‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’. A quote made famous by the movie Forrest Gump. It sounds exciting but do you find that the opposite can also be true? Do you find yourself stuck in the same routine of getting up, going to work, going home, eating dinner, going to bed and then doing that over and over again? Is it getting a bit old? Has it been old for a while?
It’s like you know there’s more out there, more life to be lived, or something different you could be doing with a sense of fulfilment. But how do you know what will be fulfilling for you? And you still have to make a living. You have responsibilities; children to raise, a partner to support, a mortgage and bills to pay. How do you keep up with all of that and find the time to work out who you are or who you want to be?
There are plenty of places to learn more. You’ve read the books and still ask the question ‘How do I really learn more about myself?’
What is the right question?
I’ve met people who’ve spent time exploring the question ‘Who am I?’ They’ve spent time meditating, reading, or hours thinking about it. Of course you can discover different aspects of yourself reading books, there’s books on every possible topic, just type it into google.
The first step to solving any problem though, is recognising there what the problem is. What do you really want to find out? The more specific your answer is to this question, the easier it is to find the solution. I had a friend once who wanted a pink Volkswagen. I told her there was no such thing and that I’d never seen a pink Volkswagen. The next day I was shocked to see a pink Volkswagen pull up at the lights next to me. I thought ‘That must be a one off’. Then I saw another later that month. Has that ever happened to you?
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Do you want to learn how to approach challenges? Do you want to be challenged more? What about a more personal topic. Do you want to find out more about yourself and your emotions? What emotions do you really feel on a day to day basis? How many negative emotions do you feel on a day to day basis versus positive emotions?
A while back I started to question who I really was and it led me to first think about my emotions. We are emotional people so I thought by starting by learning about emotions would be a good place to begin, and it opened up my eyes and my whole world changed.
How many positive emotions do you feel daily?
I started learning about my emotions by making a list of all the emotions I felt regularly. Two lists actually. The first list was a list of positive emotions; I felt happy, calm, comfortable, relaxed and a few others. This list was disappointingly short! The second was a list of negative emotions I felt regularly. What I noticed was that I was feeling a lot more negative emotions on a day to day basis than positive. I was feeling sad and frustrated, I procrastinated, I felt shy all the time, nervous, worried, guilty, tired and unenthusiastic. The list went on.
Then I decided to make a third list. This list was of the positive emotions I’d like to feel, that were not already on my first list. The way I came up with new emotions was by thinking about my friends and what I noticed them feel. I also thought about movies I’d watched, books I’d read and took some emotions from them so my list got longer and longer.
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The characters were feeling joyful, passionate, excited, fun, spontaneous, love. So many emotions I felt rarely, if ever. I could think of the emotion and imagine what it would feel like but I never truly felt them deeply. At least not recently.
I started to think about what my life would be like if I could feel these emotions more often.
Who do you want to be?
I found some books with strategies on how to feel more positive. These helped a little but at some point I realised these were easy to read and harder to do. I started to wonder how could someone learn how to be happy from a book. Emotion is something we feel when we’re outside of our heads. Reading is a thinking thing, we have to be in our heads to do it, so the two are very different.
What really helped me was creating a picture of who I really wanted to be and what I wanted to feel on a regular basis. And, I got really specific. I started writing down who I wanted to be in a relationship, what do I want my health to look like, who do I want to be in my job, who do I want to be around my friendships, my family? The picture I was creating was exciting. I was really keen on meeting this new incredible version of me. However, I knew it would take doing something different, something more than I already was. It would take action.
I started being really aware of the people I would talk to and instead of having the same superficial, boring conversations about the weather, I started asking people something different. I’d ask what they liked to do for fun and people were interested. They’d smile and then gave me ideas on new things I could experience.
What people are saying about Emotion Academy:
"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
I’d also ask people to share with me their story and they would stop for a moment with a little surprise at being asked a real question before beginning. It was fascinating, and in each story I learned a little about them. Even more than that, I realised that listening to people and their stories could help me to learn more about myself.
It won’t always be easy
I was shy and wanted to be confident. Do you know what I did? I went out and found people who were confident and asked them how they got there! It wasn’t easy to begin with, it wasn’t easy for a shy, unconfident girl to meet or hang out with confident people, people who appeared to be so much better than me, it was uncomfortable.
I’d sit at the table, so quiet, compared to them, I’d be wondering what to say while they were talking so easily. In my head I was thinking over and over about what to say, trying to be perfect. What can I say that will be funny, clever, interesting.
In Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he says that we are the sum of our environment, of the people we spend the most time with. Robert Kiyosaki talks about an exercise where you add up the income of the 5 people you spend the most time with and then divide the total number by 5. The final number will the average amount that you probably earn.
I like to use this same formula to look at the health, relationships, growth or emotions of the 5 people I spend the most time with. These are the people that influence me the most. We are the sum of the people we spend time with. So I started looking for people to spend more time with who had qualities that I admired. People who had the kind of relationship I wanted, who were fit and healthy in the way I wanted to be, people who were flexible and strong in their emotions.
But how do you meet new people?
I encourage you to go out and meet new people too. ‘But how?’ I hear you ask. Well, what do you like to do for fun? That’s where I started. I made a list of all the things I loved to do for fun; cycling, hiking, dancing, rock climbing, trivia. The list was small but that was ok as it was enough to get started. Then I found groups of people interested in similar things and organised to go cycling with them. I had fun and got to find out more about these people. As I met new people I’d begin by asking what they liked to do for fun and found that I was adding to the list of things that I like to do for fun, and adding new friends who I went out and had fun with!
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
I like to take an active approach to learning about myself from others who have been there before. I’m more than the books I read, the youtube videos I watch. There are subtleties to the way that we overcome problems and questions that can be asked in a moment when you go out and meet people, learning from them.
It’s not easy to start with, it may not be easy at all. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable but remember, the uncomfortability won’t last. The thing I learned was that when I’m uncomfortable I am learning something new. It’s a bit like when you first learn how to tie your shoelaces. it probably didn’t work the first time, it was uncomfortable getting your fingers working to tie a knot. It seemed complicated at the time. The more you did it the better you got at it so that now you probably don’t even think about tying your shoelaces, it’s automatic.
Try to remember that feeling uncomfortable is part of growing and learning and when you look back at it you’ll see that it only lasts for a short amount of time, so long as you keep going. The more you go out and meet people, the more questions you ask, the more you learn from others, the more you learn about yourself and the more questions will pop up because life is all about learning, growth and finding out more, discovering new amazing things that you are capable of.
So go out and explore, have fun!
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