All Posts by David Papa

All the Courses, Videos, and Books are Holding You Back

All the Courses, videos, and books are holding you back

David Papa
Avid reader, course taker, and video watcher. Spirit nerd. Flow finder. Source seeker. Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018   |  9 minute read 

How much do we need to read?

I want you to make 2018 the best year you've lived so far. Just like I will do for myself by finally baking the perfect vegan and gluten free brownie. (I'm pretty close, my year might finish in February). For my brownie, and your best year, we can probably help ourselves by learning something new. 

Learning feels good and fulfilling. I'm a fan. And in today's world, it also holds us back. 

There are lots of ways to learn. Most of us sit and do the consuming kind. We learn like we watch tv. Passively absorbing youtube videos, online courses, books. 

This is great in many ways. Yet I have found our life rarely powers up long term from this type of learning. Does it really change how we choose to behave and live each day? 

Mostly no. It doesn't change our lives. We are never satisfied that we have enough knowledge to do something. And we never feel like our lives are making enough progress.

This indicates that the way we learn is out of balance. I think this is because many of us have forgotten how to learn. Because of school. 

Has school taught us to learn poorly?

How much do you remember from school growing up?

If I took any of my tests from high school today I would fail them all. Was that learning?

Yet I can literally quote verbatim certain movies I've watched or lines books I've chosen to read on my own. I can tell you the story of a great experience I had a at a workshop. I can recount to you all the principles of any of the frameworks I use to help people manage their energy without a glance at my notes. I can stand in front of a room and re-do one of my talks without a minute of practice. Was that learning?

The difference in what I can't remember and what I can comes from two factors: 

  1. Level of learning passivity.
  2. The amount that my feelings involved. 

These two work together. Let me explain.  

We barely learn anything in traditional school because it's all passive. Learning at my school meant sitting quietly and reading and listening and filling my brain with other people's ideas to the point of overload. Then regurgitating that information on a test. As soon as the test was over the information was gone. 

This is pretty much the least effective form of learning. Not to mention the fact that our education system was designed by industrial oligarchs to create obedient and compliant factory workers. But I digress.  

Now as adults we still use this as the default way to learn. It's mostly a waste of time. (But not this post. Oh no. Totally keep reading.) 

This is a purely logical intellectual way of learning. Our thinking cells, however, are not only in our brain. Our nervous system is distributed throughout the body and science shows us that our memory is as well. 

There is also great research showing that the most natural physical structure of learning for humans is play. Play is a full body activity. Children learn everything through play automatically until adults come in and say you have sit down and read. It's unnatural. We didn't evolve to read, our nervous system doesn't care about reading. 

There is so much science that shows adult play accelerates learning in every way and has a host of other positive benefits. Yet most adults don't believe play has a place in a productive successful life, and certainly not when it relates to work. That's a sure set up for feeling crappy and not having any fun learning. 

We also know that our memory is not categorized based on facts or in chronological order. It is tied together with emotion. The biggest impacts to our memory, how we interpret the world, and how we move through it come from experiences that gave us big emotions. 

You can test this in yourself. Next time you feel a strong emotion, ask yourself, "when was the last time in my life I had this same emotional feeling?" "And when was the time before that?" 

You'll probably be shocked at how quickly your mind can pull up situations that match the feeling state you are experiencing. You can often follow this emotional memory train all the way into early childhood and easily remember something you haven't thought about in years. 

Look, I read a lot, but I take any idea that I want to remember and move it through multiple levels of my being.

I write it out in my journal to explore my own perspectives and original thoughts about it. I move it through my body to see how it feels, and to find what emotions I have connecting to this idea. I meditate and let it create visions in my mind. I might add something I learn to my morning personal development practice so I can test it in actual real life behavior. I might then share it with someone else so I have to explain it to them out-loud, to see how that feels and what that conversation is like. 

Pretty soon, what I read actually has had an effect of changing my life in some way, moving me more into who I really want to become. This is what we want with our learning. This is what feels good. This happens when we incorporate it our whole energy system. 

My guess is that you do this, or some form of it, all the time. That's why you can remember certain things really well. They are connecting with you at multiple levels, not just your intellectual level. 

There's a simple "rule" that I have adopted to make this more conscious and repeatable. It's easy and anyone can implement it tomorrow. This works for me. Maybe it will for you. Or maybe it won't. Try it and let me know. 

