All Posts by David Papa

The Point of Life is Love, But What Do We Do With That?

The Point of Life is Love, But What Do We Do With That?

I love the music by Arnaud Mathieu

If you listen to Creating Love and Profit with the Anchor App you can leave me voice comments!
I can include your comments and my response in a future episode!

In this episode, I explain the point of life in 20 minutes. I swear. 

It's not going to make sense to everyone, and that's fine. We could obviously talk about this for hours, but this podcast comes from a direct spiritual insight that zapped me during a meditation a few weeks ago. I turned on the mic and spoke it. 

We're supposed to love ourselves. How? We are supposed to love others. How? Why don't we feel more love all the time? What does this all practically mean? 

I answer those questions. The answer emerges once we realize what Love really is and why it feels so good. This underlying reason makes love more accessible and applicable than most of us realize. 

Try the practice. Let me know your experience. 

Spoiler: Everything is energy and that energy contains love. If we want to experience this in our lives we need to choose to see this everywhere and act on this from inside of us. We need to choose to bring this energy into ourselves and through ourselves with specific practices, like the one I talk about in the episode. This is the most efficient way to bring more love into our lives NOW and create more in the future. This is how it fills up our life. 

This is a big topic and I only had a few minutes to share my take, so if you have some questions or your own take that can help people, definitely drop a comment below. Or use the Anchor app to listen to the show and you can send me a voice message that I respond to on a future show! 

xo, David

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. Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018   |  9 minute read 

How much do we need to read?

This year I plan to perfect vegan mac 'n cheese. (I'm pretty close, my year might finish in February). For my food, and your best year too, 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. But does it really change how we choose to behave and live each day? 

Mostly no. It doesn't change our lives. Plus, we are never satisfied that we have enough knowledge to do something. 

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 in books I've chosen to read on my own. I can tell you the story of a great experience I had at a workshop. 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 get 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 answers 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.  

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

This mode of learning is purely logical and intellectual. Our thinking cells, however, are not only in our brain. Our nervous system is distributed throughout the body. We have 1 million neurons in our gut and it makes decisions. We have 40,000 in our heart and it makes decisions. Our memory is distributed in our cells as well. 

There is also great research showing that the most natural physical behavior for learning in humans (and all mammals) is play. It's science. Check out Stuart Brown. Play is a full body activity. Children learn everything through play automatically until adults come in and say you have sit down and read. 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?" Once you find the memory ask again. "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. The more parts of my being I can connect the better I can remember it and absorb it. 

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. This also explains why certain things seem to escape your memory every time. 

There's a simple "rule" that I have adopted to make this learning process 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.  

Here's the "rule": Take in less. Put out more. Learn by creating things. 

A good experiment is another word for adult play. When we line up with the playful experimental energy of ourselves, we can learn a lot, and get a lot done in the process.  We can get into fantastic feelings of aliveness and see incredible progress. 

Like when we decide to travel somewhere we've never been. We come back so energized, motivated, and re-thinking our lives. 

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

Learn by doing a new thing 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?

I bet you prioritize getting that new course to learn something more than you prioritize running an experiment right now. I'm encouraging you to switch that around. 

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. 

We don't have to live like him to get the benefits. Opportunities for small experiments are everywhere. And big ones as well.

Experiments are Scary. That's Good.

I just took a break from writing this article and checked Instagram. (It's okay, breaks are good). I saw a quote from Tony Robbins that 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.

What is Tony talking about?

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. 

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. 

That's an emotional wallop that will sink in the learning. But also, what excites us and scares us at the same time is often exactly in line with our soul. 

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

For your health, 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 different ways to see your own mind. Experiment with how and when you do you work. Experiment with what you work on. Experiment with your imagination. Experiment with energies. Experiment by writing a new article or drawing a picture. 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 something new.  

That is the same for you, if you want a new experience, then your only option is to do something new.  

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. That's more powerful than most reading. 

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? 

Everything that is going well right now in my business is the result of an experiment. I've read lots of books and have done lots of courses, even an MBA. For me, this has added some thinking frameworks and created incremental progress. That's useful. But all the biggest projects that are happening in my work and all the big jumps in progress have come from me experimenting in a way that made me feel both excited and scared at the same time. Like early in my career, I invited someone I admired to lunch and I just asked him straight up to be his apprentice. The result of that was more valuable than 2 years of business school.  

