I believe that we all want to be happy deep down. However, certain events cause human beings to either fall into a positive, or into a negative state. I’m sure we all can think of a situation in which someone or something brought us down unconsciously.
The phone or the computer that stopped working, the person you’re waiting that’s late, an unusual outcome you didn’t expect… there are quite a number of reasons why we could transition from a positive to a negative state.
In the same way, events that trigger happiness may happen : someone you love makes you a gift, you get to eat an awesome dish cooked by a recognized chef, you receive a $5000 check in your mailbox – it actually did happen to me, made me very happy!
There’s nothing wrong with that. We are simply creatures of emotion, and react according to the situation we face.
However, this is a double-edged sword.
Just like it can make you immensely happy, it can also tear you down.That’s right : you become at the mercy of everybody else. In other words, if I can change your state, then I get to decide whether you feel happy or unhappy. This means that instead of you controlling yourself, people are controlling you.
This is usually a way negative people like to use to bring people down, as the saying goes : ”If you want to be the tallest building in the city, you can either build your own, or you can tear down everyone else’s.”
To feel better about themselves, people may want to bring you down. Meaning that when they feel like it, they can bring you down to their level. This is the trap I don’t want you to fall into.
There are powerful ways you can use not to be affected by the outside world, but today I’m going to talk about only one of them, as there are a good amount of things to say.
Direct Your Focus
We’re going to play a little game, so you can come up with the answer by yourself first. Then, I will give you the answer. Let’s call it a kind of ‘problem’. The purpose is to get you to be directly involved in the proccess so that you can better retain that information.
Two people go to Afghanistan, and both of them end up losing their legs by landing on a mine. When they come back, one is devastated, depressed and is blaming god for what has happened to him, while the other is surprisingly smiling and thanking god. Why is that ?
I want you to ponder on this unusual situation.
You lost your legs. You can’t walk anymore. Is there any worse than that ? Probably not. You and I would probably be devasted too, wouldn’t we?
How come can the other guy smile ? How is that even possible ?
After you lose your ability to walk, which will inevitably affect your life in a HUGE way, how can you be happy ? It may sound like a twisted logic, can’t it ?
Well, the answer is a beautiful one. That’s why I particularly like that story.
Although one decided that his life was over, from the moment he lost his legs, the other thought otherwise. Instead of thinking : ”Why did it happen to me, god ?” like the other guy, he shifted his thinking to : ”Thank you, god. Thank you for letting me live a little longer.”
Fascinating, isn’t it ?
Just from that one experience, they both concluded two different things, which greatly affected their way of living afterwards.
Just think about it. How different for you would it be, to think either of these things ? How horrible you would feel, thinking that you didn’t deserve that. And how grateful you would feel, thinking that god was merciful enough to let you live.
I love that story. It’s a simple and easy-to-understand way to illustrate the power of the human mind.
By the way, if you hadn’t guessed it by now, the answer here is the word ‘focus’. I’d like to illustrate this powerful tool with a real-life exemple, but before that, I want to dive deeper into this technique.
A great and wise saying of Tony Robbins is : ”What you focus on, you feel.”
And that’s entirely true.
What you focus on.. you feel.
If you focus on the bad, guess what you’ll find ? The bad. And guess what happens when you found it ? It’s going to inevitably change your state.
How To Easily Direct Your Focus
Do this exercise for me. I just did it and I feel great as I’m writing this.
First, I want you to close your eyes and think about all the terrible things that happens in the world. People being robbed, killed, or worse. People manipulating each other and people lying to each other.
I’d like you to do it for at least 5 minutes. Think deep and hard about it. Why does it happen ? Why are people so bad ? I want you to answer these questions and feel it.
Now, I’m no medium, but I already know how you feel : you feel terrible, right ? Why would you even think that in the first place ?
Well, for two reasons : first to show you how a lot of people programmed their mind to think. When the slightlest discomfort appears, they start to negatively think about it. Second, to prove you the power of focusing, and feeling.
Now, I don’t want you to do that for too long. After all, you might start being in a bad mood.
Let’s do the opposite, shall we ? And that one, I want you to do it as often as possible. Even 2 minutes if you have some time during breaks. This is something you can.. no, you MUST repeat again and again in order for you to not only feel better, but also to condition your mind to be in a great state all the time.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes and think of the emotion you want to feel more. In this case, let’s pick happiness, although it works with every emotion you can come up with.
Then, focus on something, or someone you love. You can also focus on a good event that happened to you recently.
If you can’t think of anything like that, just make it up. Make a lie become truth, or make an illusion become reality.
You could even put some music in the background, to reinforce that atmosphere. I love to do that.
For at least 5 minutes, I want you to make that scene real. See it bright and big in your mind, look at the people in there, and focus on the moment. Focus on the joy you felt or will feel if that were to happen.
Would you laugh ? Would you danse ? How would the other person react ? What would they do ? How would that make you feel ? In short, I want you to think of the best-case scenario. What did happen, or could happen if everything was working out.
Try to make it as clear as possible. I don’t want you to ”imagine” it, I want you to LIVE it.
I can guarantee you that after 5 minutes of living that dream or event that made you happy, you’re going to feel happy. It is NOT possible to feel unhappy after feeling happy, except if you disrupt this pattern of thinking about good things.
Like I said, it works with every emotion. You can do the same thing if you want to be more confident, or if you want to feel at peace. No matter what emotion you want to experience, do this exercise and I promise you will feel it.
How This Technique Changed My Life
To conclude, I’d like to get a little more intimate with you.
A few months ago, my mother passed away. She was still pretty young, and even though I always acted tough in front of her, it literally broke my heart when I learned it. I couldn’t stop crying and had lots of regrets.
Even now, a few months after, I still am affected by her death.
However, I don’t let this experience dictate how I feel. Instead of thinking hard about it – which I could do, I’ve decided to direct my focus elsewhere.
In fact, now that I’m remembering this experience, I’m starting to feel pretty sad.
It’s not a bad thing : from time to time, I find it good to express myself. However, this example shows that my mind is the one that gets to dictate how I feel. To feel differently, I can just shift my focus.
If I want to feel sad, I can just think about an event that made me sad.
If I want to feel angry, I can just think about an event that made me upset.
If I want to feel grateful, I can just think about an event that made me grateful.
I can even make one up. I could think about something sad that might happen in the future to feel sad, just like I can feel about my dream coming true in the future to feel happy and excited.
This is how powerful your mind is, and this is how practical this technique is. The easiest way to changing your emotional state, is to shift your focus. Your mind simply cannot be focused on two things at the same time. Your mind cannot be both angry and happy.
Once you understand how your brain works, you can start making adjustements to the way you behave, and this will surely, make an immense impact on your life.