Learning through more outputs and less inputs.  

I believe our whole lives are actually experiments in consciousness. A good experiment, the way I think about it, is another word for adult play. When we line up with the playful experimental energy of ourselves, we can get into fantastic feelings of aliveness and see incredible progress. We can learn a lot. 

Most people only get that in tiny glimpses. Instead we live for safety and the known. We listen to our fears about the unknown as if they are real.

Our fears that stop us from trying something new can't possibly be real. It's illogical for them to be real. They are projections of a future that is unknowable. They are stories our brain makes up because that is how it thinks it can protect us. They are lies.  

Yet we listen to them, helped by a society and a media steeped in fear. But I digress again. 

The point is, we hide in our boxes of what we think we know. We continue to do what worked for us in the past and avoid what we don't know. And we wonder why progress in our lives is so slow. 

We also know this. We are not happy with this. And sometimes we break out and it feels so amazing. Like we decide to travel somewhere we've never been. We come back so energized and motivated. 

That's the kind of experiment I'm talking about. We can use that in a much smaller, more regular way. 

How? We commit to less inputs and more outputs.

The easiest way to involve your whole being in your learning, and the easiest way to make life progress, is to actually do new thing in the world.

Get back to the roots of learning and be like a child. Drop the passive information consumption. Learn by doing new things and seeing what happens. 

This sounds obvious, but how much of your life is actually structured this way? How many new things do you try every day, or every week, or even every month?

How conscious is your practice of experimentation? 

Look at Tim Ferris. Whether you like him or not, that dude has had so many different experiences, learned so much, and made amazing life progress through constant experimentation. 

Opportunities for small experiments are everywhere. And big ones as well.

When was the last time you were trying something new and really let yourself feel the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen?

It's a beautiful feeling. It's like a mixture of fear, excitement, anticipation, expectation, and the willingness to be surprised. It feels so alive. 

I took a break from writing this article and checked instragram. (It's okay, breaks are good). I saw a quote from Tony Robbins gets to exactly what I am writing about. Synchronicity alone requires me to include it.  

"Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear." - Tony Robbins

Spot fucking on, Tony. 

You became a human to love and express like you've never done before, unique to you. That's your deepest desire. And to get to that place you have to go through the reasons you've never loved or expressed like you want to in the past: fear. 

The best learning that can happen, the best experiments that you can do, are the ones that both excite and scare you at the same time.

School has never prepared you for this. You have to take your learning into your own hands. You have to experiment with new ways of doing everything in your life. Especially the things you want to learn how to do really well. 

Experiment with your sleeping patterns. Experiment with how you get up in the morning. Experiment with what you do with the first hour of your day. Experiment with how you consume food. Experiment with how you talk to your partner. Experiment with how you express love to your friends. Experiment with different ways of exercise. Experiment with breathing and meditations and what you say to yourself. Experiment with how and when you do you work. Experiment with what you work on. Experiment with your imagination. Experiment with energies. Experiment with your dreams, you do them every night automatically, but do you know what they mean?  

Not all of that will match the scary excitement criteria, but that's fine. We just want to build the practice of continuous experimentation. Continuous outputs. 

This gets easier to see and easier to do when you try something like starting your own project or venture. Working for myself for the last 4.5 years has been one of the most incredible forces of personal development. Everything I did and still do is an experiment. If I want to grow to a new level, my only choice is to do something I am not doing right now. Something new.  

But it doesn't have to be big like this. There are almost infinite learning options available to us in our lives right now, without reading another word. 

Having to do something new in the world, even if it's just for yourself while you're alone in your house, pushes your boundaries, engages new perspectives, and recruits a far bigger part of your whole system. 

Experimenting requires your brain, your body, your emotions, and your energy. It also gives you immediate feedback from the real world based on what happened, how your experiment felt to you, what you experienced, and what you would do next differently. 

Again, this has to be sounding obvious. But do you make this conscious? Do you ask yourself, what is my experiment today? What is my experiment this week, month, or this quarter? Do you consciously think to yourself, hey where do I think my boundaries are right now, and how can I playfully test that? 

I don't read much nutrition science anymore. I find much of it self-contradictory and most of it is funded by the food industry. Instead I listen very carefully to my body and I experiment with different eating styles in my life to find what feels really good to me.

