Fun fact: One of the first things I like to do in the morning is listen to a motivational talk. It really energizes me and gets me excited to start my day.
Today, I stumbled upon a YouTube video from Tony Robbins. In the video, he discusses what the blueprint for happiness and unhappiness is. According to him, whenever you are happy with your life it is because your current life conditions in that area match your belief of what life should look like in that area.
For example, if you’re expectation of your life physically is to be fit and toned and this is what your body looks like then you are probably happy with yourself physically. If your expectation is to be happily married by the time you are 30 and you are, then most likely you are happy or satisfied in this area of your life.
Tony Robbins goes on to explain that the reason this formula is true is because we have an identity. We all have a story of who we are supposed to be and what life is supposed to be like.
According to Tony Robbins, the formula for unhappiness is the opposite. When something gets in the way of our expectation of what life is supposed to be, we feel pain. He says that if we ever feel that we have no control over a situation and we feel helpless to change our situation, we experience suffering.
Robbin says, if you are unhappy in your life you have three choices:
- Blame – You can blame others for the circumstances you are in. You can blame the situation for pulling you down or you can blame yourself for the mistakes you made. This choice is futile. It will keep you in the state of unhappiness as long as you let it.
- Change your life – You can put effort into changing your circumstances. For example, if you are not employed right now, take the steps you need to become employed: Update your resume, consistently apply to jobs until you land one. If you feel you are 30 pounds overweight, take the steps you need to start losing the weight. Go to the gym and put more effort into preparing your meals in advanced.
- Change your blue print – Changing your blueprint means changing the story you’ve told yourself about what the area of your life should look like at your age. For example, if you feel that in order to have a happy life you must be married and have three children by 35 and you find out you cannot have children change your blueprint. Maybe you can adopt three children.
This lead me to examine the areas of my life and the expectations I have for each of them.
Personally, I’ve noticed that recently my blueprint or expectation of life has changed for my career. When I started what I thought was my dream job in corporate America, I expected to be at a prestigious bank, advancing in my company with a great salary. I was also on a strict timeline. It was important that I was never “wasting time” experimenting, but rather I wanted to dedicate time to advancement on this path. I was certain that this was the path to success for me and that this would secure my future. But then I realized I wasn’t passionate about my job. I was confused, uncertain, and conflicted. I thought I was on the right path and part of me didn’t want to veer off it. I had to change my blueprint. I had to change my story about where I expected to be in 5 to 10 years. I decided I was committed to finding my life’s work. Once I changed my mindset it granted me so much more freedom.
I still have high expectations for myself, but I no longer feel boxed in or like I HAVE to fall in love with a corporate job eventually for me to be successful. Now I am open to different roles and career paths as long as I find work that I’m passionate about. (I also haven’t completely turned my back to corporate opportunities, I know there are people out there who love their corporate job.) I just have an open mind about what a successful career is for me.
Another area of my life that I’ve reflected on is relationships.
When I was younger, say 17 or 18, I always pictured myself getting married in my 20s. It was really because I always used to think of people in their 20s as adults. So, I just picked an arbitrary number (25-29) and figured that’s when it would happen for me.
As I got older, and closer to that number I kind of kept pushing back the timeline. I still felt young and like marriage seemed like a serious commitment and I still felt like I had plenty of time.
Now that I am 29 years old, I have tried very hard not to put pressure on myself about being married. I think it can be a challenge when you log onto Facebook and see people your age getting engaged or married. However, as I’ve become older and wiser I realized that I’ve changed my blueprint. I don’t just want to be married at a particular age, my main priority is to be in a loving relationship with a partner who truly compliments me and is going to inspire and enhance the quality of my life. I realized that some people who are getting married at this age may not have the same perspective or values that I have when it comes to relationships. Some could be settling or rushing into relationships that are not ideal for them. I hope this isn’t the case of course, but my point is it is important not to compare your path to others. Instead, I’ve learned to be thankful for getting the opportunity to date a diverse group of people. I’ve taken on the perspective that this just helps me to understand myself better and it helps me to understand the type of person that will compliment me best in the future.
The second pressure I sometimes feel, stems from the desire for children. I love kids. I find their curious minds adorable and the idea of having a child that is a blend between myself and a husband that I am in love with makes me very happy. But being 29 puts the pressure on sometimes because I know my biological clock is ticking. However, I have begun to adjust my blueprint and have begun to think about other possibilities or “stories” that I would be ok with. I realize that at the end of the day, what I really want is to create a loving family. I also understand that there are so many things that can happen when you attempt to have a biological child. Some women, regardless of age have difficulty getting pregnant. This has helped me to adjust my expectations which has in turn allowed me to feel more peace of mind in this area of my life.
One important point I want to make is that, this doesn’t mean that you should “lower your expectations” in all the areas of your life. It means that you should remain open minded and figure out creative ways to accomplish your goals. For example, some people may feel unhappy if their blueprint is to have children by 30. However, it is important to re-examine your goals. You may believe you really want to have children, but upon deeper self-reflection you may discover that in reality your value is to create a loving family, and this can be created in a variety of ways (i.e. through adoption etc.). The idea is to be thoughtful about the values behind our goals.
I encourage all of you to ask yourselves which areas of your life you feel happy or unhappy about. What is your blue print or the story you tell yourself in all areas of your life?
Family? Relationships? Friendships?
Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?
Where can you make changes? Where can you expand the definition of your blueprint?