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Joynetix: Unlock Your Joy Potential
Joynetix: Unlock Your Joy Potential
Joynetix: Unlock Your Joy Potential
Ebook301 pages3 hours

Joynetix: Unlock Your Joy Potential

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Have life challenges sucked the energy out of you? Use these scientifically inspired techniques to reclaim yourself and reignite inner delight.

Is the pursuit of achievements, accomplishments, and accolades leaving you empty? Are you frustrated by days filled with anxiety and fear? Looking to kickstart a personal transformation? Pharmacist, lawyer, entrepreneur and a viral TEDx speaker, Saj Shah has turned his experiments and research into a method to help others practice cheerful, balanced living. Now he’s here to share his time-tested approach to self-discovery and revitalization.

JOYNETIX: Unlock Your Joy Potential is a powerful prescription for overcoming any obstacle. Combating our modern lifestyle of on-demand culture and high expectations, Saj walks you through releasing unnecessary STORM (stress, tiredness, overwhelmedness, resignation, and misery) to trigger deeper satisfaction. And when you shift your mentality to one focused on wellness, you will experience boosted motivation, vitality, and good health.

In JOYNETIX, you’ll discover:

- Cutting-edge epigenetics, psychology, and neuroscience combined with ancient wisdom to help make happiness accessible in the moment

- How to conquer any external circumstance no matter what and spark your joy

- That gaining self-control and resilience reveals a profound peace

- Ways that you can improve your mental and physical well-being for a refreshing upgrade to quality of life

- Bite-size daily practices, the three-step model of notice-reset-generate (NRG), and much, much more!

JOYNETIX is the backbone of your transformative and individualized change. If you like science made simple, encouraging advice, and getting energized, then you’ll love Saj Shah’s essential guidebook.

Buy JOYNETIX to embrace boundless contentment today!

Release dateDec 9, 2021
Joynetix: Unlock Your Joy Potential
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Saj Shah

Imagine a world where joy is the default daily reality experienced by human beings. This is Saj Shah’s vision. He is a health technology entrepreneur who has co-founded multiple businesses dedicated to creating novel solutions to tackle the modern stress and anxiety epidemic. He speaks internationally on cultivating joy as a natural antidepressant and antidote to burnout. His first TEDx talk in 2022 went viral. Saj is the founder of JOYNETIX® - a consultancy (which evolved from his book) to empower and enable businesses to cause thriving joy-fuelled cultures at work that expand well-being, optimise performance, elevate productivity and spark innovation. Saj has a background in pharmacy, law and technology with a diverse corporate career spanning twenty-five years in the healthcare and life sciences fields. He spent sixteen years at AstraZeneca in a range of senior leadership roles in which he gained global recognition as an innovator and a digital health pioneer for the game-changing transformation programmes he led. Saj lives in London with his soulmate, Tarina and their two bundles of joy – their sons Druan and Niam.

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    Book preview

    Joynetix - Saj Shah


    Introduction: Awakened By A Dash Of Joy

    1.    Time For A Joynetix Evolution

    2.    Storm Relief Is Right Under Your Nose

    3.    Joy Is Child’s Play

    4.    Notice The Fiction In Life

    5.    Listen For Joy

    6.    Reset Your Fear (Fictional Experiences Appearing Real)

    7.    The Power And Magic In Your Joy-Cabulary

    8.    Being Perfectly Imperfect

    9.    Tap Into The Energy Of Your Joy Vibe

    10.  Prescribe A Dose Of Joy

    11.  Lead With Your Aligned Joy-Genius

    12.  Curate A Joy-Fuelled Dash Of Life


    Inspiring Joy On The Pale Blue Dot






    This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose

    recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a

    force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little

    clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that

    the world will not devote itself to making you

    happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to

    the whole community and as long as I live, it is

    my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be

    thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I

    work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own

    sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of

    splendid torch which I have got hold of for the

    moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as

    possible before handing it on to future generations.

