Morgan Housel, Trevor Noah and Isaac Watts (the author of the Hymn Joy to the World) walk into a bar … Well … actually they didn’t walk into a bar – but they have been taking up space in my head over the last week. It took me a bit to reconcile how these three, vastly different thinkers, were related. And then it hit me:
Joy. It all comes back to joy.
I know – seems a little far-fetched (even though it IS in the title of the song). Stick with me (and really stick with me when I bring in DaBaby) – it will all make sense in the end. Or at least it makes sense in my head!
I work in the field of wellness – namely helping leaders and organizations create sustainable wellness habits to support success and joy. One of the subtle aspects of wellness we can explore is the power of understanding and empathy. I often talk about extending this power to ourselves, but extending it to others can also be a profound part of your wellness journey.
I was listening to my favorite namesake, Rachel Hollis the other day and she had on Morgan Housel – author of The Psychology of Money and Same as Ever (both of which are now on my ever-growing reading list). Housel posed a question that resonated deeply with me: "What have you experienced that I have not?"
What have you experienced that I have not. What an amazing question to ask when you are in communication with someone with whom you disagree. What have you experience that I have not – what in your past has brought you to this way of thinking. No judgement – just how have the experiences in your life – which are different than mine – brought you to this conclusion.
And then today, Trevor Noah was talking at the beginning of his podcast (and if you haven’t listened – SO good!!!) about opening our minds to people who think and act contrary to our own values. He said “I’m intrigued by how people get to where they are. And what informs the decisions that they make and the people that they become”. Basically – the same sentiment of Housel – BUT then he followed that up with having DaBaby on his podcast.
Now – before you stop reading – I didn’t even know who DaBaby was. I know, I know – so musically sheltered! But Noah, in his gracious way challenged all of us to be open. His conversation with DaBaby, underscores a crucial point: the necessity of understanding and forgiveness. As Noah expressed, "We give or hold back grace from people because of what we do not know about them." This sentiment raises pertinent questions about our responsibility to listen, understand, and forgive, even when faced with actions that may seem difficult to reconcile with our own beliefs.
Let's be clear – understanding and forgiveness do not equate to condoning harmful actions. The responsibility lies in acknowledging the differences in our realities while seeking a common ground rooted in compassion. DaBaby's story may be distant from our own, but our commitment to listening and understanding serves a broader purpose: fostering joy.
OK – perhaps jumping to joy (not for joy) is a bit of a reach – but if we really listen to each other – allow each of us to be who we were truly meant to be – then we get to experience joy internally and WITH (one of my favorite words!) each other.
Which leads me to Joy to the World. This is, by far, my favorite song. Not just my favorite hymn or my favorite Christmas song - but MY FAVORITE SONG! The lyrics remind me that joy is not merely an individual pursuit; it's a collective experience that transcends boundaries. When we embrace the perspectives shared by Housel and Noah, we unlock the potential to bring joy not only into our lives but into the lives of others as well.
By understanding the diverse paths people walk and forgiving based on what we don't know, we contribute to a world where joy can flourish. It's a journey that requires active listening, an open heart, and a willingness to bridge the gaps that separate us. As we navigate this terrain, we discover the capacity within ourselves to bring joy not only to those we understand effortlessly but also to those whose realities seem worlds apart from our own.
Let’s all sprinkle joy like glitter this holiday season … getting it all over everyone and everything!