the power of joy

The Power of Picking Up a New Book: A Few Thoughts From Our President, Jeff Russell

The world recently lost Bishop Desmond Tutu. I read a book a few years ago called The Book of Joy by Douglas Carlton Abrams. He interviewed the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu over seven days in the book. It’s an amazing read full of joy, knowledge, a lot of sarcasm, and laughter. I didn’t expect so much laughter, which was a really nice surprise. 

Throughout the book, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu openly rib each other like best friends. This is pretty amazing, given how much hardship each had been through in their lives. 

One of my biggest takeaways from this book was that we often take ourselves way too seriously. I mean, these two guys went through a lot, and you would never know it from their upbeat, joyful attitudes. This leads to the big question of, “How do you find joy in the face of suffering?” 

There are some words of wisdom shared in the book that I think we could all learn from: 

  • There is no life without suffering. 
  • While suffering, focus away from yourself and focus on others. This one reminded me of one of my previous messages where I shared how it’s hard to feel bad if you’re being kind and grateful towards others. 
  • You don’t always control suffering, but you do control your response to it. 
  • Suffering often leads to fear and frustration, but those are creations of our minds, not reality.
  • Compassion and sadness are channels to let go of the anger and stress that result from suffering.
  • To turn this fear into joy, or at least not let it overtake you, you can channel stress and anger into compassion and sadness, which are two much more productive feelings.


They also both agree on the eight pillars of joy: perspective, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. The details and stories they share behind each of these are life-changing! 

I was really sad when I heard that Desmond Tutu passed away and how I would have known nothing about him had I not read that book several years ago. 

The moral of the story is there is so much out there to learn and be exposed to. Ideas, thoughts, and concepts that could ultimately change your world. So, get out there and start learning. Life is good. – Jeff 

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