To me, the ultimate compliment I can give a person is to say, “That person makes me happy, always makes me feel better, and has a true sense of joy.”

Joy is contagious. Joy is freeing. Joy brings into focus our distorted perceptions. Greeting life with joy alters every experience for us and for those we share it with. My daily goal is to give the gift of joy to everyone I meet.

Sometimes, we confuse joy and pleasure. Pleasure depends on circumstances, and pleasures can come and go. What brings pleasure today may not bring it tomorrow. But joy is an experience that does not come and go. It is deep and real. The basic enemies of joy are worry, guilt and the fear of defeat.

We will find joy when we find acceptance of ourselves and our efforts and the belief that we are spiritual beings whose lives do have purpose and direction.

I have always been intrigued by laughter and sympathetic to people who have a sense of humor. For me, a day without laughter is a lost day. I’ve always loved to smile and to laugh all by myself and frequently at myself. I laugh because I am happy. It sets the rhythm of my soul. I am glad to be alive and to learn so many fascinating things about our incredible world. I am happy because there is so much fun and joy in the miracle of life.

I have always preferred those who have a sense of humor, who feel that life is beautiful, and who do not take daily tasks too seriously. They have sunshine and brilliance in their eyes. I like the jesters or joke tellers, those very special individuals who people gravitate to.

All of my life I have collected jokes and use them in my presentations. All great people I have known have had a deep sense of humor. It is almost a foolproof device for detecting greatness. People who take themselves too seriously are seldom really great.

I have had the pleasure to speak at several Optimist Clubs over the years. I love their positive creed:

“To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

We can expect to discover joyous occasions and will undoubtedly be visited by grief in our travels. However, no day passes without giving us many occasions to shout for joy. Too often, feeling alone and lonely, we close our eyes to the wonders that could excite us. The most fruitful lesson we can learn is that we have fellow travelers among whom joy abounds and multiplies when shared.