Architecting Joy

By Restoring the Soul of Business Archives
Cover image for  article: Architecting Joy

A definition of success is "the freedom to spend time in ways that gives one joy." Joy is more than happiness, which is often transitory as it ebbs and flows with external events. Joy is more akin to contentment and satisfaction. Some believe it is momentary, suggesting we have "flashes of joy." The joy that comes with deep satisfaction and contentment, however, endures and its contours do not waver with the oscillations of the transient. Experience, time and observation reveal there are ways to architect joy.

Joy Equals Grace + Flow + Connection

Joy encompasses grace, flow and connection. The joyous exhibit graciousness, they tend to be in a state of flow and connected to both reality, other people and some things higher and deeper.


Grace is a fusion of demeanor and deportment. The graceful combine a generosity of spirit, a sense of respect for others and a humility regardless of their level of excellence and skill.

Generosity of spirit in understanding that much of what is meaningful is not a zero-sum game. Respect others by being aware of them and their needs and backgrounds. Be humble in not losing one's sense of perspective -- that everybody's achievement, while significant, is due to a combination of many factors including luck, opportunity, inheritance and the specific time -- and not just due to skill and hard work.


When in a state of flow an individual is inside and outside time; deeply immersed in something while extracted from the ordinary.

It can come in many ways, including working on something which is challenging to stretch one but not so difficult that one cannot achieve positive outcomes. It can come from being immersed in making things, building things and creating things. And it comes from learning and seeking wisdom; in being able to connect the dots and see and understand things in ways that give one joy.


The joyous seem to have strong relationships to other people and to a higher cause or purpose. Humans are social beings and most need some form of connection. The ability to invest and grow connections tends to be associated with joy.

In addition to these human/family connections many gain joy by connecting to a higher cause or purpose. It may be a charity, it may be a social cause, a striving quest, or some form of a religious or spiritual endeavor.

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The Stones Used to Architect the Cathedral of Joy

Generosity, Respect and Humility engender Grace.

Creating, Learning and Challenges enable Flow.

Relationships, Purpose and Spirituality elicit Connection.

Intriguingly these are human and not specific to an industry, a race or country. They sometimes result in fame, power and money but they can thrive in the absence of these.

Try to create and build and learn. Invest in relationships and respect others without being full of oneself. Find a cause or calling. By mindfully focusing on and spending one's time in these ways one can architect joy.

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