The other night, my wife and I found a documentary on the devastating tsunami that hit the northern part of Japan in 2011. It killed tens of thousands of people. The documentary centered around a local holy man and his wife. This religious leader was very involved in the community and tried numerous ways to help the survivors cope with the loss that nearly everyone in the area felt. When they started getting people together for what he said was, “coffee and delicious cakes” to help the grievers talk about things, was when people started to heal. It was during this healing that the religious leader’s wife said this quote; “I advocate for more joy.” It was at that exact moment I found the motto for my Tribe of Up. I advocate for more joy. What a statement. A wave of water that measured over 130 feet high after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 20,000 people and this woman’s 5-word message helped rebuild a community. “I advocate for more joy.”

This little social experiment dubbed the Tribe of Up has started to take root. I have had many people reach out letting me know how much they appreciate a little up in our crazy world. Let me say how much I appreciate your appreciation. I will keep writing as long as up is needed. But let me stop for a moment to challenge all of you to advocate for more joy. Don’t wish for it. Don’t hope. Advocate for it. Demand it. Be joy’s champion. This time of year, is a happy time of reflection, presents, lights and hope for many. For others it is a time of dread. There are people in our community who simply can’t give the gifts they want to give. They have more month than money. Others have suffered loss and are saddened to spend the holidays without loved ones. It’s these folks where more joy is needed. Advocate for more joy. How do we do this you may ask? I’d like to offer a few simple ways.

  1. Smile. Smile and mean it. Say hello, or good morning and mean it. Let people feel your joy.
  2. If you are able, pay it forward for someone without fanfare or credit. Let people feel the joy of your success and good fortune.
  3. Take stock and give thanks. We are truly blessed to live in such a great community with such great tribes all around us. Turn everything off for 5 minutes and truly give thanks. No phones or tablets. No computers or TVs. Find 5 quiet minutes and really take stock of all that is going right in your life right now. In 5 minutes, I was able to jot down many, many things I am extremely thankful for. I’d like to challenge all of you to spend 5 minutes coming up with your joys.
  4. See number 1. Smiling is contagious, just like yawns and sneezes. More smiles, less yawns!

Choose to advocate for more joy. Fellow tribesmen and women, we need more joy in this world. Advocate for it. Happy Holidays to you all!

Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter resident, head of BetterPlace Consulting, a company specializing in all things people and the self-appointed leader and Chief Joy Advocate for the Tribe of Up. Let him know if you need some joy at steve@betterplacemgmt.com

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