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Hooked on a Feeling

By Karen Wright

What is the one thing that you think most prevents you from being who you want to be, having what you want to have, and doing what you want to do?

No, it's not money or time. It's not education, opportunity or energy. The determining force in the quality, duration, and personal fulfillment of your life is emotional management - the ability and willingness to use conscious will, not feelings, to create your life.

This is not to say that emotions are bad. They are essential to life as a human being. Imagine the dullness of never experiencing highs or lows. It's what flavors our days. But, to be driven by fleeting and fickle feelings is to be a prisoner to your moods.

So, where do you land on the Emotional Maturity continuum? Consider these situations:

  • When you wake up feeling a bit "out of sorts," does everything from that point on seem to conspire to destroy you? Lost keys, stubbed toes, traffic jams, missed meetings...
  • If someone hurts your feelings, do you let it poison your attitude and spend the day replaying the hurt over and over - and imagine ways to get even?
  • Do you get unreasonably upset over some inconsequential thing at work... just because someone you don't like did it?
  • Does your resolution for action bite the dust within weeks because you can't resist the pull of old comfortable habits?
  • Can you be happy when those around you are in a bad mood?

When we're hostage to our feelings, not only will we feel manipulated by external situations and other people, we will never determine what we truly want. Our lives will depend upon conditions we can't control. We'll feel dependent and not the cause of our results. There's little point in building plans when we feel powerless to make them happen. In the words of an old proverb, this is a life built on shifting sands.

To will your life is to live with a sense of purpose and confidence. We must build that life upon something stronger and more eternal than moods and whims. A life founded on principles, values and ideals provides a security we'll never know with ephemeral feelings.

What is most important to you in life? Strip away all the transitory conditions -the possessions that wear out, the appearances that age, the status that wanes, and what do you have left? What is eternal in you? It will never be your circumstances. It will never be anything or person outside of you. What is eternal is your spiritual core and how you will that into being.

Before this month is over, find an hour or two to take a walk, breathe some fresh air, and consider, in the context of your whole life, what truly matters? What do you hold to be true to the core of your being? What do you dedicate your life to? Who do you wish to be each and every day to all you meet? What do you want your contribution to be? What experiences do you wish to have?

Begin to write this down... you may find it evolves as you become more clear and eloquent in describing the life you choose to will. (Notice that you could easily exchange the word "will" for the "cause"... they are the same power.) Until you use your will, you're choices will be buffeted by circumstances. When you know who you are and what you dedicate your life to, circumstances will not matter. How you feel in the moment won't throw you off your chosen course. Your way will be steady and your choices clear. As Roy Disney said, "It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."

Your will IS your power. You don't need to read another book or attend another workshop to learn how to design your life. It's one of life's most erroneous secrets - you already know and have everything you need to live a life of delicious purpose. You simply have to will it and believe it. Easy? Seemingly not. But, it's much easier if we stop pretending we're incompetent to decide and incapable of making it happen.

Belief is the miracle of creation. Belief causes the believed in. Belief does not bend to momentary feelings. Belief, through the use of will, is resolute. Stop believing in your doubts and start doubting your limiting beliefs. Take a measure - isn't your life a result of what you've truly believed to this point? There's the proof. To have a more magnificent life, have more magnificent beliefs. And then forge those beliefs with a relentless will.

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." —Epictetus

"People do not lack strength; they lack will." —Victor Hugo

"The education of the will is the object of our existence." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.
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