How can I build more joy and more humanity?

When we ask ourselves "what do I want in life?", our first answers might vary--make a lot of money, be influential, raise great kids, and so on. But, after digging a bit and asking ourselves why we want those things, that is, what do we really want in life, almost all of us have the same answers: A sense of freedom, loving and trusting relationships, meaningful work, doing something that makes the world better, peace, joy, and being a part of something bigger than ourselves.

We want more joy. And we want more humanity.

Yet, for most of us, our day-to-day thoughts, words, and actions often don’t align to what we want most. We want peace and love and meaning. We want joy and purpose and connection. Democracy? Collaboration? Truth? Yes. Yes. And yes. But somehow, when we mean to engage with our work or the people we’re with, we're distracted by notifications and relentless news feeds. Or we’re in our heads, ruminating about the past, maybe fretting about the future. Instead of compassion and patience, we snap at our loved ones. Instead of connecting, we feel judged, and we feel badly. Or we judge others, and we feel superior. We expect ourselves to be open-minded and curious, but we fall for our confirmation biases. We have a lot of other biases we don’t see, too. We are champions for democracy and common ground, but use cruel labels for people who think differently. We suffer. We unintentionally spread suffering. We bypass joy. And we struggle with humanity.

Why? Why are there gaps between what we want and what we do?

First, take heart: This is how we’re biologically wired. We’ve been crafted by evolution.

And second, these “norms” are ingrained in our culture. What we believe, how we interact with each other, the words we use--all of these are norms we share with different groups.

What can we do to have more joy and strengthen humanity?

This question has been explored for thousands of years. There is a lot of research and a lot of information out there--books, apps, talks, weekend workshops--you name it. Many of them are excellent and incredibly inspirational--many are wise and worthy teachers. But, this journey needs more than an intellectual understanding and occasional inspiration. It needs ongoing, regular attention and focus. It needs to face the challenges of real life to promote growth.

There are three steps to it:

  1. Learn.

  2. Grow.

  3. Keep learning and growing.

When we focus on learning and growing, we can shrink the gaps, and we can build more of what we want. And when we learn and grow with a community of people working on the same thing, the changes are bigger than just us. Change is more sustainable when you are with a community of people working on the same thing.*

We are strongly influenced by the people we’re around. When we’re with people (in real life and online) who are practicing the same values and have the same hopes for humanity, they bolster us. And, when we’re with people who focus on outrage and labeling and us versus them, they subtly influence us and wear on us over time. We can’t always choose the environment and people we’re around, but we can deliberately seek out time in cultures that support and practice the values we want to see in the world.

We designed jomanity to help ourselves and each other sustain the practices for more joy and more humanity in a way that fits into our everyday lives.

Jomanity is an online community of people striving to live with more joy and more humanity. We share our experiences, we guide each other, and we keep what’s most important to us at the tops of our minds. We share the goals of learning, growing, and becoming better.

We believe that together, we can have a greater impact, positively influence the people around us, and create more joy and humanity in the world.


* Have you ever heard the idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? The people you most spend time with shape who you are--what you pay attention to, and the attitudes and beliefs and behaviors that you most see. We hope that the jomanity community is like your “fifth friend”--and helps shape you to build more joy and more humanity in your life, your community, and in the world.