Look, I love courses too! Just look for courses that have good implementation support. Whenever I teach a course I tell people that 80% of their learning is going to come from themselves. We have specific structures in the course exclusively for participants to do implementation. Unless a course has great implementation support for learners, most people don't complete the course and many never get the benefits. Great implementation, however, can work wonders. Because in the implementation is the real learning and progress. 

So do your own implementation all the time. In the form of experiments and creating things.

You know so much more than you think you do. In fact, you have everything that you need right now 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 experiment and 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 I created a new practice - 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 find them. That journal page is like a self-made master course unique to me. And it was all already inside my head!

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. And I enjoy that just as much. 

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. So much time saved. 

If you want to go even deeper into the idea of an input fast, check out Leo Babauta's idea on this for 2018.

Now it's your turn in 2018. 

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 inputs only enough 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 might 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.

The experiment teaches you the next thing you need to learn.

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. 

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

Make 2018 the year of experiments and outputs. Take in a little bit less and allow yourself to express from within a little bit more.

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

I help people reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom. I help people connect with their Light and use it solve problems. It's fun. I love it. One person I worked with said it saved their life. Someone else said she felt unconditional love in her being for the first time. If this sounds exciting or terrifying to you, you should probably try it. Contact me to learn about organizational, groups or one-to-one work:

Follow David on:

How to Get Clarity in 5 Minutes

Grab my tool called Dream Dancing. It's a step-by-step body technique that leads you to understanding what you really want in any situation. I do it every morning. It's fun.

Like this piece? Like this author? Give it a share:

goals dead end

Most Goals are Useless. Do This Instead.

Most Goals are useless.
Do This Instead.

David Papa
I teach people how to reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom, find goals with soul, and bake vegan brownies. Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018  |  14 minute read 

This is a long-form post designed to challenge our thinking around goals, because many people really struggle with goals. It goes through my problems with goal setting, what I want to keep about goals, what's missing from goals that will make them better, and a process that puts this all together. Grab a hot drink and settle in because this is a whole framework and 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.

"The Tao is always at ease. It overcomes without competing, answers without speaking a word, arrives without being summoned, accomplishes without a plan." - Lao Tzu

I’ve always had an adversarial relationship with goals.

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

That's a nice story. But I've 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 leading no where. I'm already doing plenty of work that I "need" or want to do and things are moving just fine. What do goals add to this whole equation? 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 and who I want to become. 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 don't believe in "farther along." There is no where to get to. We don't take any of this with us when we die. We have no idea if our legacy is going to mean anything. The point of life is to have fun and find love in our experiences. We can do that no matter what our experiences are. I'm not sure how traditional goals add to that. 

"Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

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 are dependent on a future that doesn't even exist? 

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

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

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. They achieved their goals. Ooops. 

Are you done with goals yet? 

Are there good things about goals that help us? 

There are so many people that claim to love goals. Including one of my most influential mentors, who recently released a series of posts about why goals are so useful. He specifically mentions how he hates the anti-goals philosophy. Ooops. I'm willing to consider there might be something good in goals.

You could make the argument, like my mentor does, that achieving goals is not the point of goals. The point is to make a vision and to have focus and direction and work toward something and make progress. Even "falling short" of a goal is a victory because of how far you've gone forward in reaching for it.

Okay, that sounds alright. But how can we know this progress is "right" for our life? How do we avoid the trap of making progress down a road we later realize we desperately don't want to be on? 

Like people who spend 20 years in a career because it's their "goal" and they want to be "successful", then they suddenly wake up to a void of emptiness in their "accomplishments", and they have a life breakdown. I meet these people. I want to find a better system.

Traditional goal setting, and "SMART" goals have no answer. There is no letter in the SMART acronym that speaks to the spiritual expansion, purpose, and fulfillment that we all seek.

However, as my mentor points out, goals do provide some benefits, and any new system we create needs to include those.

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 an unknowable future.]
  2. Moving toward something feels like progress.  [But by having only a "looking ahead" orientation we are constantly noticing how far we still have to go. This brings in the energy of lack which weakens us.]
  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 new 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, and this means we did not achieve our physical goal. Even if we love what we created we "failed" in traditional goals terms.]
  5. They can build self-efficacy, which is an extremely important skill. Achieving a goal feels good and shows us our capability. This builds belief in ourselves, which leads to more accomplishment. [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 endeavors. This is a subconscious process that is very difficult to consciously halt.]. 

