Anxiety and stress is a learned helplessness, it is strategy that you learned from a very early age. It is not because your “family of origin” was evil or stupid, someone taught them this strategy too.
Think about the puritanical and historical American roots, we are unique at how vociferously and energetically we beat ourselves up. It is a cultural and historical value to beat the crap out of ourselves, and work really hard, and hopefully if you don’t get some solace in this life, you’ll get it in the next because you were born a sinner. We focus on the problems, it comes from our cultural programming.
The top 10% of the world, the most successful people, don’t think this way. They focus on the solution, they put a smile on their face, they put joy in their body. They put joy, love, excitement, growth, and a vision of an amazing future into everything they are doing. When it doesn’t work out they say, “Oh well, it’ll work out tomorrow.”
And then they believe, they hope, they work towards, and they focus on the best case scenario. That’s the difference between the top 10% and the other 90%, they are not busy worrying about what might or might not happen. They focus on what they want.
And think about how many people criticize and beat them up and say, “You’re just a Pollyanna! You’re never gonna be great, you’re never going to be successful because you’re not mired in problems.”
So how do you change a belief? How do you go from worrying about things to being hopeful and excited? You must put the emotion in your body that you would have when the belief is true. And voilà, the belief will change rapidly. We love to match the emotional content to the thought, that’s the lighter fluid and that’s how we change, and you can control it.
I am not a fan of “fake it till you make it,” it does not have high integrity. You can’t look at a bank account that says zero and fake being wealthy and say you have a lot of money. What you can believe though, is putting the emotions of wealth in your body.
For those of you who struggle with this, and say or think that you can’t or don’t know how to do it, how often do you put anxiety or worry in your body? Even when the likelihood is remote that your fear will come true? You know how to put future emotions in your body. You can put the emotion of wealth and love in your body, and now you feel wealthy and you can think wealthy thoughts that has a congruence. You can say things like, “I know everything I need to know to change my current circumstances, I have all the power and capability, I may not have every answer but I’m solving my life and I’m on fire! I’m moving forward, I’m the man/woman to get this done!” And this is a function of putting that future emotion in your body.
I generally still have a lot of people that wrestle with this. If you were teaching a child a great strategy for handling a future event that is very important to them, would you ever say to them, “What you need to do is put stress and anxiety and worry in your body and imagine all the possible worse outcomes, and then plan for them or hope they don’t occur. Whatever you do, don’t get excited at the endless possibilities or how it might turn out. It will only lead to disappointment.” It doesn’t make any sense when you hear it that way, does it? But how many people do that?
And when the anxiety rises because the challenge or risk is high and you are busy trying to NOT get your hopes up that life is going to fix it or that you are in fact the man/woman to make it happen, the emotions that you choose to put in your body, the lighter fluid, is worry and anxiety and fear. And you do it because if you were to put excitement in your body, or hope and joy at the challenge and opportunity, you might get disappointed if it doesn’t turn out your way. So you don’t do it.
Would you ever say, “my dearest child, what you need to do is put stress and anxiety and worry and imagine all the worse outcomes and plan for them and hope they don’t occur, don’t get excited because it’ll lead to disappointment.” Would you ever say that to your child?
And what if your child were to ask you in response, “So when we put these fears and concerns in our body for a possible disappointing future, how often does the worse actually happen?” And this is the comedy of this, this is how dumb this is, do you reply, “That is the beauty of this strategy! Because we do this is how we avoid disappointment! Because we worry, that is why the worst rarely happens!”
Really!? And you sit there and think of course this makes sense, you would never tell your child to live that way. You would never tell them that’s the beauty of anxiety and fear and worry. Do you want someone you love and care about growing up that way?
So the question becomes, what does this really mean for you today? What future are you trying to create? What emotions do you choose to put in to your body? What’s the focus? Is it fear and avoiding disappointment because you believe that will somehow change the worry and bring a solution to you? Doesn’t make any sense when you hear it this way does it?
When you are busy putting fear in your body and your thoughts and your approach to your reality, that’s why that is the way it often works out.
If you are a worrier, if you put anxiety and stress in your body, if you are not putting joy and excitement in your body about your challenges, you are really missing out! You are missing out on your potentiality and your greatness. It’s how you think about it, feel about it, and it’s what you focus on, that makes your life come alive!