The true reason behind why we want to succeed
It seems that the entire western world is on a constant pursuit of success. Although success can mean different things to different people, what we usually mean by ‘success’ is ‘achievement’. Most of us are looking to achieve success with our finances, careers, relationships, bodies. Some of us even associate success with living in a mansion or driving a dream car.
But what does success or the achievement of it give you? Let’s take the example of money. When people dream of becoming rich, they are not fantasising about owning millions of pieces of paper with pictures of dead people on them! What we really want are the emotions we associate with money: for example, the sense of freedom, security, or comfort we believe money will give us, or the joy that comes from sharing our wealth. In other words, it’s the feelings we are after, not the money itself!
Relating to finances, but equally all other aspects of your life, there is a single decision you can make today that can change the rest of your life. This one decision – if you consistently act on it – will bring you more joy, more peace of mind, more wealth and success that most people can imagine.
Before I tell you what the decision is, risking that you dismiss it as an airy-fairy suggestion or even complete non-sense, let me give you an example to pave the way for your true understanding of the power behind the decision: Do you know the American actor and comedian, Robin Williams? Of course, you do! He was loved by millions of people across the globe. Robin Williams achieved so much that our culture has conditioned us to value including fame or fortune. Yet despite all his achievements, all his success, all his gifts it was never enough. He suffered for decades, trying to deal with his stress through the use, and sometimes abuse, of alcohol and drugs. Near the end of his life, he was also diagnosed with a progressive neurological disorder, Lewy body disease.
Robin Williams was a good man who cared deeply about others – a man who contributed so much to the world, despite his long battle with addiction, depression, and ill health. But in the end, he made everyone happy except himself. Despite all the successes as perceived by the modern world, his suffering became so strong that he took his own life.
Robin Williams was undoubtably a high achiever, yet he hung himself leaving his loving family behind devastated and shocked!
Our survival brain focuses on what’s wrong
The human brain isn’t designed to make us happy or 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.
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 easiest path, although ironically it doesn’t feel that way. 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.
Beautiful state vs. suffering state
The mental and emotional state in which you live is ultimately the result of where you choose to focus your thoughts. The good news is that you can absolutely learn to shift focusing from thoughts that disempower you to thoughts that empower you.
You are the creator of what feels real to you, you create how you feel and what you experience by the thoughts you choose to think.
A Beautiful State: When you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity, passion or appreciation, you are 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 are in harmony with your true essence.
A Suffering State: When you are feeling stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful or fearful, you are in a suffering state. We have all experienced these and countless other ‘negative’ emotions, even if we aren’t keen to admit it! Most achievers much prefer to think they are stressed than fearful. But ‘stress’ is just the achiever word for fear! If I follow the trail of your stress, it will take me to your deepest fear.
So what determines whether you are in a beautiful state or a suffering state? You might assume that it depends mostly on your external circumstances. If everything is working out for you, it’s easy to be in a beautiful state! But in reality, the mental and emotional state in which you live is ultimately the result of where you choose to focus your thoughts!
Either you master your mind or it masters you. The secret to living an amazing life is to take control of your mind, since this alone will determine whether you live in a suffering state or a beautiful state.
The most important decision of your life
Now you have allowed me to pave the way, and I do hope that it resonated with you, it may not come as a surprise 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. You have to decide that you are 100% responsible for your state of mind and for your experience of this life!
Control your mind to achieve a beautiful state
There are many different techniques you can use to take control of your mind and achieve a beautiful state. You can decide right now that you will no longer settle for a life that’s less than the one you deserve to feel and experience. All you have to do to change your life forever is to commit in your heart and soul to find something to appreciate in every moment!
Here are two tools to get you started:
Tool #1: The 90 Second Rule
Whenever you start to suffer, give yourself 90 seconds to stop so that you can return to living in a beautiful state.
Follow these steps, they will help you get there:
- As soon as you feel the tension rising in your body, catch yourself: Gently breathe and slow things down.
- Step out of the situation and start to distance yourself from all those stressful thoughts that your brain is generating. It’s natural for these thoughts to arise, but they are just thoughts. When you slow down, you realize that you don’t have to believe these thoughts or identify with them. You can step back and say to yourself “Wow, look at that crazy thought go by!”
- Once you’ve detached yourself from these unwanted thoughts, start to focus your mind on finding something to appreciate. The survival brain is always searching for what’s wrong, but there is always something to appreciate. Maybe it’s the simple fact that you are alive and well, that you are still breathing! Maybe it’s the fact that you have the awareness to see that you are suffering, which gives you the ability to stop and let it go immediately.
It doesn’t matter what you appreciate. What matters is that by shifting your focus to appreciation, you slow down your survival brain. Love, joy and giving will all trigger the same positive transformation.
If you keep doing this with real consistency, you actually rewire your nervous system, training your mind to find the good in every situation so your experience of life is one of appreciation and joy.
Tool #2: 2 Minute Gratitude Meditation
We have the power to vault ourselves from a suffering state into a beautiful state in just 2 minutes by focusing on what we appreciate. It’s so simple and yet so profound: appreciation, enjoyment, and love are nothing less than the antidotes to suffering!
Take all of your negative thoughts and all of your negative emotions, trade them for appreciation, and your whole life changes in an instant.
Follow this guided meditation every time you feel stuck, helpless, or cannot think your way out of a frustrating, stressful or upsetting situation.
Guided Gratitude Meditation
Once you experience the meditation, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
- How do you feel now you have experienced the gratitude meditation?
- What did your heart guide you to remember, believe and do to resolve the issue?
- How will you follow through on your heart’s guidance?
- When will you follow through on your heart’s guidance?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What are you taking away to always remember when times get tough?
Even just a quick comment will help you to start taking your power back.
Thank you for reading, watching and adding your voice to the conversation.
Your contributions mean a lot more than you know.