Do you choose Joy?

August 23, 2016

"Joie de Vivre" by John Olsen - image from



“What joy there is in hearing yourself think,

and to make that thinking into ink.”   

John Olsen, AO, OBE 



Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of meeting John Olsen, one of Australia’s greatest living Artists.   He was joining a small group of us supporting the Art Gallery of NSW for lunch.


The setting was sublime…. Lunch at Bendooley Estate winery based in the heart of the Southern Highlands.   The fire was roaring, wine glasses were clinking, conversation was flowing and people had well and truly left their real world’s behind!


Arrive John Olsen.    Dressed in his maroon beret, cream roll-neck sweater and tweed blazer.  But this was well and truly AFTER his creative aura and passion for life had already entered the building.


It was unmistakeable.


At 88 years of age, John was the shining light and presence of the room.  You could literally feel the joy seeping from every pore of his being.   


I found myself fascinated.  I had expected to be enthralled by learning about John’s creative journey and hearing stories about his achievements.  But, as it turned out, I was most taken by who John is as a person and his approach to life.


Don’t get me wrong,  It was fascinating hearing his story about the challenges connected to the building of the Sydney Opera House and the time he spent painting his famous Sydney Opera House Mural.   But it was how he projected himself into the room and connected so easily with us, that was intoxicating. 



 John Olsen's unforgettable smile, age 88.  

Captured 13.08.16 at Bendooly Estate, NSW



After John left, I began to reflect on the exchange.


John lives in a way that so many thought leaders do.  He finds opportunity to take pleasure in the mundaneness of the every day.  He makes a conscious decision to choose optimism and embrace the opportunity to learn new things – even when set backs occur.  He thrives connecting with new ideas and new ways of thinking.  As a result he is infectious in his beliefs, what he creates and the way he is in the world.


I wanted to share this experience as there is something significant to be taken from it - that we all have CHOICE!


We can never choose what happens to us in life, but we can choose how we react to things and we can choose to do things that bring us joy.


How much are you finding time to do things that really bring you JOY?


Are you living your life in a way that holds you back from being JOYFUL?


To test  out how much joy you are choosing to bring into your life, you can take on the short challenge below.




What you’ll need

* Notepad

* Something to write with

* Scheduled 10 mins a day to yourself for a week


What to do 

Day 1:  

1. Write a list of all the activities that bring you JOY that you already do.


They don’t have to take long to do, but they must make you feel great.  They must leave you feeling richer, more content and perhaps bring a smile to your face.



Drinking your favourite coffee/tea/chai

Cuddling a loved one

Taking your pet for a walk

Create something


Having a bath

Watching your favourite movie

Dinner with an old friend

Visiting the Art Gallery

Getting a photo printed and framed

Going for a swim

Playing a game


2.  Write a list of all the activities that bring you JOY that you rarely get to do.


3. When you've finished both lists, rate how much joy you are experiencing or choosing to bring into your life on a scale of 1 - 10.  Be honest.  If you've given yourself a score of 10, Congratulations.  Clearly you already have a bountiful quantity of joy happening in your life.  Keep up the great work!  However, If you score lower than 10, then there's room for improvement over the course of the week.


Days 2 - 7:

Choose to do at least 4 of the things on the list each day that you already do which bring you Joy.  Even better if you do more. 

In addition, choose 1 - 2 things on your rarely get to do list and aim to do daily for 6 days.


At the end of each day, make a note of what you did and write down how it made you feel.  Did any new experiences take place that positively surprised you?  Was it easier to do than you thought it would be?  Was it worth the extra effort to do it?


Day 7:

At the end of your final day's reflection, take time to review what you've recorded.


Then, once again, rate how much joy you are experiencing in your life on a scale of 1 - 10.


Ideally your score will have increased and if it's not yet 10, you can take on the challenge again.


I know that making time to do new things in our busy lives is not easy.  But if we don't choose to create joy in our life, the alternative is definitely not as much fun!















Please reload

Don't forget to share!