Learn To Anticipate Joy

r.j. kushner
4 min readSep 30, 2023


I tried to do the “Up” house thing at my apartment and my landlord got really mad.

Hello and welcome to another helping of Extreme Meditation for Winning, the only mindfulness blog designed for winners. Take a moment to congratulate yourself for reading this. You’re either an executive chef at a fancy restaurant seeking self-improvement or an FBI agent tasked with sifting through all my writing “for clues.” In either case, I’m confident you’ll find a lot here to help you on your MindQuest (™).

I want to talk with you today about the idea of “Learning to anticipate joy.” What is joy? Well, it’s not just a coconut/almond candy bar, I can tell you that much, although that is a big part of it. Rather, real joy is when you win a car after keeping your hand on it for the longest amount of time.

This joy has happened to me twice now, although the first time it turned out the car wasn’t actually part of a hands on contest and I got pepper sprayed.

There’s joy to be found in ruining someone’s photo of a sunset.

The second time, the vehicle in question was perhaps the sexiest of all Ford supermini car offerings: the Fiesta. The competition must have begun with around 30 of us hopefuls. I pushed and kicked my way to a primo hand spot on the car hood where I didn’t have to put my arm up too high or too low (important for blood circulation). This position also allowed me a clear line of vision toward my rivals so I could throw dung at them if need be as a last resort.

The weak folded quickly, peeling away like bad stickers in the rain and revealing my true competitors: a nun named Sister Marge and a man in a large cowboy hat who went by “Junebug.” First I attempted to trick them by saying, “High five!” or “Look, a flag–let’s all salute!” But they were crafty. Next I tried to wear them down by whistling the theme of Antiques Roadshow over and over again. Still nothing.

This guy stole my scarf at the beach. If anyone sees him, tell me.

I was about to get my dung when Junebug got a call that his daughter, whom he was trying to win the car for, had fallen ill and his family needed him. He tipped his cowboy hat and left. Watching Junebug walk away from the competition to be with his family allowed me to see him for who he truly was: A Sucker (™). The only way to win a hands on car competition is to be a practitioner of the Extreme Meditation Lyfstyle, which, if done correctly, allows one to be in two places at once. I, for instance, was able to simultaneously compete in the contest and watch Dune on my phone.

It was now down to me and Sister Marge, who was trying to win the car for her convent. I was getting ready to start whistling again when Sister Marge turned to me and said, “We should give the car to Junebug.”

“Yeah, for sure,” I said. “All in favor raise both your hands and say, ‘Aye!’”

“I’m serious,” she said.

“I didn’t come this far to give up,” I said, rubbing tanning lotion on my ears. “I came because I anticipated joy.”

“My dear boy,” Sister Marge said. “I can tell you exactly where the joy is.”

“Tell me or I’ll throw dung,” I said.

“The joy,” she said, “is in the giving.”

Her words hit me like a high evaluation on Antiques Roadshow. My world exploded with light and possibilities at this wisdom, although the fumes from tanning lotion may have also contributed. Sister Marge and I high-fived–with both hands.

If you ask someone to marry you and they jump away like this it usually means “No thank you.”

Dear Winners, it’s hard to explain just how much joy I felt riding shotgun with Sister Marge to deliver the new Fiesta to Junebug and his family. We laughed and laughed and listened to the Dune soundtrack. Unfortunately Sister Marge is a bad driver and when I put my hands over her eyes and said “Guess who?” we crashed into a streetlamp and the car was totaled.

Regardless, the look on Junebug’s face when we showed up at his house late that night and told him what happened made it all worthwhile. He also let me use his toilet.

Start learning to anticipate joy. It might just lead you somewhere unexpected.

Nothing goes better together than sunrises and vaping.

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r.j. kushner

Dubbed by the New York Times as “all out of free articles this month.”