Right now that means I eat a completely plant-based diet with very little refined wheat or refined sugar. My body loves this right now. I am always testing this to see if it still feels good.

I've also tested the times of day that I eat and have done experiments with intermittent fasting. Right now I don't eat breakfast, and often my first meal comes several hours after I wake up. I find this has great benefits for my morning spiritual practices and my mental sharpness. I have never been leaner or felt as good in my body as I do now. 

I'm learning to play the ukulele. My brain sometimes asks why. It tells me I'm never going to hold a concert or join a band, so what is the point? The new thing itself is the point. I've seen a different perspective on how my brain works through music. I've had a chance to explore my feelings of frustration when my fingers can't play what I want. I've had the rush of joy when I nail a song, and the scary fun of singing it to my friends. I learned more about how I love to play this instrument from a simple living room sing-along than all the ukulele technique videos I've watched. Plus, it's fun, fuck it. 

Everything that is going well right now in my business is the result of an experiment. None of it came from reading a single book or doing a single course. I've done plenty that books and courses have told me and it has brought incremental improvements or given me good inspiration. But all the best and biggest projects that are happening in my work and all the real progress has come from me experimenting in a way that made me feel both excited and scared at the same time.

Look, courses can be really great when they have a strong implementation component. My favorite courses are all about trying new things. Whenever I teach a course I tell people that 80% of their learning is going to come from themselves. Unless a course has great implementation support for learners, most people never get the benefits. Great implementation support can work wonders. Because the implementation is the real learning. 

Every morning I spend about 2 hours doing a practice called Mornings Are For Me, entirely focused on experiential outputs like meditation, journaling, body expression, and creativity. It has completely changed my life. 

Wait, meditation is an output? Isn't that just looking inward? 

By output I mean any form of information gathering or learning experience that is initiated by your active behavior and expression.

When I meditate I am initiating a behavioral exploration into the workings of my thoughts and emotions. I am not reading about how emotions work, I am diving in and feeling them. I am learning by doing.

Reading is an input. Meditation is a full system activity. It's an output. I could endlessly read more meditation techniques. I don't need to learn any more techniques, I just need to do meditation and the learning will present itself. If I feel called in my heart to explore a new technique, okay, now I'm interested enough to read one. But then it's all about the doing. Collecting intellectual information because I think that is learning is bogus. 

You know so much more than you think you do. In fact, you have everything already right now that you need to do the next thing you need to do. 

Thanks, Bashar.  

Okay, here comes the nitty gritty of implementing this. It's simple. 

Purposefully organize your time around separate inputs and outputs. 

Here's my current input vs. output experiment: 

With almost no exceptions, I don't read articles or watch videos during the week. During the week is my output time. That's my creative time, the time when I do my work that I want to be of service to the world.

If I come across something I want to input, I save it. I save up articles I want to read, videos I want to watch, or courses I want to take, and I look at them on the weekends. That's my input time. 

5 days output. 2 days input. 

I've been doing this for several weeks. And I have learned several things. 

I've learned that I have less stress by removing the pressure of having to read some article that seems really cool and important in the moment. I can get sucked into click-bait headlines just like the next person. But now I don't. If I see an article that intrigues me I just save it, knowing I set aside time on the weekend for inputs. No impact on my to-do list or creative momentum. 

The level of my output has shot up. By removing the distraction of research or trying to find that one article that's going to tell me exactly what I need to know, I found I am capable of producing far more than I thought. This includes things that the world will never see, like journal entries that have shaped how I go through life. It also includes drafts of blog posts, web pages, ideas for exercises for my clients, conversations with people to tell them what I am thinking and feeling, drawing and mapping my plans, and mega mind insights that I have locked into my life to permanently shift my perspective. 

I've had so many new thought outputs in my journal that at the end of the week I now summarize all the heavy hits on one new page so I can easily re-read them and and find them. That page is like a self-made master course.

The pace of my progress in bettering my business has leaped forward. 

Then, on my input days, I completely relax any pressure I have on myself for creating outputs. I just focus on gobbling up that new juicy info from the articles and videos I saved, or that tempting new course I downloaded. Yes, despite what I have said, I like this too! 

I've found that having focused, structured time spent with inputs has also increased the quality of my relationship with inputs. Because I am not trying to squeeze some reading or video in between tasks or as a distraction, I find I am remembering far more of what I am inputting automatically. I am more easily seeing how I will then test and experiment with the ideas during the rest of the week.  

