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The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams - 3 Big Ideas



Welcome to 3 Things you can use, where maddi and I analyze the world of self-improvement and entrepreneurship, through books, 3 things at a time.

This week’s book is the book of joy, by The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams.

This is a book that goes through their encounter,

“We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.”

(^From Amazon)

So, What are 3 things we can use from this book?

3 Big Ideas

1. The Hedonic Treadmill

I need more money to be happy.

If I can have more, I can finally be happy.

I don’t have enough.

This is the default of most modern societies; that are built and sustained by materialism and wanting more.

But materialism has no place in true joy; that is the joy that is felt deep inside of oneself, not the superficial and fleeting elation of a new toy.

Continually chasing after fleeting pleasures is also known as running on the hedonic treadmill. Running and running but never getting anywhere.

Materialism plays a large part in this treadmill.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying fleeting pleasures, but you must recognize their fleeting nature and not rely on them as your crutch through life. There is a better, deeper and more resilient happiness that is rooted in the consideration of others.

2. Mental Immunity

In a carriage on a bumpy road, the wheels bounce and vibrate. But the people in the carriage will only feel the bumps if the axle enables it.

Life is the bumpy road and your mind is the axle.

Having a good perspective and disposition is one of the most important factors to joy.

Transforming your perceptions of events from bad to good is one of the most healthy things against your anxieties and stress and one of the most healthy things for you mood and overall joy.

Take an experience that left you feeling bad, that you suffered through, and find a lens that shows you the good in it. The Dalai Lama has been through many periods of suffering, from the mistreatment of his people to his own exile, but he is thankful what those experiences taught him and for how those tests strengthened his abilities to forgive and to still see the humanity in all people.

Developing a healthy disposition requires effort and imagination, as all good rewards come after effort.

Figuring out how getting cut-off in traffic could be a good thing is difficult, especially in the moment, but developing your mental immunity is how you fend off unnecessary negative feelings -- to give yourself a better shot at inner joy.

3. The Antidote to Loneliness

Studies have shown that in recent times, people have dropped from having an average of three close friends, down to two. And that one in ten people have no close friends.

Things are changing, and loneliness is becoming more common.

A quote from The Dalai Lama,

“Our whole society has a materialistic culture, no concept of friendship, no concept of love, just work. 24 hours a day, like a machine. We become a part of that machine.”

To keep from being affected too much by this unhealthy dynamic, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and The Archbishop Desmond Tutu suggest to take on a lifestyle of affection and warm-heartedness.

They say this reduces fear and develops trust and trust brings friendship.

“When there is trust, people are brought together.

When you have a more compassionate mind and cultivate warm-heartedness, the whole atmosphere around you becomes more positive and friendlier.

If you feel fear and distrust, other people will distance themselves.

They will also feel cautious, suspicious and distrust, then comes the feeling of loneliness. “


The first step is to recognize that there is a deeper and better happiness to be attained that goes deeper than any fleeting pleasure ever will.

Practice mental immunity by finding the good in situations and learning to feel good, even when you don’t think you can.

Live with more affection and warm-heartedness. Smile at people and build trust in your relationships. Through this you will keep loneliness at bay.

Many meditations, breath exercises and intention settings. As well as a combination of them all at the end in what they call the joy meditation. These are the practices of joy that are included in the last chapters of the book.

There’s a lot of nuance in their musings as well, not much is included in these three things. This isn’t a book of obvious and common practices – though it isn’t revolutionary either.

This is a great book that will make you laugh, mostly at the good-spirited banter between the two spiritual leaders, and will give a great grasp of how to attain real inner joy and how to develop a compassion for all people.

Thank you for watching, subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s video, and we’ll see you next Friday!

Want To Read It?

Audible Free Trial (Get this book for FREE)

The Book of Joy (Audible Version)

The Book of Joy (Physical Copy)

(these links give me a little bump if you decide to use them. Thank you!)


Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig

Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa

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