Friday

What Has to Happen In Order For You to Feel Good?

Do you have to have someone hug you, kiss you, tell you how much they appreciate and respect you? Must you climb the corporate ladder, make a million dollars? Do you have to slim down by losing 12kg? Do you have to drive the latest BMW model, wear a rolex watch, be known by the right people? What really has to happen in order for you to feel good? Frankly, nothing has to happen in order for you to feel good. You have the ability to feel good right now for absolutely no reason at all!

Think about it. If you make a million dollars, the million dollars doesn't give you any pleasure. It's your rule that says, "when I hit this mark, then I'll allow myself the permission to feel good." In that very moment, when you decide to feel good, you send a message to your brain to change your responses in the muscles of your face, chest, and body, to change your breathing, and to change the biochemistry within your nervous system that causes you to feel the sensations we call "pleasure."

Real life experience
Two years ago, I went to a local club party event that was publicly known to be one of the greatest party of the year organized by top DJs and local celebrities. While queuing up for the entrance, I began to look around and entertain myself by watching the diversity of people who had come to share this "big" occasion. People from all walks of life, from top businessman, to local universities' students, from bookworm nerds to punk and emo. Here were hordes of people who were all looking forward to a common goal, all of us were obviously looking forward to an exciting and unforgettable evening, spending money on an expensive ticket just to witness an extremely hot local celebrity.

After I've exchanged my ticket for an UV ink chop on my hand, I immediately went up the 2nd level to meet up with my group of friends who had booked a table. It took me roughly 10 minutes to get there from the main entrance which is only 20 meters away at most. The entire club was jammed pack. I was fortunate enough to be on the 2nd level, I have a perfect view on the entire dance floor. During the first one hour of the event, I witnessed a lot of happy faces, everyone seems to be having lots of fun, I thought to myself "certainly this is going to be the 'greatest' party of the year." Unfortunately, this only lasted for a while. The moment the DJ announced that the "extremely hot local celebrity," was not going to make it to the event, I had a chance to observe an unlimited range of human emotion. Each person in the club responded according to their own rules: Their beliefs about what had to happen in order for them to feel good about this particular experience.

A friend behind me starting cursing vulgar from four different languages. A girl only a few feet away pointed an international logo to the DJ, some at the dance floor were screaming and shouting so loud at one another for whatever reason, some immediately went out of the club, knocking, banging and pushing everyone out of their way. After 10 minutes, I began to casually talk to several strangers beside our table, It's more like an "interview section." I wanted to find out what their experience in this party had been. Most of them talked about how this was the most exciting and havoc party ever. One girl told me that this was the greatest party she has participated in three years, another of her friend jokingly told me that this party was even better than having sex.

What's the differences in people's responses
What determined the differences in these people's responses, from one man who got so upset he smashed his own Martell drink on the spot, to those who experienced not only fun and excitement, but would experience it every time they told others about how great this party in the coming weeks, months and years? Our experience of this reality had nothing to do with reality, but was interpreted through the controlling force of our beliefs: specifically, the rules we had about what had to happen in order for us to feel good. Failure to understand this power can destroy any possibility for lifelong happiness, and a full understanding and utilization of them can transform our life.

Who do you think had the worst time that evening? Those with the most intense rules about what had to happen before they could feel good! Don't misunderstand; there's nothing wrong with being committed to accomplishing and doing everything you can. But years ago, I made a distinction that changed the quality of my life forever: So long as we design our lives in a way where our happiness is determine by events we cannot control, our life will be heading downward spiral, we will certainly experience a lot of pain.

Take Control
Personally, I enjoyed the party immensely. The reason why I enjoyed the party was not that I had low expectations; I was looking forward to meet a gorgeous celebrity in person. But that very day, I decided that my rule was that I was going to enjoy this event no matter what happened. It wasn't that I didn't have expectations; It was that I decided that no matter what happened, I'd find a way to enjoy it.

Now, if you adopted and consistently applied this rule to your own life, can you see how that would change virtually everything you experience? When I tell people about this rule, some of them respond, "yeah, but you're just lowering your standards." Nothing could be further from the truth! To adopt this rule is to raise your standards. It means you'll not settle for anything less and challenge yourself to a higher standard where you can enjoy yourself despite of any unexpected circumstances. It means you're in control, you're flexible, creative and intelligent enough to direct your evaluations in a way that allows you to experience the ultimate richness of life.

Please understand that whether or not you feel like you're achieving your values is totally dependent upon your rules - your beliefs about what has to happen for you to fell successful or happy, or experiencing love. You can decide to make happiness your priority, but if your rule for happiness is that everything must go just as you planned, I guarantee you're not going to experience this value on a consistent basis. Life is a variable event, so our rules must be organized in ways that allow us to adapt, grow, and enjoy. It's critical for us to understand these unconscious beliefs that control when we give ourselves panic and when we give ourselves pleasure.

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