Also, a curious thing has happened. When I open my input list, I notice that half of what I've saved is no longer resonating with me. So I just delete it, or skim it in a few seconds. Thank goodness I didn't spend the time reading it when I was first hooked by the headline.

What an unnecessary distraction from my outputs. That would have been a step away from the life I most want to live. 

You're probably saying, "well, that sounds dramatic for a simple choice like that." You're right. It probably is. 

At the same time, happiness happens from alignment with who you really are at your core - in thought, word, and deed. 

The way to get into alignment is through constant life experimentation in different ways of living and being, to find what alignment means for you. This means organizing your life around outputs and experiences instead of passive inputs. 

You need just enough inputs to give you inspiration for your next output experiment in expressing your true self.

You already have all the inspiration you need. You've been reading and watching videos and taking courses for years. You have enough in your head to last a lifetime. 

When you shift your energy toward outputs, you realize you already know enough exactly where you are right now. You already have everything you need exactly where you are right now to run an exciting experiment that teaches you the next thing you need to learn.

This means you have all the learning embedded inside of you right now. You just have to activate it.  

Now it's your turn in 2018. 

You don't have to try my 5 days output to 2 days input ratio. Try whatever experiment works for you. 

It doesn't need to be strict. I'm writing this article on a Saturday, for example, because I felt inspired to do so. And each night when I am in bed I do some book reading before I go to sleep. 

There's always an energetic flow at play. See if you can find it and sit in it for your next experiment. What is does your heart-based excitement want you to try? 

Make 2018 the year of experiments and outputs. I promise you, when you activate what is already inside yourself through a continuous commitment to experimental outputs you will be astounded. You will watch your life change.

I'm going to make an online course about this with all kinds of readings and videos. You should totally join. 

What do you think? 

How do you manage your inputs versus your outputs? 
Do you have a better system? 
Is everything I have written here dirty lies? 

Express yourself in the comments below!

About the Author David Papa

All David does all day is try to connect more love into the present moment. That's the solution to every one of our "problems" and the basis of all spirituality. This usually involves deep emotional processing, followed by expressing himself on blogs like this, and taking people through group learning experiences to build the skills to master their own lives. He loves it. 

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Most Goals Are Useless. Do This to Make Goals Work For You.

Most Goals Are Useless. Do This Instead.

David Papa
Energy Wizard, Emotional processor, learning about the Divine Masculine, Flowing with the Source, Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018  |  14 minute read 

This is a long-form post designed to challenge our thinking around goals. It goes through my problem with goals, what I want to keep about goals, what's missing from goals, and a process that puts this all together. Grab a hot drink and settle in because I would love your thoughts on this. If you're not interested in the thinking part and just want the concluding process, that's cool, skip to here.

I’ve always had an adversarial relationship with goals.

I’m supposed to have goals. Supposedly without goals I am going nowhere. I am just wasting my time and my life and nothing good can happen to me ever. I will die alone and penniless in a gutter choking on my own vomit. But goals will save me. With goals alone I can build my dreams! Right? 

That's a nice story. But I never liked having goals. Every time I've tried to have them I have felt worse and nothing extra got done. They have always felt constricting in some way. I've never enjoyed creating goals or mapping them out or planning them or thinking about them in any way. They always feel like unnecessary pressure. I'm already doing plenty of work, what's to goals add to this? I never got it.

Now, before you throw all kinds of quotes at me like, "if you don't know where you want to go, you could end up anywhere, or someone else will decide for you", let me tell you something. I have worked for myself successfully for 4.5 years without having any traditional goals. 

I am constantly checking in with what feels right for me in the moment. I am constantly evaluating what I want to work on next and asking myself if the next task or project is aligned with my values and my energy. So I always feel like I am working on the right thing based on the best information I have. 

You could maybe make the argument that I would be "farther along" if I had some goals that I was always working and striving and struggling toward. But guess what, I think choosing struggle is unnecessary and dumb. Sometimes I find myself in a struggle, that's fine. I deal with it. But until that happens I am choosing the path of ease. Every time.  

Here's the other thing: the future is entirely unpredictable and the world is changing faster than ever before. Why the hell would I create goals that will be outdated in a month? 

