If you spend enough time around people that are even remotely interested in social or environmental issues, you are almost certain to sense in them a kind of melancholy tinged with cynicism and frustration. Of course, this is not surprising, for the vast majority of people have enough difficulty thinking about their own lives–schooling, money, love, friendships, family–let alone tackling larger issues. And so those that have chosen to take a different path are almost inevitably left fighting an uphill battle.
I want to write this short blog post for the changemakers in this world to say to them that there is a sublime link between joy and justice. You must love the world to make it better; love humanity to serve it; love nature to protect; love justice to fight for it. If you bring joy to your work, your employees will feel more motivated, less likely to burn out, and more able to think creatively. Your joy will squash cynicism and awaken even the most jaded soul.
This is not to say that social justice work is easy, nor that there will never be days where one feels like quitting or curling into a ball of sadness. Rather, my point is that if we do not rebound from such feelings to a place of positivity, then we will find our efforts to be fruitless. The greatest leaders are those that, in the face of great difficulty, find time to smile as well as to grimace, to look ugliness in the face until it is transformed into the beautiful countenance of righteousness.