Happiness and Success

Live Your Best Life by Choosing to Feel It Out, Not Figure It Out

a man with his hand on his head looking into the distance
Image by Abdulwali Yasini 


Narrated by the author, Amy Eliza Wong.

Watch video version on InnerSelf.com or on YouTube

Think about all the activities and pursuits in which you’re involved and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Answers generally revolve around the thing or the accomplishment. “It's because I want a promotion; more money; a relationship…” Have you ever considered why you want these things?  

Most of us assume it’s for the thing itself and simply stop there. But guess what? It’s not the thing we want. We want the feeling we think we’ll have as a result of attaining the thing.  

This is true of everything we’re up to, everything we want, and everything we think we want. That thing — whether it’s a promotion or a partner — is in our line of sight as a way to achieve a desired feeling state. We don’t want a thing. We want a feeling. 

A Liberating "Aha" Moment

As simple as this sounds, understanding this distinction tends to be a liberating “aha” for us. Why? Because it forces us to examine and break free from the fruitless formula — the one we’re taught in our youth that follows this rationale: get good grades so that you get into a good college; get into a good college so that you can get a good job; get a good job so that you can make lots of money; make lots of money so that then you can be happy. 

We’re not taught to question this logic. In our hard-driving culture, struggling is our grand old tradition. So, we set forth and do everything we can to figure out how to achieve a goal — a “what” — and lose sight of the big why. Then we wonder why we feel hollow when our life looks great on paper. 

When we’ve accomplished what we set out to do, but still feel unfulfilled, we attempt to figure out what’s next and reach for yet another thing. Then we strategize our path to achieve the next thing, wondering when we’ll finally have it all figured out. 

But therein lies the predicament. We can’t figure our way into happiness. We have to feel our way into it. Because happiness is a feeling, not a thing. 

What Is Your Inner Goal?

Without considering what it is that we want to feel, how can we navigate in any direction at all? We assign significant importance to achieving an outer goal (thing) and put our effort into calculating how to make it happen despite the cost to our desired feeling state. Our calculus leaves out the inner goal, forsaking the entire reason that we set the goal in the first place!  

Consider the common predicament people tend to fall into when it comes to weight loss and to losing the last five pounds. We believe that only by losing those last five pounds will we attain the change in physique that will result in some grand lovely feelings: pride, joy, freedom, and peace of mind. But the effort required to take — and keep — those last five pounds off is anything but freeing and joyful.


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We want the thing (ideal body weight), assuming it’s going to set us free from our own judgment. But in the effort of attaining the thing, we’re not free at all. We choose to focus on the thing, forsaking the feeling we’re really after in the first place.  

3 Strategies To Feel Out Your Best Life

Use these three strategies to feel out, not figure out, your best life: 

1. Ask a better question.

When you find yourself trying to figure out what’s next for yourself, don’t ask, “What do I want to achieve?” Ask instead, “What do I want to feel?”

2. Notice how you speak to yourself.

How you speak to yourself usually reveals whether strategy or feeling is your guide.

Figuring it out sounds like: “This option sounds like a good idea.” “This makes sense.” “After weighing the pros and the cons, I’ve decided __.”

Feeling it out sounds like: “This feels right.” “Something feels off about this.” “My gut says __.” Choose your felt perception that’s pointing you in the direction of what you really want in the first place: a feeling. 

 3. Lean into inspiration.

Inspiration is like an energetic “aha” originating from an innate wisdom deep within. Inspiration feels like your breath getting knocked into you. Follow it — even if it doesn’t make sense. As Steve Jobs once said, “Follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” 

When we follow the feeling, we become less attached to the things we think will make us happy. We get hooked on momentum, not accomplishment. And then the phrase “The joy is in the journey and not the destination” takes on a whole new meaning. We take on a whole new zest for life, living our best life on purpose

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Book by this Author:

BOOK: Living on Purpose

Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy
by Amy Eliza Wong

book cover of Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy by Amy Eliza WongMany people from all walks of life, even after their many accomplishments and experiences, are often plagued by feelings of dissatisfaction and deep questioning. These feelings may lead them to wonder if the life they are living is the life they were meant to lead.

Living On Purpose is the guidebook these people have been waiting for. This book shows readers how to feel more connected to the people around them and how to be truly satisfied by the life they’re leading. Written by transformational leadership coach Amy Wong, this book will help shift readers to a mindset of possibility and freedom. 

For more info and/or to order this book, click here

About the Author

photo of Amy Eliza WongAmy Eliza Wong is a certified executive coach who has devoted more than 20 years to the study and practice of helping others live and lead on purpose. She works with some of the biggest names in tech and offers transformational leadership development and internal communication strategies to executives and teams around the world.

Her new book is Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy (BrainTrust Ink, May 24, 2022). Learn more at alwaysonpurpose.com.   
  

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