help in the development of a regular mindfulness practice in one’s life. The end goal? You will lead yourself (naturally) to an infinite source of joy. Yes, creating joy for oneself is as natural (or can become) as the daily constitutional! For anyone. And the best part? The benefits extend to every aspect of life—our brains work better, our bodies function better, we achieve greater success at work, and we find ourselves highly attractive to the people around us. The more we exercise this skill, the more familiar we become with joy, the more we effortlessly gravitate toward it, and in so doing create a sustainable sense of wonder and contentment that can carry us throughout our entire life.
What? Me Practice?!?
The one thing that Meng does not mince words about is that accessing one’s own joy is a skill. Joy on Demand is Meng’s easy-to-read guide to help anyone willing to learn a new skill access infinite and natural sources of joy, equanimity, and inner calm. Like learning how to swing a golf club or learn to ski only practice and an openness to change does improvement in one’s mindfulness skills and resulting joy on demand come to fruition. I have committed to meditation each day. To make mindfulness practice a regular part of my life (like the daily constitutional) and easier to maintain I have developed some of my own habit-building strategies or reminders. Such as…
- Remember those days of stress and hurry when you don’t set aside 30 minutes at the beginning of your day to practice…?
- Meditate at the same time every day. Yep, 4:30 every morning (weekends and holidays included). At the same time, I forgive myself for missed practices (but 100% attendance is always the intention).
- Set an intention for the day at the beginning of each mindfulness practice.
- Mix it up! Some days it’s meditation in silence. Sometimes music and essential oils fill the background on accompaniment. Other days I turn to guided meditations from apps like HeadSpace and Insight Timer. Thousands and thousands to choose from! Variety helps to keep the sanity.
Jeff, This Is Your Dessssstinyyyyyy…?
My wife has recently committed to enrolling in the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute this spring. I’ll be honest, I’m very intrigued, excitedly proud (and a wee bit jealous) to see her move forward with her professional aspirations–making the world a better place–and feeling very inspired to follow her along this pathway. Maybe it’s time to truly create my own joy in the work that I do. And like Meng, “see every workplace in the world become a drinking fountain for happiness and enlightenment.” Yep.
So, what’s stopping me from diving in?
Stay tuned for more joy.