SEEK JOY is the first LifePOWER goal.

Have you ever seen a small puppy play? It is one of the most joyous events you will ever witness. Without any guilt, the puppy seeks the purest, most innocent and most honest of all emotions - the search for joy.

All living things are alive because of selfishness. It was the selfishness of their ancestors, struggling against impossible odds to survive, that they enjoy the life they have today. It is selfishness that gives each of us the drive to live and prosper. This inherent selfishness is the essence of life itself. But we are taught at an early age not to accept this, as if it were some kind of disease.

On earth, humans are the most advanced species of animal - the only species with the advanced communications skills and the technology to understand the meaning of self, time and history. Perhaps because of these skills, humans have developed many dishonest ways of communicating with each other, with many institutions fundamentally based on this dishonesty.

Early searches for knowledge left us with many institutions which manipulate and control people for the benefit of a few elite leaders. This "top-down" structure resulted in the idea that individuals must subordinate themselves to the groups to which they belong, and that they don't have the choice to withdraw their support or membership from those groups.

We are taught at a young age to be dishonest, to conform and to obey external authorities. We are taught by those who love and care for us what they were taught by those who cared for them. Unfortunately, this popular view makes young people frustrated, confused and encourages them to search for meaning in ways that please others, but not themselves. By living for others instead of ourselves, we live desperate lives filled with stress, conflict and regret.

SEEK Joy doesn't mean to ignore others, or to not consider them when you are deciding what to do. It means not feeling guilty when someone else tries to manipulate you into doing something for them you don't want to do. It means learning how to say "NO!" when others impose their values, problems, desires and life stories into your life without having the courtesy to ask permission first. It means doing your best at things because you have chosen them from joy rather than false duty or obligation.

SEEK Joy is the first step to a better life. The recognition of your inherent selfishness, and learning how to shed the guilt that others heap on you for following your dreams, you can break out of contradictions that take half a lifetime to learn. If only you could learn these things at an early age, you would have a much happier, productive and rewarding life.

Seeking Joy is, ironically, the best way for you to serve others. By participating in activities, jobs and projects that interest you, you work harder, dedicate yourself more to the task at hand, and generally feel better about yourself. But unless you have given yourself permission to follow your own dreams, guided by your own conscience, you will never be completely happy, fulfilled or satisfied. Until you start being honest with yourself, you will not experience life at its fullest. And friendships at their finest.

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