Joy Someday vs. Joy Now (the ultimate Yes to yourself)

Joy Someday vs. Joy Now (the ultimate Yes to yourself)

If you’re like most people, you have no problem working hard, and making sacrifices to reach your goals.

We’re told stories about great heroes and revolutionaries that defied the odds by working hard, giving things up and making tough choices. You realize that sometimes you need to suck it up and grind when the going gets tough.

It’s a game of Joy Someday. You’ve gotta put in the time if you want to make it happen. The spoils go to those who tough it out. Good things come to those who wait.

That’s the narrative we’re told. And the truth is… it’s complete bullshit.

There’s another, more effortless, alternative path that rarely gets heralded on the evening news. It’s one of Joy Now, not some day. It’s a life of incredible reward and immediate gratification.

It replaces ladders and stepping stones with a path you never want to escape from.

It’s a life that doesn’t involve a pot of gold at the end of the next degree, the next promotion, the next launch. It’s about creating something because it’s dying to be born, not because it’s another task on your prerequisite list.

When I was 5 years old, my mom told me that happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment.
I told them they didn’t understand life.
– John Lennon

There are no obligations you must fulfill before experiencing incredible happiness in your work and life. You don’t need to become something first. You don’t need the house first, or the testimonial, or the right number on your bathroom scale.

The only thing you need is to say Yes, to yourself.

No strings. No after I do X. Right… now.

Question: How can you say yes and ditch the prerequisites to your bliss?

photo courtesy of artfulblogger


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Comment & Add Your Voice

ethanwaldman December 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

What a great John Lennon quote! The mentality that “I’ll be happy when I have X” will never go away. Once you get X, you’ll only be happy if you can have Y. I think another key issue here is that we attach way too much of our happiness to things, rather than experiences.


JonathanMead December 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

@ethanwaldman You’re right. The rabbit hole goes a long way down.

Midlife Maverick December 13, 2011 at 11:57 am

Nice post Jonathan. Isn’t it amazing how difficult we find following, or doing, what makes us happy!!!


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

@Midlife Maverick Yeah, it’s crazy isn’t it? I often look at other people doing what they want and my first reaction is “how irresponsible!” and then I smack myself. :)

SeanDavis December 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

For me, saying yes and ditching the prerequisites involved getting out of the US Army after 8 1/2 years of active duty services and three tours to Iraq. I was good at being a Soldier and I could have easily done it until retirement.

That’s the thing, though. I felt like I had to do it for 20 years in order to retire… which in my mind meant stop working for someone else and pursue the things that mean the most to me. But really, do I have to wait until retirement for that? And is that even an accurate image of real life retirement? Hell no.

I knew that I could either wait it out and take my chances, or make a move now and aggressively pursue the life I wanted to live.

I’m 27, don’t ever plan on working for anyone else again… and I’m happier than I have ever been before.


dikedrummond December 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Now is the time and happy is one of the “soul signs” you are on the right path. If you are like me, you can feel your clock ticking … so let’s get on with it.

Right on Jonathan


mikerouten December 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

@JonathanMead Great post! I know that I frequently fall into the “After I do X…” trap. However, I have found that there are two things that I can control that bring me happiness.

The first is realizing the wonderful possibilities that lay ahead of me. They are out there. For everyone. We just don’t choose to see them as often as we should.

The second is taking action on one or more of those possibilities with a positive outlook. When I am working towards a goal, that is when I am happy.

Don’t defer your happiness until after you reach your goal, enjoy the journey.


Loran Hills December 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Today I embraced the dark and it disappeared.


JonathanMead December 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

@Loran Hills Beautifully said.

rightbrainrockstar December 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Great post. We need to focus on enjoying the journey and stop worrying so much about the destination!


AnnieD December 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I’ve been focusing so much on the little improvements recently that I’m forgetting to start working toward the big picture.

This post really rings true to me for that reason. I need to dedicate myself and my time–my future self deserves better than to be “put on hold.”


Seth Leonard December 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I’ve been thinking about this very fact as I walk my dog every morning. Usually, I’m completely focused on the day ahead and what I need to do. And I’m often dreaming about what life will be like when I’ve gotten to where I think I need to be. The last few days I’ve realized that I’m walking my dog on a beautiful day, the sun is coming through the autumn leaves, and I get to go home and work on my own projects. Not sure what else I’m looking for. Thanks, Jonathan.


JonathanMead December 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

@Seth Leonard That’s so awesome Seth. It’s important to remember to enjoy where we are. It’s too easy to get on an endless pursuit to finding that joy someday. The truth is there is nothing missing at all, and even if we want to create something more, it should be an expansion of what we experience now.