What if I die? Or someone close to me does? At any second, any unforeseen event could change our lives in an instant, forever. We can't predict our future. It will look so different than we think. What the hell is the point of having goals that happen in a future that doesn't even exist? 

In this incredibly uncertain future, there are 10,000 things outside of my control that could affect my goal. Despite all my hardest work, one of those variables can completely derail my plans and there is nothing I can do about it. What is the point of attaching my work to distant thing so completely out of my control? 

In the face of these thoughts, all goals seem like useless mental projections that have nothing to do with reality.

We can easily see this play out in ourselves and the people around us. Sometimes we are 100% wrong about our goals. We set a goal for ourselves and then we get there and it feels nothing like we thought. We get there and feel nothing, or unfulfilled, or even totally miserable. 

Think about that new job you were so excited to get only to find it sucks just as much as your old one. Think about all the millionaires who are "totally crushing it" yet are completely stressed, taking pills just to sleep, and feel like they never have enough. Ooops. 

Or we create a goal with the perfect plan and then two weeks later something happens in our lives that makes our entire plan irrelevant. I love this saying: 

"No business plan survives first contact with customers." Same with goals. 

So I have 3 big problems with goals. 
1) I am already doing work I think is aligned with me, so what do they add?
2) They are based on a mentally projected future that is completely unpredictable and probably not real.
3) Any big goal out in the distance is at the mercy of millions of factors I can't control.  

Are you done with goals yet? 

But maybe I am missing something. Are there good things about goals that help us? 

My current level of awareness is increasing all the time. And with new awareness comes new perspectives and new ideas. It's time to revisit the whole goals concept. 

There are so many people that claim to love goals, I'm willing to consider there might be something good in goals. 

As far as I can tell, here are the positives of goals [with caveats]: 

  1. They provide direction and that's nice. We feel like we are on a path. [But we are still pretending to know and unknowable future.]
  2. They provide a measuring stick for progress. As we go on this path we have something to look ahead to and see if we are closer. This feels like progress.  [But even in looking at our progress we are noticing how far we still have to go. This brings in the energy of lack with crushes our creative potential.]
  3. They provide focus, a channel for our energy, so we can feel less scattered and more directive. [No caveat. I like this.]
  4. With direction and focus we end up creating something over time. [I like this aspect. But that thing we build might not be what we really want, or it might end up completely differently than our plan, which we did not achieve our goal.]
  5. They can build self-efficacy, which is an extremely important skill. Achieving a goal feels good. We feel like we actually achieved something we set out to do. This builds belief in ourselves. [But the reverse is also true. When we set a big goal that we don't achieve our self-efficacy takes a hit and reduces our belief in all our other stuff]. 

Even the positive aspects of goals come with all kinds of caveats in traditional goal setting. But I think we can all agree that if these positives can be accessed, that adds great power to our lives.  

So here's my big question, can we take the powerful parts of these positive aspects, and get them without the caveats? 

I think we can.

The missing piece of powerful goal-driven work.  

This post has been a long time coming. I've been digging into this and experimenting for over the past year. Here is what traditional goals completely misses, and what we need to bring back in to make them work: 

Everything we do in life we are doing because of how we think we will feel when we do or achieve something.

Think about it. Why do you want a better job? You think it will feel better than your current job. And you come up with all kinds of rational reasons for what this might look like. Better salary, better boss, whatever. All those are justifications for you just wanting to feel better in your life.

Why do we want a big house? Comfort and status. Those are feelings. Why do we want a fast car? Fun and coolness. Those are feelings.

Why do we argue with people? Because we don't feel good and think it will feel better if we express it or if they change. Why do we want a new relationship or why do we want to get our of our current one? Because we imagine a different situation will feel better than right now.  

Truth: feelings are why we do anything. Some part of us wants to feel happier or safer, or some extension of one of those feelings. And that part of us tells us what to do. I'm explaining all this without even going into how our subconscious is using feelings to make us do things all the time. We're keeping this conversation on our conscious desires. 

With our goals, we are not really chasing physical items or circumstances. We are chasing feelings that we think are better than our current feelings. That is the internal motivation for everything.

