How would it be to enjoy and appreciate EVERY MOMENT of your life? Is it even possible? What would it take?
If you believe Tony Robbins, someone who’s coached, trained and taught more than 50 million people in his nearly 40 year career, it IS possible. And that fact, he says, is the single most important insight he’s ever learned, and it’s the most valuable thing he teaches.
This week I’m at Tony’s Business Mastery event in London, where nearly a thousand businesspeople have come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level. On the first day, Tony taught that only 20% of our success comes from “strategies and mechanics.” 80%, he says, comes from effectively managing our psychology.
And the most important way for us to manage our psychology is by choosing to live in “beautiful states” rather than “suffering states.” Beautiful states include creativity, playfulness, gratitude, enjoyment, curiosity, excitement, anticipation, self-expression, connection and contribution, among others.
In contrast, suffering states include fear, doubt, worry, anger, anxiety, frustration, stress, shame, guilt, depression, and regret. Basically everything that’s a part of the dark side of the Force. Tony points out that suffering states arise when we focus on ourselves. We find ourselves in them when we sing the suffering song: “Me, me, me, me, me!”
HOW do we live in beautiful states rather than suffering states? It begins by recognizing that doing so is a CHOICE and a SKILL. We begin by making the decision to live in beautiful states no matter what. Tony says, “If you’re only happy when everything goes well, that’s not happiness, that’s a stimulus response.”
Next, we must become aware when we find ourselves in a suffering state, and then–without beating ourselves up about it–make the choice to move out of it. It’s not always easy, but with practice, we can shift ourselves out of suffering states and into beautiful states. It’s just like building a muscle, and it’s a lifelong discipline.
One specific approach is to trade your expectations for appreciation. To find something in every circumstance—in every moment—to be grateful for. To look for the gift in everything. When don’t go quite the way you wanted, to ask yourself, “What’s perfect about this?”
Another way is to take the focus off yourself and to do what you can for others. Tony tells us, “The secret to living is giving.” How beautiful is it that a way out of your own suffering is to alleviate someone else’s? When pursuing this path, however, it’s important to remember that “you can’t give from an empty tank.” That’s why the next way out of suffering states is so important.
It’s to spend time every day with people you love and doing things you enjoy. And it can be simple things, like going for a walk, taking a long bath, or reading something for pleasure. Remember–success doesn’t have to require so much sacrifice and struggle, and life was meant to be enjoyed.
So, the next time you find yourself singing the suffering song, put down the mic and get off the stage. Know that it IS possible to enjoy and appreciate every moment of your life, and that you can do it.
But first you have to choose to.