    —George Bernard Shaw

    My mobile phone buzzed. It showed DADMOB Calling (aka my father, my superhero). It was 23 December 2013, and I had just completed a sunrise run through a beautiful remote village in Northern India, where I was holidaying with my wife and our two sons (then ages 8 and 6). I excitedly answered the call with an upbeat, Hey, Dad, how’s your holiday going?

    But it was not my father. It was my aunt, calling from my father’s mobile phone to tell me something I did not expect to hear. At the shock of the news, I passed out just outside the front entrance of our holiday accommodation. My father had died in his sleep at the age of 67 while on holiday with my mother in his birth home of Kenya.

    His funeral ceremony was held in Nairobi (capital city of Kenya) in a hall filled with hundreds of people who had turned up to pay their respects. Some had specially flown in from different parts of the world.

    I was at the front of the hall with my mother, wife, two sons, and younger brother. While pretending to be brave for the sake of my family, I was dealing with my own feelings of grief, anger, confusion, and deep sorrow at the loss of my father. A growing queue of mourners and well-wishers had formed round the hall and spilled outside. They were waiting to come up to us one by one to offer their condolences. My uncle signalled to the person in the front of the queue to come forward.

    Each person who came up had a moving story to share about times my father had inspired such joy, laughter, and optimism in them that it had a profound and lasting impact on their outlook on life. My father had been the source of empowerment for so many people, causing breakthroughs for them in studies, business, marriage, and relationships. Some joked and called him their Joy-Guru.

    The word guru in Sanskrit (one of the oldest languages in the world and the primary sacred language of Hinduism) means the dispeller of darkness. And this is exactly what followed, as more and more people shared their stories about my father. The energy and mood in the hall visibly shifted from sombre and dark to alive and vibrant. Even my mother had a smile on her face. The darkness was dispelled.

    As I stood up to deliver my eulogy, I looked at a picture of my father that was projected behind me with 1946–2013 written below (the same image shown on page v at the beginning of this book). In that image, the whole of my father’s life was reduced to his birth year and the year he died, with a dash in between. I acknowledged everyone for their generous sharing of how my father fulfilled his dash of life by living with joy and, in so doing, inspiring joy in others.

    In listening to people sharing who my father was for them, something started to open up for me. I had this elevated feeling of positivity and a surge of blissful energy. I had only previously experienced the same on occasions when you would normally expect such feelings, like the birth of my sons and marrying my teenage sweetheart, but this was my father’s funeral.

    The next stage of the funeral ceremony was the Hindu cremation ritual, which I had not previously experienced in its traditional form. My father’s body, draped in a white shroud, lay barely visible embedded in an open-air funeral pyre of wood at the crematorium. My younger brother and I were guided by a Hindu priest to walk counterclockwise three times round the pyre. As we walked round, the priest sprinkled holy water on the pyre.

    On the completion of the third round, I was handed a lit wooden torch and asked to light the pyre on fire. There was a stop in me—a moment of hesitation and resistance to do this. In that pause, I once again became present to who my father showed up as in his dash of life and how up until then I had not been living a dash of joy.

    I made a promise to my father. I promised to live my life in the possibility of joy and inspiring joy in others. Even though I had no idea at that time how I would fulfil this promise, the moment I declared this as my word from my heart, I felt his presence. A feeling of lightness and a sense of peace came over me. And I lit the pyre on fire.

    *     *     *

    Like my mother and father, I was born and raised in Kenya, originally of Indian descent. I moved to London, England, with my parents and younger brother when I was 8 years old and have lived there ever since. I married my teenage sweetheart in the millennium year 2000. Together, we have two awesome sons, ages 15 and 13 at the time of writing.

    My professional background is as a pharmacist and a lawyer. I have had a successful twenty-five-year career as a corporate entrepreneur in the healthcare and life-sciences industry, with the last fourteen years spent in senior leadership roles in AstraZeneca, a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

    Why am I sharing all this?