RobTew December 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Great advice my friend. I’m going to post this at my quotes page


calceola December 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm

you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one – another quote from John Lennon.

The best day to start something meaning-/useful was 5 Years ago, the second best is today.

I really enjoy my life, every single day, because thats the why the love goes.

Thanks for the post.


mehawley December 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I tried “naming my own price” but it didn’t work. Is there an issue with the page?


JonathanMead December 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

@mehawley You should be able to edit the price. If you have trouble email our support team at support@paidtoexist2.loc

thechadisstuck December 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

This idea of happiness as something “attainable” is a fairly new concept in our history as humans, and it’s an unbelievably incorrect one, as you said here Jonathan. Happiness can be cultivated daily by finding what you adequately titled Joy Now.


thechadisstuck December 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

This idea of happiness as something “attainable” is a fairly new concept in our history as humans, and it’s an unbelievably incorrect one, as you said here Jonathan. Happiness can be cultivated daily by finding what you adequately titled Joy Now.


spiritsentient December 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Awesome Jon. I totally agree and encourage this view.Society somehow, some way, has gotten it backwards.I’ve lived by this “yes to yourself” for a long time. People might not call it ‘joy’ from outside perspectives (homeless, arrested, failed businesses, betrayals, etc.) — but it was free, it was me, and it was me saying yes to whatever felt right to me.Reminds me of the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey.On the other hand, we all have things we ‘want’ (if we didn’t, why would anyone get out of bed, move, or do anything?) – and the reason we ‘want’ certain things is because we envision them bringing more happiness. These ‘wants’ are the backbone of our evolution, it seems. :)


JonathanMead December 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm

@spiritsentient Yeah and I think it’s totally possible to want more, but still be rooted in happiness now. That’s the whole point, right?

taichikeaton December 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Excellent post.

The funny thing is, instead of saying yes to myself, it’s been more like “yeah, but no, but yeah” and there’s been so much uncertainty becuase I’ve fallen into a bad habit of still somedaying it.

It’s been frustrating as I would think to myself, “Gah! When is it going to get here?”

It’s been on my mind for a while, and this is just what I needed to get moving again.

For most of this month, I’ve been working on some new goals for the new year and asking myself what steps I need to take. I can claim my bliss now when I allow myself to live my dreams and don’t back down from what I really want in my life. I know I am on track when I set measurable goals and focus on the end result.


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 8:42 am

@taichikeaton Glad that it inspired you. Sounds like you have some awesome goals for 2012.

GinaRafkind December 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Just Do It!………I also make sure to notice everything around me……..that makes me enjoy the journey I’m on and always, at least most of the time, be aware of how I’m feeling………that’s how I say YES……. :)

And I love all the beliefs and conditioning that has showed up in my life so I can choose to change it…….and I love that Lennon quote!

thanks Jonathon!


ChaoticKatieP December 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

“Replace ladders and stepping stones with a path you never want to escape from.” ~ done and done :)


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

@ChaoticKatieP I like your enthusiasm Katie. :)

BonitaRoseK December 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Loved reading this.. and I so agree.. our happiness begins NOW.. with the life we are living at this moment. To heck with waiting. I want to live happy now. xo hugs thks for sharing. Loved reading this!


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

@BonitaRoseK Thanks Bonita. Glad you stopped by.

kirstinpinit December 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I like the idea of saying Yes, but I admit that at the end of this post I was still thinking, “Exciting idea, but HOW do I actually do this?”

And then tonight after dinner with my two little boys, I am cleaning up and my 6yo wants to show me something he’s working on. In that moment I noticed that I could easily put him off until the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean. Or I could pause, say YES, give him my attention, and then go back to the dishes.

I said Yes.


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

@kirstinpinit That’s so great. Thanks for sharing that Kirstin.

_MoneyCoach_ December 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I think a distinction needs to be made, though, between creating your own dream life and receiving the instant gratification, and this new generation who expect immediate gratification because that’s how they’ve been raised. I agree that we don’t have to slog through our lives, waiting for retirement before we can begin to enjoy, but there certainly is an aspect of work/creating/manifesting that must happen first.

But, hey, there are days when I let my kids eat their dessert first. A little insta gratification won’t kill them. (;


AdrianneLaconi December 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

@_MoneyCoach_ I think that we can have gratification in choosing to work hard on the path we choose to create. The journey is the part that makes everything interesting. We can find and choose joy in that

TreehouseChatter December 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

Love it!
Sometimes I strategically place happiness roadblocks in my own way. When I catch myself, I’ll say to my ego “hey ego, thanks for trying to protect me bit it’s all good!”.
Thanks for the encouragement to sat yes to happ!
Much love,


JonathanMead December 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

@TreehouseChatter Yeah, I think it’s the ego’s natural response to life. The idea that you can experience joy *right now* kind of threatens its existence.

jeffgoins December 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

How do you name your own price? The only price that seems to work is $20. Help?


