Make Joy Treaties With the People In Your Life

Any two people, be they acquaintances, close friends, or romantic partners, can look at the same sunset and have two completely different experiences.  One person can be in absolute awe of how pristine the sunset is and find the experience of the sunset to be utterly joyful.  While the other person can be worried about the huge To-Do list that he or she feels urgency to accomplish.  This second person might find the experience of watching the sunset much less than joyful and almost downright frustrating.

While their experiences of watching the sunset are very different, these two people are both responsible for the quality of the interaction they have with one another as they watch the sunset.  They can either be kind and generous in their words to each other or they can complain and argue with one another

Each one of us is ultimately responsible for the degree of joy we feel or don’t feel at any given moment.  Yet in interactions, we work with whomever we happen to be interacting with to make the interaction more or less joyful.

When two people interact with each other, they each have the opportunity to shape the quality and feelings of that experience.  Complaining and arguing can become a major part of any two people’s interactions, almost to the point where it seems as if complaining and arguing is the agreed upon focus of the relationship.  This focus can be exhausting, hurtful and stressful, not to mention, that it’s not much fun.

Considering this I got to wondering, what would it be like if the vast majority of our interactions with people close to us were full of joy?

If we step back and think about it, isn’t this really the life we want for the people close to us and ourselves?

So towards this end, I’m beginning to make JOY TREATIES with my friends and family.  Whereas a peace treaty focuses the participants’ attention on choosing to create peace, a JOY TREATY focuses participants’ attention on choosing to create joy.  Isn’t this a fun idea?

Will a JOY TREATY with somebody guarantee that we never again complain and argue with him or her?  Of course not!  We are human so we want room to complain and argue when things are going really poorly.  But just as a compass can serve as a guide when we find ourselves lost in the woods, a JOY TREATY can serve as a guide when we find ourselves lost in complaining or arguing.

JOY TREATIES can make a difference.  Just think of how absolutely FUN it would be if the vast majority of the conversations you had were full of joy. (If the vast majority of your conversations are already filled with joy, definitely celebrate that.)  Can you imagine somebody asking you when the last time you argued or complained was and looking at him or her funny and saying, “It’s been so long, I honestly have no idea.”  How GREAT would that be?  How much FUN would that be?

Joy Treaty

{_NAME___} and {_NAME___} hereby freely and happily agree to endeavor to create joy in all of our interactions.

We acknowledge that at all times the choice to feel joyful or other than joyful is an individual choice, and that we are each ultimately responsible for feeling our own joy.

Within this understanding of our freedom to feel our own joy, we are creating the intention to have joy be what we are seeking in our interactions and in our shared experiences together. We are choosing to see the best in each other and bring out the best in each other, simply because it brings us so much joy.

This Joy Treaty can serve as a compass to guide us back towards joy when we find ourselves complaining or arguing. We acknowledge that there are countless emotions that come up in close relationships, both joyful and not so joyful. This Joy Treaty is not an agreement to fake joy regardless of how we are feeling. Rather, when we are feeling bad, frustrated or angry in our relationship, to authentically and gently share those feelings as a way of getting back on a path that leads to joy. To authentically share hard feelings takes courage and integrity, which is part of what makes the path of creating intentional joy a deeply rewarding path.

Joy is one of the highest emotions that we as humans can feel. Because it feels so good, we choose to find joy in our relationship as a way of living our lives more fully.

We hereby agree to abide by the goodness within this Joy Treaty.

_________________________
Signature of Participant One

_________________________
Date

_________________________
Signature of Participant Two

_________________________
Date

 Game of the Day

  1. Who do you want to make a JOY TREATY with?
  2. Print off the JOY TREATY above or compose you own.
  3. Show it to the person you want to make the JOY TREATY with.
  4. If they agree to it, have a JOY TREATY signing party.
  5. Enjoy the fruits of the JOY TREATY in your relationship.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

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The Sudden Nice Surprise of Meeting New People

People meet each other suddenly.   One minute they haven’t met, and just like that, the next minute they have.

