Care About How You Feel
About a year and a half ago, when I first made my decision to create a life filled with passion, joy, and fun for myself – and to help others do the same – I had no idea where my path would lead me. I only knew where I wanted to go. I remember being told that the only thing I needed to focus on was my vision for the life I wanted, so I thought, “Why not? The process seems simple enough.” I trusted the advice I had been given to not worry about the “how’s”; that the next steps would always reveal themselves as I moved forward.
I started visualizing my dreamed-of life, and that’s when I discovered something about myself. I’m great at building a picture in my head and then describing what I see in written form, but when it came to holding that picture in my mind without writing it down, I was a complete disaster. Visualization wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The moment I started picturing myself living the life I wanted, my mind would immediately start chasing squirrels and shiny objects. Focusing on a specific vision turned into an exercise to see how many seconds it would take before my thoughts started wondering.
So I started writing down the pictures I saw in my mind. That helped a LOT, but it wasn’t long before I started to notice an interesting phenomenon. I was able to create very detailed descriptions as I wrote, but when I when I went back to read what I wrote, I couldn’t focus. My mind still got distracted by those squirrels and shiny objects. The problem was that every time I tried to focus on the details of what I wanted, I felt worse, not better. It actually reached the point where I stopped visualizing and I stopped writing because I wanted to feel good, not bad. I continued with my (semi-daily) meditation, but I abandoned visualizing altogether.
That was a low point for me. I had heard so much about how important visualization was, about how elite athletes, famous musicians, and successful entrepreneurs used visualization as the key to their success. Was I doomed to mediocrity and a life of misery because I couldn’t properly visualize what I wanted? I really started to think so.
My breakthrough came when I was preparing to teach an Infinite Possibilities class. As a Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer, I’ve become very familiar with Mike Dooley’s masterwork and the simple, pragmatic advice he offers to live the life of our dreams. The class I was preparing just happened to talk about visualization, and while reading through that chapter Mike reminded me that if I’m unable to build a detailed picture in my mind, then I should just go for the feeling of happy. In some ways, those of us who struggle with the details of visualization have an advantage over others; because we can jump straight to the feeling of we are going for, which is the feeling of joy, or happiness. The “clear picture” is just a means to get us to the feeling.
Thunderbolt moment. That reminder was exactly what I needed, and I realized that Mike was right. I’ve always found it easier to go straight to the feeling I want rather than building up to it. For me, the detailed picture was a distraction, and I came to understand that being general about what I wanted was better for ME than being specific. I could still be both crystal clear AND generic. How? Here’s my list of what I want in my life:
- Friends, fun and laughter
- To do creative, rewarding work that engages my natural enthusiasm and passion
- To be my own boss
- Wealth and abundance
- Domestic and international travel
As you can see, the list is both clear AND general. Even better, the details fill themselves in as I go along. Once I understood how my mind operated, I resumed my visualizations. I simply thought of my five general criteria, and I imagined how it felt to have those things in my life. The results were incredible. I started feeling much better about everything, and the details of what I wanted really did start showing up in remarkable, unexpected ways. When I started caring about how I felt, everything changed.
When we care about how we feel, we make decisions that are aligned with our highest good. Unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek, who suppress their feelings in favor of making decisions based on logic, I have found that paying attention to our feelings is an excellent way to know whether or not we’re connected to Source, and whether or not we’re following the path that is best for us. The simple rule of thumb is this: If you feel good, you’re going in the right direction. If you feel bad, you’re not.
I’m obviously not the first person to share this idea, nor will I be the last. I’m sure you’ve heard it thousands of times before. However, the principle of our feelings being the perfect compass to guide us on our journey is so fundamental to our existence, it bears repeating many, many times if necessary. I’ve found that this simple truth often needs to be stated in different ways, by different people, so that those who need to hear the message will understand it.
That’s today’s message. Care about how you feel. Have a clear vision of what you want, but if you can’t fill in the details, don’t worry about. Just feel the passion of living that life. Feel the fun that you’ll have on your journey. Feel the joy of being alive and how happy you are with your life. Feel it. Believe it. And it will be.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.