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Tiny Wisdom: Stumbling on Unexpected Joy

Laughing Buddha

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~Henri Nouwen

The other day I saw the movie Moneyball after originally deciding it wasn’t for me. I did the same thing with The Blind Side—I assumed I wouldn’t like it because I’m not a sports fan. I realized how wrong I was when I left the theater both laughing and crying (I’m emotionally ambidextrous).

I’ve done this many times before—made a snap judgment about whether or not I’d enjoy an experience based on assumptions and incomplete  information. And not just when it comes to entertainment. I’ve bowed out of Indian food, country music concerts, and even hiking, all of which I’ve come to love, but not quickly or easily.

Oftentimes, the stronger my initial resistance, the more stubborn I am about admitting my resistance was unfounded.

Maybe you’ve been there before. A friend invites you to an art festival and you assume it’s not for you because you don’t generally enjoy museums. Or your sister invites you to a themed party and you choose not to go because you don’t love dressing up.

While we obviously can’t say yes to everything, and we have every right to honor our preferences, we often underestimate our potential for enjoyment.

Like the relationship that develops between two unlikely friends or the sun that peaks through the clouds in a sky that was supposed to be gray, unexpected joy is sometimes the most satisfying.

Say yes today—not to everything, and not to things you feel strongly opposed to doing, but to something you think you won’t like. Try that new restaurant, meet up with a new friend, or get up and sing karaoke. Do it assuming there will be something worth experiencing–something you’ll learn, enjoy, or gain.

Happiness has a way of finding us when we’re open to creating it.

Laughing Buddha image via Shutterstock

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journal, and Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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