I was rereading my post on the What Now Generation earlier, and thinking about how when I try to think of what I’d do if I could do anything RIGHT NOW, I have no idea. Each thing I dream of doing is kind of a one time thing, not an always thing.
But I read a book recently that changed the way I look at my future. It doesn’t seek to answer what you’d want to do. It asks how you want to feel in the future. Because that’s the motivation behind everything anyone does. We do all these things and set all these goals because we hope they’ll make us feel a certain way. We want to feel happy. We want to feel good. Or safe or important or confident or whatever.
I read Danielle LaPorte for the first time fairly recently, when I found her book “The Fire Starter Sessions.” That book was great, and it had a chapter that deals with core feelings. But the book I’m talking about, the book that really changed my thinking, was her latest – The Desire Map.
I hesitate to recommend it whole heartedly. Where Fire Starter was more about career and drive and productivity, Desire Map delves more deeply into feminine divinity and spirituality, which I’m uncomfortable with. If that kind of thing really bothers you, the book probably isn’t for you, but if you can ignore that, or if that’s your thing, go for it. The exercises are fantastic.
The whole idea is to go through the exercises and find out the few words that can encapsulate what your core desired feelings are. Do you want to feel important? Joyful? Appreciated? Do the words love, well-being, vivacious, or hot resonate with you?
After going through the book and analyzing the decisions I’ve made and the things I see for myself, I settled on three words. Joy, Dynamic and Affluent. I cut out a lot of options like confident, brilliant, peaceful, unwavering, inspired, and attuned as being better summed up in those three.
Joy – I seek out humor in everything. I write with humor, and the best books and movies to me are the ones that make me laugh or that make me really happy. I come from a funny family, and I’m usually a bit of a class clown. Humor is important, but joy goes deeper. Joy means finding the happiness and the peace in every situation. Joy means being able to overcome sadness because you have something deeper. To feel joyful, I dance to a song, read something inspiring, call my best friend, or watch a favorite show.
Dynamic – I originally had this as Important, until I read that your feelings should be things that come from yourself, not from external factors or other people. Being important is based on other people thinking I’m important and applauding or noticing me, so I scrapped that. Wanting to be important makes me uncomfortable – I see it as pretty selfish. But when I dug a little deeper, I saw that it wasn’t quite like that. I don’t want to be famous and have everyone think I’m super smart or pretty or anything. I want to make change happen and shake up the world around me. I also include being productive and creative under dynamic. I want to make things that impact people in positive ways, like a good story does for me. I want to feel Dynamic when I create things; like I’m creating something that matters. Otherwise, what’s the point of making anything? I think every artist or writer feels this way deep down. To feel dynamic I blog, sketch, make goals or plans, or even just read over my old plans.
Affluent – Affluent makes me think of wealth, and while I do want to be comfortable financially, I have no desire to have millions. What I want is the peace that comes with financial security, and the feeling that I can give freely, and often, without any hesitation. I want to be able to gift a friend a huge amount if they need it. I also want to feel affluent in my health – have a total sense of well-being. Affluence to me can be made with a simple, healthy meal, an afternoon walk enjoying the sunlight, or a moment of listening to my favorite song. I can day dream, drink coffee, or read a book.
Focusing on feeling a certain way seems so shallow at first, but if you really consider it, all our actions are based on what we think we’ll get out of them, and those are based on feelings. Intellectually I know that that cookie is made of sugar which excites certain pleasure centers in my brain, but the feelings I get from eating that cookie are beyond scientific.
Come on guys, you know what I mean.