Joy tends to involve some transcendence of self. … Joy often involves self-forgetting. … We can help create happiness, but are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy.*
Worry less about making a mark. Worry more about leaving things better than you found them.**
Knowing ourselves becomes foundational to opening up life and finding our purpose, which is another way of saying: to make a difference for others.
Robert McKee links knowing ourselves with the ability to create human characters for believable stories, but I hope we can also use them as encouragement for knowing ourselves so that we can produce something valuable for others:
The only self you ever know is yours, and even then there are limits. Self-deception distorts self-awareness, and so you never know who you are as well as you think you do. Self-knowledge is imperfect, but it’s all you have. If you know yourself only in part and other people even less, how can you create original, complex characters?^
I recently shared that I am more okay about being forgotten. Thank you to Lewis Hyde for this.
What I do find myself increasingly wanting is to make a difference for others when it comes to becoming more who they are and can be. Therefore, when David Brooks writes about self-forgetting being an outcome of joy, I am more determined to move into those activities that mean I shall be seized by joy, in making a difference for others but also working its strange alchemy in me for the better.
This is for you.
*From David Brooks’ The Second Mountain;
**From Austin Kleon’s Keep Going;
^From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: The Key to Character Creation.