Sometimes it seems to me that it takes a long time to meet new friends, but whereas there might be a time between meeting new friends that seems long in duration, the process of actually meeting a person who could become a new friend happens in a minute.

Think about the friend you have known the longest. One minute you hadn’t met them and the next minute you had.

Even if a mutual friend had wanted you both to meet for years, there was still a moment when you actually met.

Now it may have taken some time for your friendship to develop, but now you can look back on the day you met them and say, “Wow!  My life is better because of the SUDDEN NICE SURPRISE of meeting that day and the friendship that developed from our meeting.”

Meeting the people who could become new friends happens in a minute.  Think about it.  Today you could meet a new person who might become a life-long friend.  Imagine how much joy you could bring into each other’s lives.  And it all starts in a minute!

Game of the Day

Keep your eyes open for the SUDDEN NICE SURPRISE of meeting new people who you could become your friends.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

What’s Your Basic Assumption About People?

It’s unanimous! Everyone wants you to achieve your dreams! 

Do you believe the words in the line above? If not, how would your life be different if you deeply believed the above sentence?

I pose this question because for many years my basic assumption about people was that I needed to prove to them that I was somebody.  Armed with this assumption, I used to feel driven to debate with the strong intent of proving my point, or said in another way, I used to like to just plain argue with people.  I was a pro at getting in arguments with friends and family.  These arguments were mostly of the mild variety but arguments nevertheless.

What I gradually discovered was that I was automatically assuming that people would discount me.  And when I assumed people were going to automatically discount me, I would start to argue with them to PROVE myself to them.  And when I started arguing, they would often be motivated to defend their view and discount my opinion, thereby conveniently proving my assumption that people would discount me.  (Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.)

All my arguments really proved was that I was good at beginning arguments.

If my basic assumption about people had been, “It’s unanimous! Everyone wants you to achieve your dreams,” would I have started so many arguments?  Of course not!  Why argue with people who wanted me to achieve my dreams?  

When we make the assumption that others are rooting for us, we offer far more respect to ourselves and everyone else.  Also believing that everyone is on our side naturally inspires us to start acting in a more positive way towards others and to minimize our arguing.  These changes in our actions empower people to be as kind and supportive towards us.

I’ve found that people are often as kind and supportive towards us as we assume them to be.

(Our general assumption about people may be occasionally disproved in practice and should not displace common sense.  We will see in the course of our interactions with some people that they, for whatever reason, definitely do not have our best interest at heart.  Then we take steps appropriate to that situation.)

Our basic assumption about other people seems to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, kind of like how a boomerang comes right back to us.   If this is the case, I’m all for making really super-amazing assumptions about other people and about life.

Game of the Day

What is your basic assumption about how people will treat you?

Are you happy with your current assumption about how other people will treat you or do you want to experiment with making a different assumption?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Honoring the Opportunity To Talk With a Friend (When You Feel Down)

Having a conversation with a friend when you feel down can be a highly rewarding experience for both you and your friend.  This conversation is an amazing opportunity to honor your friend by celebrating the fact that you trust them enough to confide in them.

From my experience with this type of talk, I’ve found that there are a few things to keep in mind so that this conversation can be a strong positive experience for both of you.

  1. Honor your friend’s schedule (if possible)- Sometimes, when we are feeling down, we tend to call our friend with the intention of talking about how we are feeling right this minute.  This strategy can be hard on our friend because they are often already in the middle of doing something.  So it’s probably most effective to schedule a time to talk.  Scheduling a time to talk helps insure that our friend is in a place to give us their full attention.  And it also allows us to collect our thoughts and become clearer as to what we want to talk with our friend about.  (The exception to scheduling a time to talk is if you really feel you are in an emergency situation.  Then call your friend and say, “I am in an emergency situation, can we please talk now.)
  2. As you talk to your friend, honor their listening by expressing how you are feeling honestly and clearly.
  3. Express emotion to your level of comfort.  Do this in such a way that you are expressing how you feel, and at the same time honoring the safety of both you and your friend.  This means that you are focusing on releasing your painful emotions out into the open air rather than directing them towards your friend or back towards yourself.  Think of your emotional energy as releasing from you like smoke from a chimney.  You want this chimney to go straight up from you, so that you are not smoking out your friend or coughing on your own smoke.
  4. When your friend offers a comment, listen closely to them and to your reactions to what they are saying.  Listen for the light at the end of the tunnel.
  5. If you feel like you really just need to express your sadness and frustration, be clear and say.  “I want to express my sadness and frustration right now without focusing on ways to feel better.”  Cues like this let your friend know how to best help you, and also help you maintain your focus on what you are feeling, instead of becoming frustrated and nitpicking about how your friend is responding to you.

