In 2010 when I moved to Vail Colorado I was escaping to the mountains for more than just the skiing.
It was the hardest time in my life, and I was there to transform.
I had chosen a job that was way too hard for me, I was stuck in my work, feeling like crap beating up on myself, and I needed to fix my head.
I needed to become mentally stronger and clear the roadblocks my mind had put in my way; work that would take me another two seasons back to my mountain chrysalis.
It was there, in the isolation of the mountains, I began to go deep into the mind with hours of meditation and hypnosis a day, including while barreling down the hill.
It was there, even after a decade of R&D’g personal development, I began to appreciate the depth of these topics, and I started my 7+ year obsession with the mind.
Going down the rabbit hole I’ve focused on a lot of super deep ideas over the years, but ultimately, I began with just one.
How Do You Feel Amazing Every Day?
For years I lived the illusion that when I got what I wanted I would feel how I wanted to feel.
In the old days I would have told you I was “happy,” but I still believed that when that next thing I wanted came my way I would feel “better,” “happier.”
Yet here I was. Doing exactly what I wanted. Plenty of money in the bank. Living in the mountains of Vail Colorado skiing a season as I had dreamed for years, feeling blah, blah, blah.
Believing that if only I could get unstuck in my work and keep “making progress” I would be on track to that seemingly elusive goal of feeling amazing.
I Hated Bursting That Bubble
I’d come all the way from my working class roots to doing what I want, yet my brain was still looking ahead to that next thing that would have me feeling “amazing.”
I hated admitting that to myself. I hated accepting that spending my life driving towards what I wanted just had me feeling like I needed to reach that next station.
I couldn’t even just go out and enjoy skiing thigh deep pow.
I was still basically thinking the same way I had 20 years earlier, believing that when I “had done all that” then of course I would feel amazing.
I hated admitting to myself that was false, and most of my clients do too!
No matter what we’ve got or been or whatever, many of us still feel like “something” is missing.
Where Is It?
Us poor humans are like blind monkeys with a mini-flashlight.
Shining it everywhere, looking around, we’re searching for that “thing” that will fill up our kettle.
More money. More popularity. Another win. A hotter lover. Likes on FB. Whatever.
That thing we know if we can just get that spotlight shined on it, then, well, then we’ll feel exactly how we want to feel.
Yet even though we know that the last house, job, fast car, bang, whatever still left us grasping for that next thing, we still hold onto this foolish way of seeking that amazing feeling.
It seems foolish to write it that way, but it’s basically how our brains operate.
The limited conscious mind can and will spend every minute of every hour sniffing out that thing that will finally make it feel “like a success” or “worthy” or “secure” or “happy” or “complete” or whatever…
But it won’t find it. Because it’s in the other room where it can’t see, on the other side of the corpus callosum.
In her powerful TED talk that I’ve written about 3 million times and I hope you’ve all watched, Jill Bolte Taylor says—
We have the power to choose moment to moment who and how we want to be in the world. Right here right now I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are, I am.
As Dr. Jill points out, the left and right hemispheres of our brains operate differently, and one key to peak performance and peak happiness is be less left-brain “conscious.”
That part of our brain is constantly scanning the world for the things that are missing in our life and what we want, when it only gets in the way of absorbing in what you have.
That part of our brain distracts us from the only moment we can ever experience in the now, and shifting our awareness from left to right hemisphere brings us right here.
A Secret to Top Performance and Feeling Amazing
You don’t ski by thinking about it. If you let that left hemisphere of yours take charge, you will turn right into that tree.
Instead you absorb, you do, be, and let that other mind ski.
Breathing is the same. So too is walking. Try paying careful attention to every step and you’ll experience why it’s best to just leave it to the right part of you.
Here we’re fully absorbed in the moment. We’re not thinking about walking or skiing, we’re simply walking or skiing. We’re no longer thinking. We’re doing, being.
Here we are our best, and our happiest.
And, the special bonus is, if you do this just right and for long enough, you enter the flow state, which as you guys know is like crack on skis.
When I talk about this with folks they inevitably ask, “OK, smarty-pants, how do I do that?”
I ask them back, “How do you not do it?”
In other words, what must you be doing to not be fully absorbed in this moment?
Write up your list and it looks something like: thinking about the so-called future or past, dwelling on thoughts in the mind and feelings in the body, thinking about doing something rather than just absorbing in doing it, etc.
It’s like standing at the top of a steep run talking yourself out of it, getting all fearful and cautious, versus doing what my mate Paulo does and just throwing a back flip.
Or sitting “trying” to write a book looking at thousands of pages of mess freaking yourself out with “all that work,” versus just loving absorbing in writing for a few hours.
In other other words: Think of the ways you get in your own way of just fully absorbing in what you are doing, and train yourself to STOP DOING THAT…
How Does This Apply To You?
How do you measure your happiness?
Honestly? Really, how happy do you feel you are? Are you as happy as you can be? Are you feeling your equivalent of “amazing?”
Are you still waiting for that next thing to come your way so you can feel how you want to feel? That problem in your life to go away?
How much more do you see that you can feel more how you want just by stopping thinking about so many things in your life and just being absorbed in what you’re doing?
Do you feel that way now? Absorbed in reading this? Perhaps you will if you go back and read it again, but what you really want is to train yourself to absorb more in everything you do.
What activities in your life do you find yourself feeling this way? Running? Driving? Surfing? Basketball? Riding? Sex? What is it for you?
What other activities could you enjoy more by training yourself to be more absorbed? (e.g. even if you dislike your job, do you enjoy it more when you stop thinking about that and just absorb in getting things done?)
What other training might you do each day to keep building this skill? (Hint: at least 5 mins of meditation)