AdrianneLaconi December 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

@jeffgoins You should be able to edit the field and then update the cart. Try clearning your cookies if it is still not working. If you are still having trouble please send an email to support@paidtoexist2.loc

sodir December 14, 2011 at 9:36 am

I loved it, I just came to a realization about your words this past Monday. Reading all that information about success, it finally all clicked that we must have it NOW before we can receive it tomorrow.


PaigeBurkes December 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

This is exactly what I spend so much time writing about. I feel like it has taken me a while to understand the subtle distinction between setting goals and working toward them vs. deciding what kind of person I want to be and what kind of life I want to have and making choices from that place. I may have a goal of losing some weight and, as long as I haven’t achieved my goal, I’m not happy. Or I can decide to be a healthy person and make healthy diet and lifestyle choices every moment of every day and enjoy every moment of my life (and lose the weight anyway).

Acceptance of “the way things are” is key to being happy right now, no matter what crap may be surrounding me. It is what it is and there’s usually so little of it that I can control. I do what I can and accept the outcome and keep moving forward happily.

Whenever I’m feeling a negative emotion, I stop and ask myself, “Is this how I want my life to be?” The answer is no and I choose happiness and gratitude.


SellWhatYouKnow December 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Great post, thanks! I was on a teleseminar recently and someone said, “what if you decide that this IS your great life already, instead of thinking it’s somewhere off in the future? I found that helped because when I started to get caught up in whatever BS since, I just thought, “does this fit with my great life?”


Jeff - Digital Nomad Journey January 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm

There has to be a balance between instant gratification and patience. Someday = I’m too scared to sacrifice or take action NOW.

I’ve found acting “as if”, really help. Act like the person you aspire to become today, not once you’ve completed X or Y.

A funny thing starts to happen, you wake up one day to find you are the person your dreamed of becoming.

Best of luck in 2012 Jonathan!


be happy damnit January 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I am a big fan of that quote. It really puts things into perspective when you thin about it. Being happy should be your main focus. You can surely be sucessful, but if you aren’t happy, whats the point?


CorinneRodrigues February 17, 2012 at 5:25 am

Jonathan – I’ve been sold on this idea for the last four years – and I so agree with what you say. I threw ‘someday’ out and adopted happiness every day instead! Great post, as always!


teresacapaldo March 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

Great post and great quote from Lennon.  So many of us had embedded the same notion as our parents about picking one thing to do in life, and sticking with it for the duration.  
Seeing our parents struggle sometimes puts the fear of god in kids that they can’t be happy until what?  I am near dead?  I am retired and have a nice beach house in Florida?  
Joy means different things for each of us but Joy can be had each and every day and is not measured by anything on the outside, it is about believing and loving ourselves and doing what we instinctively believe in that comes from within us…even if it doesn’t make sense to others.


BonitaRoseK March 14, 2012 at 9:14 am

Yes I have dreams. Yes I have goals. But I choose to live my life happy and joyful every day.. while I’m waiting. You must. Otherwise, you live a wasted life. xo bonitarose in Fargo


Penny October 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I’ve been thinking about this lately as though I have fulfilled many of my dreams, and I earn a living doing what I love, I often get bogged down in the day-to-day and don’t feel happy in the moment. There is something about the stress of negotiating and wrangling for a living with my paid work that does dirty it somehow.

I’ve decided that I’d like to pursue a couple more creative avenues that I will do without any thought of charging for them at any point. They will be: music (singing) and crystal ball gazing!


Lehua February 7, 2013 at 1:17 am

Love it Jonathan! Especially the quote. I get so caught up in my overachiever tendencies that I lose sight of where I am, and how enjoyable THIS MOMENT can be. Or I get caught up in self doubt, thinking that SOMEDAY is just too far away.

The truth is, you’re right- happiness is waiting for me to reach out and embrace it. I just have to see more clearly. I’m not alone on this journey… it’s been here all this time; I just have to acknowledge it! :)


spiritsentient December 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

@JonathanMead Amen Jon, “I love where I am, I’m cool, I’m happy — AND I’m eager for more.”I ‘preach’ it all day long (and it’s a running theme for you and your peeps too, :) I had a coaching call today on just this very thing :D Again, thanks for the reminder :D


_MoneyCoach_ December 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

@AdrianneLaconi@_MoneyCoach_ I totally agree. It’s just that with credit card and other debt being what it is these days (totally out of control!!), people clearly aren’t putting in the work on their path before getting the gratification, which is sad. I agree that the work we do, the path we are on is what it’s all about!


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