These are a few ideas to keep in mind the next time you feel down and reach out to talk with a friend.  By reaching out with respect, you honor both your friend and yourself and create a nice atmosphere for a healing conversation.

Game of the Day

What will your approach be the next time that you are feeling down and reach out to a friend?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Making Assumptions About What Others Assume (About You)

When you are walking down the street and say, “Good Morning” to a stranger passing by, what do you assume that person assumes about you?

Even after all the work I have done to create healthy self-confidence for myself, I noticed this morning while on a walk that when I said “Good Morning” to a person I passed, I assumed that they assumed that I was of low intelligence because of my speech impediment.  Does my assumption, in fact, represent the truth of what the people I passed were thinking or anywhere close to it?  Upon reflection, I realized that I had absolutely no idea.

What inaccurate assumptions do you assume that others assume about you the moment they meet you?

Maybe we ought to say, “Hi! Glad to meet you.  I already assume that you are making assumptions about me and, just so you know, it is going to take you a while to prove that you are not.”

This is craziness!

Rather than enjoying the process of meeting someone, we often assume that we have to disprove assumptions that we assume the person we just met is assuming about us.

(This is lots of assuming and the other person has barely said anything yet!)

Or we could just state flat out what we assume the person we just met is thinking.  In my case, I could say, “Hi, I’m Jason! It’s awesome to meet you.  And by the way, I already assume that you assume that I’m of very low intelligence because of the sound of my voice.  Want to be friends?”  (This approach might be slightly awkward.)

If we are going to naturally make assumptions about what people we are just meeting think of us, why not replace our disempowering assumptions with empowering ones?

For example, Daniel instantly assumes that whenever he meets someone, they are making the assumption that he is a goof-off and not professional.  He could work to become fully conscious of this assumption and then consciously tell himself when he meets people that they instantly admire him, want to be his friend, and see him as a professional.  Of course, Daniel is still making assumptions, but now the assumptions that he is making work in his favor.

What would it be like to assume that when people meet us, they instantly see someone they like, someone they admire, and someone they want to be friends with?

Game of the Day

If you find yourself assuming that people you just have met are making inaccurate or negative assumptions about you:

  1. Practice becoming fully conscious of these assumptions.
  2. Practice replacing these limiting assumptions with positive assumptions.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Plan Out Your Drama

I have been known from time to time to become fixated on minor circumstances that I don’t like.  I then have been known to use these circumstances as an excuse to create high drama for those around me and myself.  (High drama, as I’m using it here, involves worry, anxiety, possible arguments and general frustration.)

Can you relate?  If so, think of the last time you created high drama out of a minor circumstance.

Today as I was on the verge of creating high drama, I thought, “When we feel ourselves itching to create high drama, why not script it out like they do in the movies?”

This idea sounded fun!  Check it out- we could script out our highly dramatic part, and other people’s parts as they responded to our drama.  We could even add in emotional cues.  This would be our DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.

Then for comparison, we could write a script that was absent of the high drama that we are contemplating creating.   This would be our DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Finally, we could compare the scripts and decide which we preferred.

As an example, I’ll give you a brief background of the high drama I was contemplating creating yesterday, followed by a few lines of my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.  Then, I will share a few lines from my DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Ok, here it goes.  Drum roll please!!!  (It’s good to be dramatic when you are about to create a DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT).