If you don't believe me, try this. Think of some goal you have, something you are working toward. Like "a successful business." Whatever it is, get it in your mind. Now answer this question - how will it feel when you get that goal? Let the feelings come. Example: "Fun and freedom.' Okay, cool. Now imagine that your life was full of that feeling all the time. Imagine these feelings were just your default state and nothing could change that. Everything you do is just imbued with that great feeling and you just go through life feeling that way. Let the feelings flood your body because this is how you feel all the time. Now ask yourself, in this feeling life, do you still need your goal? 

Once we get honest and mindful enough to notice these mechanisms inside ourselves, traditional goals are revealed for what they truly are - mental approximations of what we think our desired feelings will look like in the physical world. We really want the feelings, but we think we need to picture it. It's the feeling states that are we really after. We want to feel good. That's were we get our energy and our movement, and that's how we actually live a happy life by feeling good!

Here's the key to using this and making goals better - cut out all the unnecessary mental projection. Instead stay with the feelings, that is the energetic source material that creates in our lives.

Let's stick with the source material of our creations here, folks. It's feelings.

If we can better connect goals with feelings this might be one of the most powerful productivity shortcuts of all time. 

How to best use feeling states. 

​Let's review. Why are we chasing a goal? Because we want to feel happier.

So here's my next really important question in order to use this information, when can we feel this new happiness that we want? 

Can we feel it in the past? No. The past already happened. Can we feel it in the future? No. The future doesn't exist right now. We can never logically be or do in the future in real life. Anything we are saying we are doing or feeling in the future is mental imagination. Both the past and the future can only ever exist in our mental projections. 

So when can we feel happy? We can only feel happiness in the moment. The only place we can feel anything is in the present moment.

This is not just some trick of words. The only way to have a happy life is to have a series of happy present moments. You don't get a happy life by doing a bunch of crappy stuff that feels horrible and somehow, pop!, you are happy at the end. No, you will look back and think, why the eff did I choose to be so unhappy for so long.  Happiness happens in the present.  

So if we want to access the incredible creative potential of energy and motivation flowing through us in the form of our best feeling states and what we really want in life, we need to be epically focused on the present moment right now. 

If I applied this idea, what would happen? 

It goes like this: "I want to be a success so I can finally relax and feel good. Doing something shitty right now for some idea that I can relax in the future is a total gamble and may never work. I can only relax in the moment. Okay, so what feels like relaxing to me right now? Taking a nap. I feel the excitement of doing that. I'm going to do that. I have relaxation right now!" 

Now, if I do that day after day, what happens? I have relaxation every day. I am building up my experience of relaxation continuously until one day I look at my life and realize, holy shit my life is so relaxing. "OMG, this is what I really wanted! I thought success would bring relaxation, but it turns out I was wrong. What brings a relaxing life is actually doing relaxation."

Obvious? Too simple? Then why do so few people do this in any regular or systematic way?

Why do most people base all their actions on all kinds of ideas of the future imaginings and what they can get there? "If I can just get my business to this certain level I'll be happy." "If I can just find the right house, then I'll be happy." 

Let me really hammer this home. We are trained from birth to believe that everything we want is in the future, and that is why so few of us ever get what we want. 

And maybe now we are seeing a better way.

"But I have work to do!" Your brain says. "We can't just go relaxing and doing everything that makes us happy in every moment!" 

Well, actually, I know people that do this and get along absolutely fantastically. But I get what your brain is saying. We are not there yet.

There are a few challenges we still need to address to find a new way. 

  1. How do we transition a life where I have work and projects and commitments into a life where I am feeling what I really want to feel and doing what I really want to do?
  2. Even though I can't predict or control the future, I do I expect to be alive there. 🙂 I want my experience there to be great present moments.  So how do I address that? 
  3. And what about all the positive aspects of goals that we highlighted? Direction, Focus, Progress, building something over time, and Self-efficacy. If we make a new system it needs to keep these positives. How can this happen? 

Great questions. Let's find out. This is my favorite part. 

Putting feelings and goals together in a usable, practical, phenomenal process. 

In summary, we need our new process to do several things:

  • Focus on the feeling states we are actually looking for
  • Focus on the present moment where our actually feelings happen and our control and power to do something really is
  • Allow us to work toward the future we really want to create because even though we can't control it, we do expect to be alive in it
  • Preserve the good stuff of goals: direction, focus, building something over time, self-efficacy
  • Bonus: This process needs to be easy to use and fun. So that we actually do it and it helps us live awesomely!  

