Matt Patrick Kelly’s Five Principles for Living a Joyful Life


Matt Patrick Kelly is a former police officer, martial artist, and author of The Book on Situational Awareness. He is also the founder of The Knight’s Path, a modern-day knighthood that aims to provide products and services that benefit humanity. Throughout his life, Kelly has learned valuable lessons about what it takes to live a joyful life. This article will explore his five principles for achieving this goal. These principles along with the deeper meaning of each become a roadmap for one’s life, with waypoints along the way for anyone, at any age and stage in their life to live with more meaning, fulfillment, and joy.

  1. Have a Mission

According to Kelly, one of the most critical factors in a joyful life is having a mission. A mission is your “why”, your foundation, what motivates you to get out of bed each morning to accomplish. A mission should be pondered well with self-reflection to know that when things get challenging, the drive to accomplish the mission is always still worth pursuing. Missions can range from short term to life long. You can have more than one or several missions you’re pursuing at the same time, but they should never conflict with one another but support the joy and meaning of each during their pursuits. This could be anything you’re passionate about, whether a career, a hobby, fitness, eating healthy or a charitable cause. When you’re acting upon a mission you care deeply about, you feel fulfilled in a way that nothing else can replicate. Kelly advises people to find something they love and pursue it with everything they have.

2. Purpose

Another principle that Kelly emphasizes is to live with purpose. A mission is meaningless without being purposeful in its pursuit. Purpose is planning and goal setting to accomplish your greater mission. The goals within your purpose will be based on the mission you’d set out to accomplish. These will often be short, middle and long-term goals dependent upon the mission or missions you’ve set for yourself. Without purpose to plan and goal set to achieve your mission(s) in life your know where your are and where you’d like to end up but not how to get there.

3. Camaraderie: Surround Yourself with Great People

The people you surround yourself with have a significant impact on your life. Kelly stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, supportive, and inspiring individuals. Being around people who lift you up and encourage you can help you stay motivated and optimistic, even during tough times. On the other hand, being around negative, toxic people can bring you down and make it harder to achieve your goals. Kelly advises people to choose their friends wisely and to seek out those who share their values and aspirations. A key component to camaraderie is asking questions to learn from others. Be an open minded, willing student, as well as teaching, mentoring, fostering development and growth in others. This pays-it-forward, is good karma, and one of the best ways to learn is to teach and share knowledge.

4. Preparation

Preparation is acting upon the goals set in the purpose principle to achieve your desired mission. This is the “getting there” between knowing where you are and where you’d like to end up. Preparation is planning, action, movement, doing. Planning alone is meaningless without acting upon the preparation, so it must have thought coupled with energy expenditure to be effective. Have you ever prepared for a test? If you never took the test, then the preparation to take the test was a waste of time. Ever heard of paralysis by analysis? This is when people spend too much time in the planning phase yet take no action towards that which they’ve made preparation for. So don’t waste valuable time and energy, preparing if you’re not willing to act upon the things you need to do, to purposefully achieve your mission.  Also, don’t try to be perfect, any action towards your mission is better than no action taken at all. Mistakes can and do happen, if made these can become valuable lessons which will grant you wisdom to course correct and you will be more effective in the long run in your pursuits.

5. Faith

Finally, Kelly believes faith is essential for living a full and joyful life. Faith is three-fold. First, faith in something greater than yourself, something bigger than yourself. Otherwise, what morals, tenets, and values would you hold yourself to that are higher than reproach? Without faith in something greater, you could become easily bound to the standards, behaviors, actions, and judgements valued by just the human species. As we all know, human judgement, forgiveness, or punishment are often met with resistance based on personal opinions, our pasts, upbringings, socioeconomic status etc. and it is too easy to latch on to one way of thinking or completely discount another without having faith in something greater than yourself. Second, faith in yourself. None of us are perfect but there is only one person in your life that will make what you want to happen, happen, and that’s you. Self-confidence, self-development, and self-help are key in giving you the confidence to get out of bed each day and go after your pursuits with vigor. Third, is faith in others. Bottom line is most of us need all kinds of people in our lives. We’d be lost without the everyday workers who provide almost everything we depend on to live a happy, fulfilling, and joyful life. These can range from factory workers, famers, truckers, powerplant employees, electricians, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, along with close friends, family and loved ones. Try to have faith, and respect for others when and where deserved. As in the principle of camaraderie, be wise in your choices of who you keep close.  

In conclusion, Matt Kelly’s joyful life principles are simple but powerful. You can create a life full with more fulfillment and joy by having a meaningful mission, purpose, camaraderie, preparation followed by action, and faith. Kelly’s ideas come from his own experiences and observations and can help anyone who wants to live a more satisfying life. Whether you’re struggling to find meaning in your current situation or simply looking to improve your overall well-being, these principles can help you achieve your goals and live a life of joy and purpose.