Background:

On a dark and stormy Saturday night in a Mexican Restaurant at about 9:05 and 10 seconds, I noticed an unexplained black spot about the circumference of a pen cap on my left thumb.  Now common sense told me that there was a 99.99% chance that this mysterious spot was no big deal.  However, my sometimes-hypochondriac imagination darkly entertained me with different ideas.

A few lines from my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (with a super concerned look on his face asks everyone he meets):  “What do you think this spot on my thumb could possibly mean?  Should I go to a dermatologist?  Should I go to the emergency room?  Why me?  Why poor me?”

First person Jason meets (sensing Jason’s distress and wanting to comfort him):  “Oh Jason, it’s nothing.”

Second person Jason meets (wanting to be on the safe side):  “Jason you should definitely make an appointment to see a dermatologist.”

Third person Jason meets (annoyed by Jason’s over-dramatic nature):   “Jason get a life!”

A few lines of my DRAMA FREE SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (Our proud hero takes courage, believes the black spot on his thumb is a tiny blood blister and boldly asks everyone he meets):  “What has been amazing about your day?”

Person 1:  Says something cool.

Person 2:  Says something cool.

Person 3:  Says something cool.

Conclusion of this episode:

The mysterious black spot did end up being a tiny blood blister, which popped while our dashing hero, Jason Freeman, was washing dishes.

And Everyone Lived Happily Ever After.

The key to writing your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT is to have fun and to go a little overboard on the drama.  And have a great time writing your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT too.  Then after composing your two scripts, you will be able to make a more informed choice as to whether you want to create high drama or not.

Game of the Day

The next time you feel yourself working up to creating high drama out of a minor (or major) circumstance, follow these four simple steps as soon as possible:

  1. Create your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.
  2. Create your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT
  3. Read both scripts and decide which one you like better.
  4. Act out the script you like the best.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Stranger-To-Friend Conversations

Say you go to a big party and the only person you know is the person who invited you.  You have the chance to meet lots of new people.  Do you approach this situation with excitement or trepidation?

Our experiences in situations such as this depend a great deal on whether we assume we have things in common with people we haven’t met, or if we feel we have nothing in common.  If we assume that we will discover even the smallest tread of commonality, we begin talking.    We become excited to find out what we have in common with the person we just met, as well as the differences in our life experiences.

When we talk to strangers, we give them the opportunity to become friends even if only for a short time.

For example, as I write this, I’m flying from Dallas to San Diego.  I have quickly become friends with the two flight attendants.   We have exchanged smiles.   We have asked, “How’s your day going?”  I have offered, “You are doing a great job!”   We have shared a joke or two.

Does this mean that we will exchange phone numbers, become Facebook friends or that I will even ever see them again?  Most likely not.

However, who knows when an opportunity will come through this type of light and relaxed communication – maybe wisdom, maybe recommendations, possibly a long-term friendship.  Who knows?

But one thing is certain – this type of communication is fun and joyful in the moment.  People the world over have the wish to be happy in common, and when we share this commonality with each other we fill our lives with happiness.

Think of it, your friends were at one time strangers to you as you were strangers to them.

Now talking to strangers and giving them a chance to become friends doesn’t mean you need to instantly reveal personal info and secrets.  There still is a building of a relationship and trust.

And there are of course some situations where it clearly might be inappropriate or unsafe to talk to a stranger.  (But in my experience, I find these situations are far from common.)

When we develop even a ten-minute long friendship with someone, we give them a brief glimpse into our lifetime of experience and get a brief glimpse into theirs.  We become stronger, the world becomes a bit more friendly and peaceful.

It’s simple to have a Stranger-to-Friend Conversation: be nice, be kind, take an interest, listen, smile, laugh, ask questions, offer a bit about yourself.

These types of stranger to friend interactions don’t obligate you to send holiday cards or even set up further meetings unless you both want to.  But these Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can make a big difference in the quality of your days and your ability to discover new opportunities.

Game of the Day

 How many Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can you have today?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.