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Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within Hardcover – May 31, 2016
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From the Publisher
Four Ways to Replace Suffering With Joy
by Chade-Meng Tan, author of Joy On Demand and Search Inside Yourself.
Our perception of reality is often seriously flawed. First, the information we gather is necessarily incomplete because there is a severe limit to how many things we can perceive and pay attention to at any one time. To make things worse, we often unconsciously fill in the missing information with our imagination, and then our brains don't take the trouble to distinguish between imagination and facts. In other words, our brains often make crap up and then pretend the crap is real.
One major consequence of our seriously flawed perception of reality is that it creates a lot of unnecessary suffering, and it does so in at least three ways. First, it damages our relationships. We often judge others by jumping to conclusions about their intentions based on the effects their actions have on us, which are often more negative than their actual intentions.
Second, the way we judge ourselves tends to be far more negative than the facts can justify.
Third, our seriously flawed perception of reality leads us to be far less happy than our life circumstances justify because we tend to downplay the positives and overplay the negatives in our lives.
Given all that, it is skillful to cognitively reappraise every situation that causes us suffering, because it is very likely that at least some large percentage of our suffering originates from some amount of imperfection in perception. I suggest reappraising in six ways:
1. With Kindness And Compassion To Others: If your emotional pain in caused by the actions of another person, it is best to treat them with loving-kindness. Remind yourself that this person is like you in three ways: they are human, they want to be happy, and they want to be free from suffering. Keep that in mind and give them the benefit of the doubt.
2. With Kindness And Compassion To Yourself: See yourself in the eyes of your caring best friend. They are likely to tell you things are not as bad as you think—and objectively, they are likely to be more accurate than you. Keep that in mind and give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
3. Don't Believe Everything You Think: Remember that the brain doesn't usually differentiate between imagination and fact. Keep that in mind and always be willing to be wrong.
4. See The Long Term And The Big Picture: In the long term, every mistake is an opportunity for learning and growth.
“When a book offers practical, scientific insights on success and happiness, I’m intrigued. When that book also has cartoons, I’m in. Meng’s book is a joyful look about where we can find more joy in our lives.” (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals)
“With Joy on Demand, Meng continues to further his goal of promoting a better life grounded in happiness for his fellow human beings. I commend his efforts to build a better world with humor, persistence, and meditation.” (Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States)
“Meng presents mind-training tools that are free of traditional religious trappings and made accessible for everyone. His contagious humor and his gentle guidance have the potential to deeply impact today’s society.” (His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje)
“In this book, Meng helped me to see that joy isn’t just an emotion, but it’s also an action. By tapping into the joy that is deep inside all of us, we gain access to the foundational building blocks of creating a happy life.” (Chip Conley, bestselling author of Emotional Equations and Hospitality entrepreneur)
“With this book, Meng reminds us that this human joy is the most reliable, lasting, and truly joyful kind, and shows us how to use nothing more (or less) than our own human minds to get it.” (Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, Author and Futurist)
“A formidable articulation of what it means to cultivate mindfulness in all its dimensionalities, and why it is worth persevering with both effort and effortlessly. Meng’s logic and clarity are inspiring, infectious, and transformative.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, Founder of MBSR, Author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses)
“With Meng’s new book, joy is about to go viral. These simple, delightful instructions make it as easy to experience--and share--as it could possibly be.” (Steve Chen, Co-Founder of YouTube)
“This book DEMANDs your EnJOYment!” (Tony Hsieh, New York Times Bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.)
“Meng has captured the subject of our search for joy with his usual elegance and humility... All one must bring is the intention for a more joyful and resilient way to live, and these pages will do the rest!” (Scott Kriens, Director of 1440 Foundation)
“Joy On Demand is a title that is half in humor, but only half. It is a serious introduction to meditation, the more profound for it being so simply explained. I am now on my next breath.” (George Yeo, Chancellor of Nalanda University)
From the Back Cover
Joy is the root of happiness.
Joy is a sustainable state that fuels our creativity and inspiration for innovation. It strengthens our ability to attract friends and to get along with others. Learning to cultivate joy is the fundamental secret to success. In this long-awaited follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng Tan shows us how anyone, no matter where they are, can access this source of happiness.
Meng writes, “If you have been unhappy, or you are happy and aspire to be even happier, know that your happiness set point can be upgraded. I know because I did it, I have seen many others do it, and scientific studies have measured it. Of course, Buddhist monks and other contemplative people have been doing it for thousands of years, but it’s not something in the water in the Himalayas, it’s something you can do too, wherever you are. I think the main problem is most people aren’t aware that it is even possible. Or, if we’ve heard of it, many of us think it is unattainable so we don’t even try. We don’t know it’s something that every single one of us can learn.”
The path to joy on demand is through mindfulness, but it doesn’t have to be a lot of work, take a lot of time, or require you to abandon all your possessions and live in a hut on a remote island. In Joy on Demand, Chade-Meng Tan reveals the innate contentment that we all possess and how to tap into this natural, infinite capacity for joy. The best part is that the benefits extend to every aspect of life—our brains work better, our bodies function better, we achieve greater success at work, and we find ourselves highly attractive to the people around us.
The more we exercise this skill, the more familiar we become with joy, the more we effortlessly gravitate toward it, and in so doing create a sustainable sense of wonder and contentment that can carry us throughout our entire life. (Holding for applause.)
Top customer reviews
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1. No more perfectionism. I used to beat myself up for not being a good meditator. If I didn't have that rhythmic feel and that subtle smile come onto my face, I consider my practice to be a big fail. The irony, of course, is that attitude makes good meditation even more out of my reach. This book pretty much says just take one breath and start from there. Focus on it. Repeat.
2. Just do it many times, and you'll get better at it. The author goes into some detail about how many hours it takes to develop a strong meditation practice. It could take 50 hours or much longer Before one sees the most profound benefits. While that is a sobering thought, it also takes the pressure off of trying to get it perfect as you stumble your way through.
3. Altogether, the book has a humorous and very human approach to learning how to meditate and benefit from it. The first few chapters avoid the usual jargon, although in later chapters it moves in that direction. But I found the first four chapters to be more impactful and beneficial than all the meditation books I've ever read combined.
The mini-practices are where this book shines. As a meditation teacher, I've noticed that many find the idea of sitting still for 10-20min a day daunting. Well, the mini-practices take just a few seconds, and they can be just as beneficial. Heck, don't take my word for it -- just try these out right now and notice how they make you feel:
• The "3-breath Exercise" is simplicity itself: take one deep, slow breath while you attend to the breath itself; take another breath to relax the body; and take a third to bring up some joy, perhaps with a little half-smile on your face.
• Really notice and savor that first bite of food, that first minute in bed, that first minute under the shower.
• Take 10sec to wish joy for 2 random people.
• Uplift the mind by thinking of someone uplifting, like the Dalai Lama, Buddha, or Nelson Mandela.
The book is lighthearted and easy to read, with many quirky cartoons illustrating Meng's points. If you were to incorporate even a fraction of the techniques Meng describes, you will noticeably increase the amount of joy in your minutes, days and years, and of those around you, too. "Joy On Demand" is precisely the kind of book that allows you to access a better version of yourself, and by extension, a better world.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil, Happiness Engineer & author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4+ years