Essential Walk #7: Joy and Gratitude

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 22, Issue No. 5a
January 15, 2024

By Dan Coughlin


What is my Purpose

Your essence consists of your thoughts, emotions, and will.

Egotism can fill your essence with intense short-term emotions like a sugar-high, anger, short-term euphoria, and resentment.

However, you can also work to fill your essence with long-term healthy emotions. One of those is joy.

My favorite definition of joy is the feeling you get from a sustained focus on gratitude. Instead of being a short-term intense emotion that serves as a short-term pleasure, joy is an emotion that can fuel your essence over the long term.

A brownie can give you a short-term immediate pleasure.

Writing for 15 minutes about what you are grateful for in your spouse and in your children goes much deeper into your positive emotions and lasts much longer.

Joy is a gift that you can carry with you into your conversations and situations all day long. As with most things that increase the health of your essence, it is very important to invest a significant amount of time into being grateful for different aspects of your life.

Essential Walk Questions for You to Consider

  1. Write down the names of five non-family and non-work people who have had a positive impact on your life, preferably at different times in your life and in different situations. What are you grateful for from each of those individuals?
  2. Write down the names of five of your relatives whom you are grateful for. What are you grateful for from each of those individuals?
  3. Write down the names of five people whom you have worked with. What are you grateful for from each of those individuals?

Challenge yourself to really focus on each name and push yourself to dig deep into the reasons why you are grateful for each person. Linger with each name. Keep adding more and more reasons why you are truly grateful for that person.

Notice how much deeper your joy can become. Joy is a long-lasting positive emotion that can get deep into your essence and affect your words and actions in a positive way for a very long time.

Joy is a tremendous asset in the fight against egotism, an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Joy turns the focus to other people and helps you to uncover what you are grateful for in them rather than what you are critical of in them.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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