Thinking About “Happiness, Joy and Big Fat Klout Scores”

klout 60

Mark Schaefer is one of my favorite online colleagues. We’re from the same town and run in the same e-circles, but have never actually managed to be in the same room at the same time. At any rate, his is one of the 3 or 4 blogs I try to catch up on each week. It’s a rare day that what he’s thinking (and writing about) doesn’t inspire some more thinking (and writing) by me.

This morning was no different.

Mark shared some thoughts about, well, happiness, joy, and big fat Klout scores. I’d love you to go read the whole post, but the essence was this:

QuoteOne of the things I discovered is that there is a difference between happiness and joy.  You can be happy about a hamburger.  You can be happy about a song. Happiness is temporary.  Joy is peace.

Living in a joyful way is a challenge but one key idea is staying focused on the reason for your journey.  If you KNOW why you are on your path, then you also have internal guideposts to lead the way. Stay focused on WHY you’re doing something.

But if your life is guided by external guideposts like Twitter followers, blog rankings … and even money … you might experience happiness but you will never experience joy because you will never achieve your goal. There will always be more, more, more to acquire. You won’t experience joy in the journey.

I was inspired to hijack comment on Mark’s post and he responded that my comments made a good blog post all on their own. I kind of chuckled — it was a long comment — but then I thought, heck, maybe I should include my thoughts here.

What I said:

QuoteNicely done, Mark.

Your thoughts send my thoughts in about 14 directions. The inner perfectionist in me wants me to go create a gorgeously written comment. The joyful Pollyanna I’ve chosen to cultivate says, “Just say it.” So here goes…

(1) The anecdote about the guy who is so focused on a Klout score that he’s forgotten to live life made me sad. It reminded me of the guy I knew who spent his entire summer in front of Joust so that no one could bump him from the leaderboard. At the 7-11. In College Station, TX. What a way to spend a summer.

(2) Then I got a little nauseous about the guy cheating on foursquare. It reminds me of my son. He’s all about the cheat codes. Why solve a puzzle if you can “mod in the solution”? It’s baffling behavior to me. What is an “accomplishment” worth if you didn’t actually accomplish it?

(3) Then I did a little whoop yell of joy over your choice to keep your blog spam free. While I completely understand the desire (and need!) to monetize our online realities, I like ads to look like ads, endorsements to look like endorsements, and articles to actually be articles. Those lines feel like integrity to me. Living with integrity — and surrounding myself with folks who do — brings me joy.

(4) It’s true what that say about joy v happiness. Flourishing is all about getting in touch with our authentic inner self, identifying the gifts we bring, and following that internal path. Sometimes it feels awkward to change our focus that way, but, as you’ve so beautifully said, the reward is pretty wonderful.

Mark’s post and my thinking about Mark’s post has colored my whole day.

I’m wondering how I help my son see the benefit of doing some stuff the hard way. I don’t mean that it’s never okay to take a short cut or get help with something. I do know that those peak experiences we seem to want in our lives rarely come without some self-satisfying effort in pursuit of them.

I’m reevaluating my online presence and how I spend my energy here. It’s not a new thing for me, but I think Mark makes a good point when he underlines that it really is something you have to keep refocusing your attention on.

I’m integrating my reaction to his turning down a pile of cash for his endorsements within his posts into how I do business. It isn’t a new reaction, but it demonstrates to me what I’ve known for years — I want people to choose to spend time with me because it is good for them, I bring them joy, I inspire them, and not because I’ve talked them into it through some magic of slick marketing.

Yep, I’m doing a whole lot of thinking. And the really cool thing is that I’m pretty delighted with where I am and how I’m doing with all of this stuff. Of course I have tweaking to do! I’m the last to declare that I’ve arrived at peak perfection. But, I do think I’m solidly on my journey and am so very grateful for those thoughtful colleagues who are along for the ride.


Updated Update on The Guy…

It turns out that the guy who had the seizure at my gym has epilepsy and had recently had a change in meds. Evidently the new meds weren’t working. He was released from the hospital the same day as his seizure. He didn’t break anything, but is very bruised.

The folks at my gym have taken this incident very seriously and are installing AEDs at all of the branches and putting everyone through advanced training in CPR and the like. Hopefully, they will never need to use the stuff.

Update on The Guy…

A couple of folks have asked about the guy who experienced the seizure. He fell very hard onto another elliptical trainer, where he had most of the seizure. There was some concern that he might have injured his neck/back, thus our having to keep him calm and on the floor. He was very disoriented and upset – and was still pretty out of it when he left for the hospital. He does have epilepsy, and his seizures are evidently few and far between – rare enough for him to drive. I am hoping to get an update when I go to the gym, tomorrow. I will let you know if I learn anything more.

After the ambulance left, my adreneline levels were through the roof, thus the continued workout. It felt like the best way to get calmed back down.

Life’s Never Dull…

Red CrossI overcame my serious apathy and headed out in the heat to complete workout 34/200. About 20 minutes into my run to nowhere, the guy on the elliptical trainer next to me experienced a grand mal seizure which threw him off of the machine, and rendered him unconscious for a couple of minutes. Everyone acted very quickly, and his dad and an ambulance were there in minutes. Luckily there was a doctor on the treadmill in front of us. (I thought it was only in the movies that a doctor was always hand for such emergencies, but evidently not.) He was able to sort of take over the scene and kept everyone calm.

For my part, I did manage to keep my wits about me long enough to call 911 (The dispatcher argued with me over where my gym is located. Gee, dude, I come here every day. I think I know where it is!) and talk the guy who had the seizure into staying on the floor until the ambulance arrived. He seemed scared and so I talked to him like I do my own kids. I am such a mom. It can be annoying to people who are attempting to exert their independence, but I mother everyone. It comes in handy when something like this happens.

(The preceding is a message brought to you by Gina’s New Mission to Be Self Affirming.)

Oh, and for you who tend toward the fitness-obsessed end of the scale, I did get back on the elliptical trainer for another 50 minutes.

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