Thursday, March 23, 2017 / by Vince Schiavone
Look out!! I'm on a flight...again... This time I read something and instantly had the need to share it. It's about choosing to be happy...
(To be clear, this is ALL Tony Robbins...I'm simply the vehicle to get it into your mind!)
The human brain isn’t designed to make us happy and fulfilled. It’s designed to make us survive.
This two-million-year-old organ is always looking for what’s wrong, for whatever can hurt us, so that we can either fight it or take flight from it. If you and I leave this ancient survival software to run the show, what chance do we have of enjoying life? An undirected mind operates naturally in survival mode, constantly identifying and magnifying these potential threats to our well-being. The result: a life filled with stress and anxiety.
Most people live this way since it’s the path of least resistance. They make unconscious decisions, based on habit and conditioning, and are at the mercy of their own minds. They assume that it’s just an inevitable part of life to get frustrated, stressed, sad, and angry—in other words, to live in a suffering state. But I’m happy to tell you there’s another path: one that involves directing your thoughts so that your mind does your bidding, not the other way around.
Now, before we go any further, let’s just clarify the difference between these two emotional and mental states:
A Beautiful State
When you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity, or appreciation, you’re in a beautiful state. In this state, you know exactly what to do, and you do the right thing. In this state, your spirit and your heart are alive, and the best of you comes out. Nothing feels like a problem, and everything flows. You feel no fear or frustration. You’re in harmony with your true essence.
A Suffering State
When you’re feeling stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful, or fearful, you’re in a suffering state. We’ve all experienced these and countless other “negative” emotions, even if we’re not always keen to admit it! Most achievers much prefer to think they’re stressed than fearful. But “stress” is just the achiever word for fear. If I follow the trail of your stress, it’ll take me to your deepest fear.
Everyone has his or her own flavor of suffering. So here’s my question for you: What’s your favorite flavor of suffering? Which energy-sapping emotion do you indulge in most? Is it sadness? Frustration? Anger? Despair? Self-pity? Jealousy? Worry? The specific details don’t really matter because they’re all states of suffering. And all this suffering is really just the result of an undirected mind that’s hell-bent on looking for problems.
Think for a moment about a recent situation that caused you pain or suffering—a time when you felt frustrated or angry or worried or overwhelmed. Whenever you feel emotions like these, your sense of suffering is caused by your undirected mind engaging in one or more of three particular patterns of perception.
Consciously or unconsciously, you’re focused on at least one of three triggers for suffering:
1. Suffering trigger is “Loss.”
When you focus on loss, you become convinced that a particular problem has caused or will cause you to lose something you value. For example, you have a conflict with your spouse, and it leaves you feeling that you’ve lost love or respect. But it doesn’t have to be something someone else did—or failed to do—that caused you to perceive the sense of loss. This sense of loss can also be triggered by something you did or failed to do. For example, you procrastinated, and now you’ve lost a business opportunity. Whenever we believe in the illusion of loss, we suffer.
2. Suffering Trigger is “Less.”
When you focus on the idea that you have less or will have less, you will suffer. For example, you might become convinced that because a situation has occurred or a person has acted a certain way, you will have less joy, less money, less success, or some other painful consequence. Once again, less can be triggered by what you, or others, do or fail to do.
3. Suffering trigger is “Never.”
When you focus on the idea or become consumed by a belief that you’ll never have something you value—such as love, joy, respect, wealth, opportunity—you’re doomed to suffer, you’ll never be happy, you’ll never become the person you want to be. This pattern of perception is a surefire route to pain. Remember: the mind is always trying to trick us into a survival mindset! So never say never! For example, because of an illness, an injury, or because of something your brother did or said, you might believe that you’ll never get over it.
These three patterns of focus account for most, if not all, of our suffering. And you know what’s crazy? It doesn’t even matter if the problem is real or not! Whatever we focus on, we feel—regardless of what actually happened. Have you ever had the experience of thinking that a friend did something horrible to you? You became tremendously angry and upset, only to discover that you were dead wrong and that the person didn’t deserve all that blame! In the midst of your suffering, when all those negative emotions were swirling inside your head, the reality didn’t matter. Your focus created your feelings, and your feelings created your experience. Notice too that most, if not all, of our suffering is caused by focusing or obsessing about ourselves and what we might lose, have less of, or never have.
But here’s the good news: once you’re aware of these patterns of focus, you can systematically change them, thereby freeing yourself from these habits of suffering. It all starts with the realization that this involves a conscious choice. Either you master your mind or it masters you. (Read that again!!) Either you master your mind or it masters you!! The secret of living an extraordinary life is to take control of the mind since this alone will determine whether you live in a suffering state or a beautiful state.
IN THE END, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE POWER OF DECISIONS
Our lives are shaped not by our conditions, but by our decisions. If you look back on the last 5 or 10 years I’d be willing to bet that you can recall a decision or two that has truly changed your life. Maybe it was a decision about where to go to school, what profession to pursue, or who you chose to love or marry. Looking back on it now, can you see how radically different your life would be today if you had made a different decision? These and so many other decisions determine the direction of your life and can change your destiny.
So what’s the biggest decision you can make in your life right now? In the past, I would have told you that what matters most is who you decide to spend your time with, who you decide to love. After all, the company you keep will powerfully shape who you become.
But over the last two years, my thinking has evolved. What I’ve come to realize is that the single most important decision in life is this: Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you?
To put this another way, will you commit to enjoying life not only when everything goes your way but also when everything goes against you, when injustice happens, when someone screws you over, when you lose something or someone you love, or when nobody seems to understand or appreciate you? Unless we make this definitive decision to stop suffering and live in a beautiful state, our survival minds will create suffering whenever our desires, expectations, or preferences are not met. What a waste of so much of our lives!
This is a decision that can change everything in your life, starting today. But it’s not enough just to say that you’d like to make this change or that your preference is to be happy no matter what. You have to own this decision, do whatever it takes to make it happen, and cut off any possibility of turning back. If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats. You have to decide that you’re 100% responsible for your state of mind and for your experience of this life.
What it really comes down to is drawing a line in the sand today and declaring, “I’m done with suffering. I’m going to live every day to the fullest and find juice in every moment, including the ones I don’t like, BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT TO SUFFER.”
That was a LONG one!! Thanks for sticking it out and I hope it helps you to DECIDE to be happy...