Recently, an entrepreneur whom I advise asked me what I optimize for. Knowing that I do a small amount of investing, am writing a book (slowly), advise companies, support a few charities, have a family and am a partner in a management consulting firm; he wondered how I decide how and with whom I spend my time. For me, it’s really easy. I don’t optimize for a specific financial outcome (maybe I should) or a particular professional goal (maybe I should) – I simply optimize for joy – the amount of joy that I experience and the amount of joy that I can bring to others; including friends, family and often strangers. It’s a simple decision-making process for me – I’m either joyful or am bringing joy to others (which makes me happy so it’s actually a selfish act) or I’m not. If I’m not, I don’t spend time on it.
Merriam-Webster defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires” – that sounds about right to me.
In his New York Times Best Seller “Emotional Equations”, which I’m loving, my friend Chip Conley (@ChipConley) expresses joy in the following way:
Joy = Love-Fear
That also seems right to me. Being an engineer by training, if you drive fear to a number approaching zero, then Joy = Love, and that equation works for me. Yup, that equation works really well. The more love you experience and give, the more joy you have. Who doesn’t want that? Why optimize for anything else? What else is there?
Thanks for the equation Chip!
What equation works for you? What do you optimize for?
Really, I want to know. Thanks for sharing.