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  • John O'Leary

Vacation Is Over: How To Find Joy In The Day-To-Day

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

Does it have to be over already?

This is the thought that crossed my mind as we packed up to leave Florida last Friday. I’d just spent a week on the beach with my family and dear friends, away from the noise and distractions of everyday life. Finding joy in the beauty of nature, the laughter of my kids, and quiet moments with my wife.

Now it was back to reality.

But does it really have to be that way? Why can’t this relaxed feeling of joy continue once I get home?

The truth is that it can and it must.

Especially because there will be years for all of us when schedules, finances, or family situations don’t allow us to get away for vacation or even a quick weekend getaway. That is why today I am sharing an excerpt from my book #1 National Bestselling book On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life that reminds us to find joy in the everyday moments of life.

These are the moments we must celebrate.


Excerpt from the #1 National Bestselling book, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life Published by Simon & Schuster’s North Star Way


I recently had the opportunity to speak at a leadership event for one of my absolute favorite companies, Southwest Airlines. Also invited to present was one of my favorite speakers, Brené Brown. In the last five years, she has become one of the world’s leading experts on vulnerability, courage, and leading an authentic life.

What stuck out to me the most during her talk was this:

“The number one joy indicator, the one thing that will predict whether someone feels joy in their life or not, is the practice of gratitude.”

This is not her opinion. It is fact. She has been studying this stuff for twelve years.

Her research shows that joy is not a question of what happens to you, how much money you have in the bank, your looks, your kids, or the vacations you’re able to afford. It’s about actively choosing to practice...gratitude.

As she writes in her book Daring Greatly, “In fact, every participant who spoke about the ability to stay open to joy also talked about the importance of practicing gratitude. This pattern of association was so thoroughly prevalent in the data that I made a commitment as a researcher not to talk about joy without talking about gratitude.”

You can’t have joy without gratitude.

But what surprised her in her research was that the things that people were the most grateful for were the ordinary things in life. The sound of your spouse’s laugh, the smell of morning coffee, the echo of children playing in the yard. The little things.

In waiting for the big moments- the vacations, the retirements, the birthdays - we risk missing the experiences of life most worthy of celebrating.

I’m grateful that I am now paying attention and celebrating the little things. I now understand that there are no “ordinary” moments.

It’s all a gift, all a miracle.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

John O’Leary

What are you grateful for today? Take 60 seconds to make a list and share it in the comments.

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