From paying for a product online, to taking a long-distance flight to an exotic location, you want to have a great experience. You don’t just expect it, you demand it. With the power of customer reviews and social media posts, experiences will be shared; the good, the bad and the ugly.
So other than experiencing something good, new, different, exclusive or far-out, why is the culture of experiencing so desirable?
Ultimately, you want to feel something.
If you go on a vertical rollercoaster, you want to feel the thrill, the fear, the exhilaration.
If you go on a meditation retreat, you want to feel the calm, the clarity, the stillness.
If you go to shop online, you want to feel the simplicity, the ease, the satisfaction.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you tend to chose experiences to make you feel something.
For example, when you go to the cinema to watch a great movie, as well as being entertained, you want to feel something. You connect with the characters, get lost in their reality and share their experiences. The emotions you experience about their story; the fear, tension, relief, joy, feel real to you. You experience those feelings in your own body.
That’s what you expect, that’s why you go.
When the movie is finished, you can replay it over and over again in your mind and experience the same feelings in your body as when you were actually watching it. You can experience the same fear, tension, relief, joy and yet the movie is not playing in front of you, it’s just playing out as thoughts inside your head.
Have you ever sat back and asked yourself how does that work? How can you experience something when it’s not there right in front of you in reality?
It may seem like an odd question, but when you look into your everyday experience, both in the workplace and at home, you’ll recognise that you play your own movies in your head all day long and you experience the feelings that go with them, day-in and day-out. For example:
You think about a circumstance in the past that’s upsetting to you, you feel the emotional hurt and physical tears can well up in your eyes.
You think about a circumstance in the future that’s worrying you, you feel the emotional anxiety and physical tension churns in your stomach.
These past and future circumstances are thoughts that you’re experiencing in your own head. They’re not actually happening in reality, yet the moment you think about them, they seem like the real deal.
That’s because inside of you, you create your own uniquely personal 4DX cinema experience through an intimate connection between your thoughts and your sensory system that generate your feelings.
It’s job is to give you the most realistic experience of what you have your attention on at any given moment. It brings to life all your idea’s, concepts, beliefs and perceptions about any given activity, circumstance or person. It can generate any feeling and any sensation, and it does that through the power of thought.
And that’s because thought and feeling are one system. You have a thought, which creates a feeling. You have an experience of your thought. Whatever you have your attention on will be what you’re experiencing, whether it’s in the past, future or in front of you right now.
Even if you feel something but don’t have a conscious thought, subconscious thought patterns and habits of thinking are running behind the scenes and creating that feeling.
Like most people you’ve innocently been led to believe that activities, circumstances and other people are the cause of your feelings. “That person made me feel like this.” “Whenever I think about that situation, I feel stressed.” “That walk made me feel calm.”
It’s actually your own thoughts that create your experience. You’re not taught this in school, or from your parents or your peers, so like most people you’ll attribute your feelings to something outside of yourself, yet all of your experience is happening inside of you, powered by your own thoughts. It’s how your system works.
So what’s the purpose of understanding this? How useful is it in everyday life?
Here’s a simple example.
You have a deadline hurtling towards you and you’re feeling stressed-out about delivering on time. Those feelings of stress are being created by your thoughts about the deadline and not the deadline itself.
You might have thoughts like “If I don’t hit this deadline my reputation’s on the line.” or “It will be a disaster if I miss this launch.” or “I can’t creative under this amount of pressure.” All these thoughts will keep you experiencing feelings of stress.
But once you start to see that you’re generating those feelings of stress from your own thinking – you’re literally doing it to yourself – you have the opportunity to see through your own thinking, let your mind settle and bring your focus back to the job in hand.
The more you see this for yourself, the more time you can spend in the flow.