These items may seem contradictory, but they are not. 

We just need to add in one important element for all this criteria to come together into one solid package: the idea of process. 

When we use traditional goals we acknowledge that there is a process and set of steps to getting there. We call this our plan. Most of just see the plan as the way to get from A to B. We'd be willing to take virtually any plan that gets us to B. This is a giant mistake. 

Why? Because the process is actually what you experience! 99% of what you experience trying to get somewhere is the process of getting there. The goal is like being at the top of the mountain, and the process is the packing, the planning, getting the team, going on the hike, journeying together. The process is everything. The goals is just an end result of a process that happened. 

We look back and we say, "We did it!" And what did we do? We spent a couple hours at the top of a mountain and six months in the process to get there. 

We experience our goals for a blip in time compared to the hours, days, weeks, and months we spend in our process. The process is where we need to focus. 

So if we want to enjoy our lives and have great feeling states, then those feeling states need to be embedded in our process. From the start. 

If you want to build a business that feels happy, you have to adopt a process for building it that feels happy. If you want to experience financial freedom then you have to do it with a process that makes you feel free along the way. If you don't do this you will be like those rich people who never feel like they have enough, because their mindset, their process (and therefore what they actually experience) is based in scarcity. 

Here's the other great thing about process. Unlike some distant goal in the future that I can't control, the process is completely controllable right now. 

The processes is the habits and the daily, weekly, or monthly step by step elements that build up over time. I can choose exactly how I want to interact with the process in my life right now, from where I am, with I have. That is so much more empowering and gives me so much more agency compared to working with a traditional goal. 

Here we go. Let's put this all together. Here is what I propose for a new system of conscious working and life creation: 

Goal Energy Mastery in 4 Steps: 

  1. Feeling states. Define your ideal feeling states. This is what you are really after. [Feeling states, check.] 
  2. Feeling Vision. Start with one feeling state and ask, what would it look like for this feeling state to be fully activated in my life? Draw or write out that picture.

    This vision is like a goal but is usually very different from what we come up with when we start with goals. When we start with feelings state we realize far more options for how we can bring that into our lives than the rigid "should" ideas that rational minds come up with. 

    This gives us the direction we wanted from goals, and the idea of something that we build over time, but because you started with feeling states, this vision is actually something you want in your heart and have the energy to create. You can access that energy any time you want by bringing in this feeling. It's like a goal on soul steroids.

    Don't let your thinking about what you "should" do control this exercise. Let your feelings paint the picture. You will know if you are imagining the right vision that you want to work toward because you will actually start to feel the feeling state you want in your body right now.

    [Direction and the idea of something we are working toward, check. All while being anchored in the present moment, check.]
  3. Feeling Process. Now we need a process to get to that vision. A regular habit or a series of tasks that we believe will bring our vision closer to our present.

    Here's the key in this step: do not build the process based on what other people do, or what some book told you, or some course told you, or even what your brain thinks you "should" do. Build the process based on your feeling states. Build the process that actually matches the feeling state. Choose the process that has the feeling states you are after built into it. This will be unique to you. 

    For a simple example, let's say your key feeling state is Love. Let's say one vision for what that could look like in your life is you sharing compassion and how to find love even in dark times with thousands of people online. Let's say when you imagine that you feel love in your body. Okay! That's a vision to work toward. In this framework, the process you choose to get there also has to have Love in it.

    The way you build this audience cannot be some cookie cutter formula or program. It has to be built through activities that feel like love to you. That is how you get the energy, stamina, and insights to do it successfully and see it through. This is why so many people never complete the courses they buy or the formulas or programs they think they want to implement. Those processes are not a match for the feeling states you really want!

    So let's say writing feels neutral or shitty to you, but expressing yourself on video feels like you can put your love in your messages. Than your work building this audience needs to be video. Or let's say none of the traditional marketing methods feel like love to you. Then you can find what does? Maybe holding an online book group feels like love. Or maybe throwing parties for your friends feels like love. Both of those activities, while not traditional marketing, can totally take you where you want to go. And they will take you there with the feeling states you are really after and all the energy that comes with that.

    The final piece here is to turn this into a process. Like this: "okay, I am going to hold one online book club meet every two weeks. That feels like love, and I believe this is moving toward my vision." 