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.  

"It’s very difficult to focus on what is important with one’s rational mind alone, because what your conscious mind thinks is important may not be what your subconscious mind thinks is important." - Mark Forster

This post has been a long time coming. I've been digging into this idea and experimenting with this for a few years. Here is what traditional goal setting completely misses, and what we need to bring back in to make them work: 

Everything we do in life we are trying to get is because of how we think we will feel when we get it.

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 what they say causes discomfort in us and we think it will feel better if we express it or if they change.

Why do we want a 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 is deep inside tells our brain what to do. Our brain then has thoughts that match this impulse. 95% percent of our thinking is subconscious and directed by our internal impulses just like I describe. This is science. Look it up. Here's a video where I explain this mechanism more.

We are not really chasing physical items or circumstances in our lives. 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 physical 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: "Accomplishment or Fun or Freedom.' Okay, cool. Now imagine that your life was full of that feeling all the time. Imagine these feelings were just your default state right now and flowing out of you 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, if you felt that way, do you still need your physical 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 our brain so quickly translates this into a specific physical image, we think the physical image is what we want.

That's not true. Underneath the image is a feeling. That's what we want. We want to feel good. That is our only motivation. That's were we get our energy and our movement, and that's how we actually live a happy life. We don't feel good by getting stuff. That never lasts. We feel good by accessing the good feelings inside us. The physical circumstances that we think we need are just props. 

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

Let's see if we can use feelings to get what we want in our lives. 

How to best use feeling states. 

Let's review. Why are we chasing a goal? Because we want to feel better than now. We think that getting a goal will bring us this better feeling in the future. 

Even in accepting this we face another "problem" - we only feel things in the present moment. If we always think now sucks and I need to get a thing to feel better, I can never feel good right now. Do you see the trap I have created for myself?

Even we get the thing we were chasing to feel better, we notice it only feels better for about 5 minutes, until we are already chasing a new thing. This pattern exists because our brains operate on the false assumption that we can never feel good enough right now. 

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

This is not just some trick of words. There is a huge meaning to this: 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?

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.  

Happiness only happens in the present. If we want to experience happiness we need to make choices that make us happy right now. 

If I applied this truth to goal setting, what would happen? 

Putting feelings and goals together in a usable, practical, productive system. 

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

  • Focus on the feeling states we are really looking for and that are truly motivating us
  • Focus on the present moment where our actually feelings happen and our control and power to do something really is
  • At the same time, 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 idea for all this criteria to come together: the process is more important than the outcome. 

When we use traditional goal setting we acknowledge that there is a process and set of steps to getting our goal. 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, because we worship the goal. 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 have a goal to write a book. Okay! You are going to spend thousands of hours researching and writing. Your experience of creating a book is 99% the process of researching and writing. You better enjoy that, or writing your book is going to suck.

And then you write your book and what happened? You are happy for the rest of your life? No. You might celebrate for a bit and then immediately you are thinking about what is next. Already onto the next thing you "need" to do.

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. 

If we want to enjoy our lives and have great feeling states, they need to happen in our processes, the things we are doing right now. 

If you want to build a business that feels happy, you have to adopt a process for building it that feels happy along the way. 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, and are in a permanent state of anxiety despite their physical circumstances.  

Here's the other great thing about process. Unlike some distant goal in the unpredictable 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 what I have. That is so much more empowering and gives me so much more agency compared to working with a traditional future-oriented 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: 

Purposeful Progress Mastery in 4 Steps: 

  1. Feeling states. Define your ideal feeling states. This is what you are really after. There are whole books on this process, but you can start by just picking 3 - 5 feeling words that describe your ideal personal experience. [Feeling states, check.] 
  2. Feeling Process. Now we need a daily process that incorporates these feeling states. This could be a morning routine. A set of mini-commitments, or daily or weekly habits.

    In the beginning, these habits don't need to be related to any project or goal. You are just playing with life and feeling states and building the circumstances that match those feelings with daily progress.