    Reading this book may give some of you the impression that all was great in my life—that I had a life in which satisfaction, aliveness and joy was present as a daily reality. However, my own experience of myself and my life was not framed that way. I was running at a pace through my life in a pursuit to show people I was successful through achievements, accolades, and accumulation of things—all in the hope that someday, after doing all these things to impress people, I would stumble upon the thing that would give me lifelong fulfilment and satisfaction.

    With the people in my life—even those closest to me, like my own wife and sons—I had become a master of disguise (or at least I thought I was fooling them into believing the disguise). I created so many different versions of myself to project an illusion that I had it together and all worked out. The truth was, I was hiding the fact that I had a different internal conversation going on that said I was not good enough and not doing enough. This left me feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, resigned, and miserable.

    Imagine running in an endless pitch-black tunnel, desperately trying to find any window to get some light and fresh air. This is how it felt. In my focus on impressing people to achieve success, I had lost connection to my own inner joy, seduced instead by quick fixes and finding fleeting moments of pleasure or happiness masquerading as joy.

    My world transformed when I was awakened by a dash of joy. In the moment of declaring to my father (at his cremation) the possibility of joy in all areas of my life, I consciously chose to take back control and ownership of my own joy, not as a right or entitlement but as a responsibility to myself and the people who mattered most in my life.

    *     *     *

    Following my father’s funeral, I embarked on an eight-year adventure—a journey of exploration, discovery, and learning about joy. Initially, it was like searching for treasure without a treasure map. You can find lots of research and books on anxiety, depression, and happiness, but not much about the capacity for experiencing joy that we are all born with but deprioritise later in life.

    As part of my adventure, I researched the latest advances in human behavioural, genetic, and brain sciences; experimented with ancient spiritual wisdom practices; studied the science of well-being and happiness (positive psychology); devoured many self-help, personal growth, and development books from some of the world’s leading performance and life coaches; and attended numerous personal- and professional-development training seminars. This knowledge-seeking behaviour did lead to discovering new clues about joy. However, all this extra knowledge I was acquiring did not give me a direct access to trigger joy in an instant.

    That was, until I started designing and experimenting with some practices aimed at generating a shot of joy in the moment, like a jolt of energy (analogous to the jolt of energy from a defibrillator that resuscitates and resets the heart).

    These energy jolts acted like a circuit breaker to interrupt the moments of stress, tiredness, overwhelm, resignation or misery I was experiencing. This made me notice and become aware of some of my own hidden blockers of joy that were running the Saj Show on autopilot. With this heightened awareness, I now had the choice to reset the experience to generate joy in the moment. That was the birth of JOYNETIX.




    THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY has proven to be the most advanced and progressive era in human history. Here are just some of the facts that point to this:

    •We are living longer. A baby born in 2019 is expected to live, on average, for 73 years. Remarkably, the global average life expectancy has more than doubled in the last century, from 34 years in 1913 to 73 today.¹

    •We are smarter. The global average IQ score is rising about three points every decade,² and 86 per cent of the world population over 15 years old are literate.³

    •We are freer. Two-thirds of the world’s population are living in free or relatively free societies, compared with less than two-fifths in 1950 and one-fifth in 1900.

    •We are safer. From driving a car to walking the streets, it’s safer today than it was during the first half of the twentieth century.

    •We are getting steadily richer. I came across an article in my research that claims 2018 was a tipping point when, for the first time since agriculture-based civilization began ten thousand years ago, the majority of humankind was no longer poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty. According to the data used in their calculations, just over 50 per cent of the world’s population live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered middle class or rich.⁶ Data from the World Bank shows that in the twenty-five years from 1990 to 2015, the extreme poverty rate dropped from nearly 36 per cent to 10 per cent—its lowest point in recorded history.⁷

    •We have had some of the biggest breakthroughs and innovations in healthcare and medicine. For example:

    oIn 2013, scientists completed the first-ever draft that sequenced the human genome. Information from DNA is used to develop new ways to treat, cure, or even prevent thousands of diseases affecting humankind.