    Instead of focusing energy on the goal, focus on the process. The process is what you can control, the process is what you can do today that gives you the feeling states you want and creates your vision in the world.

    There are just 3 criteria for a good process. It is within your control to do from where you are right now with the resources you have. It is filled with the feeling states you want.  It is an activity that adds one or more bricks to the palace that is your Feeling Vision. 

    You don't need to pick the perfect process for all time. You need to pick the one you are going to do today. It is an experiment that you will continue to tweak as your awareness grows. 
  4. Feeling Check-in. Every week, you want to check in to see if you are on track, but unlike traditional goal work, we don't check how far we are from the goal, we check to see if we have done the process. Here is how we check in:

    "Did I complete my process? My 2 bookclubs this month. Yes! Self-efficacy!"

    "Is this activity adding bricks to my vision? Yes! I'll keep doing it!"

    "Is there a way to modify this process to bring in even more of my ideal feeling state?"

    "Is there a way to modify this process so that it builds even more bricks to my vision each time I do it?" 

    Focus on the process. You have chosen a process that feels good and builds your vision. You don't need to think about the vision much after that. The vision is a result of the process. The process is what you can do now.

    Make the process a match for you and you will be able to do it indefinitely. One day, after doing your process for some time, you will look back and see how much closer your life looks to what you actually want. 

    [Focus, check. Self-efficacy, check.]

There it is. That's a process that satisfies all our criteria. Except one. That it is fun and easy. 

You'll have to decide this for yourself. I happen to think this process is far more fun and easy than traditional goal setting. Because this is not about mentally crunching out goals and plans. 

This is about feeling from the heart how we would love to experience life, imagining what that could be in our future and our present, and then running a process experiment to see what happens. It bakes in energy management, manifesting potential, and constant learning. 

That sounds way more fun! You're welcome.  

bask in the feeling states

What does this look like in practice? 

I use this Goal Energy Mastery process every day. 

This publication you are reading right now is a result. One of my key feeling states is Playful Joy. And one way that looks in my life is working in collaboration with great, fun people. So I decided I would have a process where I only start a new project if I have a fun collaborator that feels like a joy to work with. 

Some time ago I wiped my blog because I was not enjoying it. Then one day I saw this idea for a magazine-like blog. I immediately felt playful so I knew I was onto something. I decided to see if I could recruit collaborators and we could make an incredible resource together. We could do articles, videos, or even poems and put them all together under one theme. We could release it all at once so the audience would have a robust and complete resource on a particular topic. And if they don't resonate with me, I'm sure they will resonate and get something useful from one of my collaborators.

Even if it doesn't "work" I'm having joy doing it so I'm getting the feeling states I really want! I can't lose. Now we're creating it and this is what you are reading. 

All my current projects are like this. Even personal ones. 

One of my "goals" is complete Energy Mastery. I want to unlock the secrets and magic that is inside myself. This idea came from me sitting down with my core feeling states of empowerment, fun, and feeling fully alive. 

So I have a process that feels empowering and fun that I do every morning. This process involves specific types of energy work that add pieces to the puzzle of Energy Mastery. 

By focusing on the feelings and process I've made such incredible progress that my life looks and feels completely different than it did even a couple of years ago. I now even teach Energy Mastery to others. What happened is everything I could have wanted from a traditional goal using a much more direct, aligned, efficient, and empowering route. 

Now it's your turn. 

If you read this far, you deserve a medal. I commend you, however, you're only 20% done.

80% of everything we learn comes from actually doing it in the world. 

Take this system or a piece of it, and try it out. That's how you will actually see something new happen and learn something new. 

If you don't like it, fine, you've also learned that you don't like it, which brings you closer to something you do like. You can't lose. 


If you want some further reading or an outside resource on this. I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte. She has a book called the Desire Map, and an associated day planner that helps you build "goals with soul." I love her work and it is the most similar thing out there I have seen to what I am talking about here. 

What do you think about all this? 

Maybe you can think of a better way to say in just a few sentences. Brevity has never been my strong suit.

What's your relationship with goals like?
Do you have a better system than this? 
How do you use feeling states to empower you? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn. 

About the Author David Papa

I believe everything we experience and create is a reflection of our energy. Living the lives we want means taking full responsibility for our energy system. I teach extremely practical Energy Mastery for spirit-driven leaders creating impact-driven work in the world. 

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