    Let's say one of your desired feeling states is joy. Then the next step is adding daily joy to your life, in the form of experiences that resonate with that pure joy feeling. Whatever brings you joy, do them. These don't even have to be attached to anything "productive" in a traditional sense just yet. These activities don't have to be attached to any physical thing you are building. If they add joy to your life they are fulfilling their most important purpose.

    And then, very often, after following joy for some time, all of a sudden an idea appears that lets you use your joy for a traditionally "productive" project. And because you are good at following your joy you have all you need to dive into that opportunity.

    You don't need to know where these habits are going to take you when you start them. Let's say you want peace. A daily process that feels truly peaceful will build more peace in your life, even if you don't know what that will look like at some point in the future. You will start to feel like you have what you really want in your life, right now.

    Do you see why most goals are backward? We think we need to see and latch onto an exact path to take to get somewhere in the future. But really we want feelings and if we follow those, we get much more of what we really want in the short term and in the long term, even if we don't know in advance what it will look like.

    So you can stop here, at step two. But if you want to get more of your envisioning and mental power involved, add step 3.

    [Feeling states, the present moment, and focus using a daily process. Check]
  3. Feeling Vision. If all this following the actions of your feelings is too unstructured, then bring in that mental picture of something in the future you are working toward, sort of like a goal, that's cool. But we are not going to create this picture from our thoughts and fall into the traps we outlined at the beginning of this piece. We are going to paint our vision based on what we really want - our feelings.

    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 gives us the direction we wanted from goals. It gives us an idea of something that we want to build over time. As far as you know in this moment. 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. This is a soul goal. 

    Don't let your thinking about what you "should" do or what things "should" look like control this exercise. In fact, think as little as possible. Our thinking is rooted in the past (another problem with traditional goals), but the future has all kinds of possibilities that did not exist in the past. To access this, we let our feelings paint the picture.

    The picture doesn't need to look like anything we have seen before. 
    You will know if you are imagining a real vision that you want to work toward because you will actually start to feel the feeling state you want in your body right now. That's how you know it's right. 

    Once you have a great feeling vision, just take a look at your process, and choose the process that matches those feelings that you believe best walks you into your feel good vision. Now we have created a true-heart centered path for ourselves.

    [Direction and the idea of something we are working toward, check. All while being anchored in the present moment, check.]
  4. Feeling Check-in / Progress. This is the last step. Change is the only constant in life. This includes our feeling states. So 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, and we don't even need to see how much progress we made, we check to see that our feeling-based process is working how we want.

    Here is how we check in:

    Part I: ​Did we do what we set out to do?
    "Did I complete my process?" Yes! Self-efficacy!

    "Did my process create the feeling states I wanted in my life?" Yes! You have actually more of what you want already. 

    "Did my process take me steps toward my vision?" Yes! It's still a match for your bigger feeling picture.  

    PART II: Double-check our course or correct course:
    "What are my key core ideal feeling states? Would I describe them differently than in the past?" 

    "Does my process still match my ideal feeling states?"

    "Does my vision still match my ideal feeling states?"

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

    "Is there a way to modify this process so that it even better moves me toward my ideal vision each time I do it?"  

    This check in is about celebrating and focusing on the part of your experience you actually have control over - 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 easily. When you feel stagnant in your process feel free to change it. One day, after focusing on your feeling state 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 system that satisfies all our criteria. Except one: fun and easy. 

You'll have to decide that 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. This system 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 process every day. 

This blogazine you are reading right now is a result. 

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. This idea immediately felt playful. Play is one of my core ideal feeling states. So I knew I was onto something. One of my key processes around Play is to always have a collaborator whenever I start a new project. So I immediately started sharing the idea.

This article you are reading right now is in the first issue of this blogazine, next to amazing articles from other great people. I don't have a goal for this. Yet doing this is a match for what I want to feel and who I want to be. Very satisfying no matter what happens. And who knows what positivity will come that I can't even anticipate? 

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

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

But I'll keep evaluating because the only constant is change. 

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 things in the world. 

Take this system or a piece of it, and try it out. No huge commitments needed. Just experiment. See what happens. 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 all this 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 teach people how to reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom. I teach people how to use their body as a lightning rod for their own spiritual messages and create from the heart. Find your Inner Guru. He, or she, or it, is hilarious.

Follow me:

Like this piece? Like this author? Give it a share: