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Joy-Based Decision Making

I mean, there really isn’t a reason for me to do it, I could hear myself saying as I tried to justify a decision that chose productivity over Happiness. I’ve always been a big fan of multitasking.

When I realized that a favorite activity of my first year of college friends was sitting around our dorm room talking, I taught myself how to knit so I could be doing something while we all hung out. It wasn’t enough to just sit and be present.

I carry a book with me everywhere I go. Doctors office, meeting a friend for lunch, going to work. Part of that is being a New York City subway commuter, but a bigger part of that is knowing that if I’m early or have time to kill, sitting quietly with nothing to do isn’t my forte.

After switching my major/minors combination a few times in university, I spent an hour playing with the academic handbook and figuring out how I could make certain classes count for multiple requirements to assure I would graduate early. Everything had to fit perfectly to make the best use of my time.

Then I was presented with an opportunity to do something that by all intents and purposes wasn’t going to help me with my job or with The Smile Project. It was simply a fun chance to travel with two dear friends.

It was simply something that would bring me joy.

A few days later, as I laid under the stars, I thought about how I make decisions. I used to joke that rather than flip a coin, I would weigh my two options and decide which one I would regret more. Usually, pretty fail proof.

But what if I added a new level to some of the bigger decisions I would be making in the coming months and years of my life. What if I became accustomed to doing things because they made me happy? End mark.

Nothing else. No double meaning. No hidden agenda. No “two birds with one stone” type thing. Just joy.

What if I focused on joy-based decision making? What would that kind of life look like?

In the past couple weeks since this phrase has been bouncing around my mind, I have seen myself spend an entire morning reading a book, hike at a World Heritage Site and one of the lushest rainforests in the world, eat vegan nachos at a diner in Santa Monica at 1 am, climb to the top of a scenic overlook to watch the sunset with a friend, try new recipes, run on new trails, turn strangers to dear friends, and dance in the kitchen while putting away the dishes.

Joy-Based Decisions. Not because they are always the most practical or productive, but because they are fun. Because they are light. Because they bring me back to the person I want to be. Because they radiate Happiness.

This week, I challenge you to break from routine for a few hours and embark on an expedition for joy – simply because it will make you smile.

Love always,


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