    oFunctional MRIs, or fMRIs, are making it possible for doctors and scientists to virtually read and map minds, giving new insights into cognition, social interactions, reward systems, decision-making, and conditions such as depression, autism, and memory disorders.

    oPeople who have lost limbs or are born without them now have the opportunity to replace that missing piece with a fully functional device through bionic prosthetics.

    oAdvancements in the area of cardiovascular health have meant deaths due to heart disease have dropped significantly over the past ten years.

    oAdvancements in modern medicine mean HIV is no longer considered a terminal illness; rather, scientists list it as chronic, manageable illness.

    •We are digitally more connected and technologically more advanced than we have been at any time in history. There were 3.9 billion active mobile Internet users as of January 2019.⁹ As of March 2019, there were 4.383 billion Internet users, which accounts for 56.8 per cent of the world’s population.¹⁰

    The progress and advancements made in this century are just remarkable. Yet, in the face of all this progress and advancement, there is one measure in which we have failed to progress and advance: our overall joy of life. There is a high level of life dissatisfaction and lack of aliveness and joy in the world today. We appear to struggle to keep up with the pace of change in the world that we created.¹¹

    With countless choices available for some; numerous decisions to be made in short time frames; our fear of missing out; and our hunger for the instantaneous and expectations of on-demand everything, it would seem that the more addicted we get to our modern lifestyle, the more stress, tiredness, overwhelm, resignation, and misery we tend to generate for ourselves and the more disconnected we become from our innate joy in life. The more unconsciously addicted people become to stress, the more people suffer from mental health issues. The World Health Organization estimates that mental health disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year in lost productivity, with depression now being the leading cause of ill health and disability in the world.¹²

    Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of adults in the UK have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.¹³ A staggering 79 per cent of British employees commonly experience work-related stress. This makes work-related stress the most common form of stress in the UK. It’s a similar picture in the US, with over 80 per cent of Americans reporting being stressed out at work.¹⁴

    The most common finding in well-being surveys is of people feeling trapped in the stress, tiredness, overwhelmedness, resignation, and misery of dealing with the day-to-day circumstances of modern life. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines these as follows:

    •Stress: a constraining force or influence: such as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

    •Tiredness: a state of feeling drained of strength and energy; fatigued often to the point of exhaustion.

    •Overwhelmedness: a state of being completely overcome or overpowered by thought or feeling.

    •Resignation: a state of being resigned: feeling or showing acceptance that something unwanted or unpleasant will happen or cannot be changed.

    •Misery: being in a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress

    Research shows that people experience one or more of these states more often than they experience joy in their day-to-day lives. In this book, I collectively refer to these states of stress, tiredness, overwhelmedness, resignation and misery as the STORM of modern life. It is this STORM of modern life that erodes any sense of satisfaction, aliveness and joy.

    At the time I wrote this book, the world was in the grip of a global pandemic caused by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. You could say that we were also facing a STORM outbreak—a STORM epidemic that has stealthily taken hold of the twenty-first century and is spreading fast.¹⁵

    It seems paradoxical that the more advanced we become and the faster the pace of life, the more STORM we experience, at the cost of our satisfaction, aliveness and joy. This has a direct impact on our well-being. If we are the inventors and creators of our rapidly advancing external world, why does it feel like we have not really advanced our internal world at the same pace to break through and interrupt the STORM?

    In a 1998 article in the Harvard Business Review entitled How Hardwired is Human Behavior?, Nigel Nicholson, a professor of organizational behaviour at the London Business School, wrote:

    A convergence of research and discoveries in genetics, neuropsychology, and paleobiology, among other sciences, evolutionary psychology holds that although human beings today inhabit a thoroughly modern world of space exploration and virtual realities, they do so with the ingrained mentality of Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Homo sapiens emerged on the Savannah Plain some 200,000 years ago, yet

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