I used to know several people who seemed to believe that there was only a limited amount of joy in the world. That when one person experienced success, it was taking success away from other people. When one person found a great partner, it was taking that great person off the market so that others couldn't enjoy them. Whenever a friend would experience some kind of good fortune, landing a great job, graduating from school, anything, these people would experience a sort of bittersweet joy, because even as their friends were doing well, it meant that success was taken away from them, or from anyone else.
I don't believe there is a limited amount of joy, or success in the world. When someone in my network, a friend, a co-worker, does well, it seems to be a rising tide that lifts my boat too. When one of my friends publishes a book, when their podcast gets popular, when they are happy and inspired, it only serves to increase my joy as well. Mur sells her book, Playing for Keeps, to Swarm press, and now my photo is on the cover of a book that's going to be widely distributed. A friend sells a story, gets picked up by a major distributor, gets a gallery showing, sells a comic book. These things aren't now off limits to me - on the contrary, now I'm better off, because I have a friend who has done them. I get to learn from them, help them, and celebrate with them.
Maybe that's why I really enjoy putting time towards my friends and their dreams. Because I get a lot of pleasure from seeing how joyful they are, because in helping them, I'm helping myself. Because joy isn't finite. Because now I'm with people who generate joy and it seems to blossom, in an eternal spring, around us all.