5 min reading time
Existence Demands resilience. Enduring through struggle is a powerful tool, but for most of us it isn't sustainable in the long term.
People can only set aside their emotions, their desires, and their health for so long before the expectation of resilience becomes toxic. Maybe adversity does build character. But it also builds frustration and apathy. Given the current challenges to be overcome, we need all the resilience we can get. But what's the point if we all burn out in the process?
We need a concept of resilience that empowers us to prioritize our wellness and agency, because our communities deserve us at our best. We need to encourage play and creativity, because progress only happens when we have the freedom to imagine. But most importantly, we need to make it our duty to pursue joy, not productivity, because human flourishing can't be contained on a spreadsheet.
The point is not simply to be more joyful. The point is to take joy as our compass, a lens through which we assess and act in the world around us, and begin a journey down a path towards more sustainable resilience.
We call it Joyful Resilience.
Let's Start with what Joyful resilience isn't:
Joyful Resilience isn't efficient.
Efficiency is only achieved through control; controlling a process, controlling movement, controlling emotion. Efficiency asks humans to follow protocol, not their own insights and abilities.
Joyful Resilience isnt about endurance.
Sometimes we have to struggle through adversity. But sometimes we have options. Resilience works against us if we see gritting our teeth as inherently valuable.
Joyful Resilience doesn't foster optimal growth.
Capitalism conditions us to seek constant growth and we feel behind the curve when we don't. Yet this is unrealistic for both revenue and our personal development.
Joyful Resilience can't produce constant happiness.
Anger, sorrow, confusion, and pain will always be part of life. Ideals that ask us to minimize our emotional experience for the sake of production make us less human.
Joyful Resilience is exploratory.
Solving problems requires imagination, a quality we only develop if we use it. Unstructured play gives us opportunities to experiment and stretch our thinking in ways that make us more flexible under stress.
Joyful Resilience is about agency.
We all have agency, but it takes courage and honesty to express it. Radical honesty makes us vulnerable, but also reinforces our agency amid systems that usually fail to consider it.
Joyful Resilience does foster divergence.
Nothing is easier to maintain than the status quo, but our world only gets better when we allow space for change. The freedom to fail sparks innovative ideas, and fun, creative acts become necessary acts of resilience and divergence in a world dominated by inhuman algorithms.
Joyful Resilience can liberate us to be who we really are.
Joy is one of our most potent yet underutilized resources. When we are joyful we don't just feel good, we radiate positivity and embody the most pure expressions of our human selves.