Emotions, hey? They can either work for you in an incredibly positively powerful way, or they can take you down and out and turn potential into pulp. Have you noticed how, when you feel strong emotions of empowerment, excitement and determination you go forth and create wonderful change in your life? Have you also noticed how anger, anxiety, bitterness, fear and resentment can immediately lead to action, or inaction as the case may be, which defeats, discourages and destroys? What if I told you, that you were in control of the direction of your emotions and the path your life takes?

Have you ever worn a pair of sunglasses? When you put them on, what happens to the colour of the world you see? It changes, right? What colour does it change to? Whatever the colour of the lens, right? If the lens is green, the world is green. If the lens is brown, the world brown. If you put on glasses with blue lenses, you don’t see red, right? If you go inside a dark room with the sunglasses on, what do you normally do? You probably take them off I imagine. Then what about when you go back outside on a bright and sunny day? Put them back on? I’m sure you do. So, the concept of sunglasses is a pretty simple one to understand, right?

The point I want to make with this seemingly obvious and inane dialogue around sunglasses is that you get to choose the colour of the lens you look through and you also get to change the lens if you want a different colour, or more or less bright. In the same way, your emotional state is light or dark based on the lens you are looking at a certain situation through, and, you also get to change that lens, if you choose to. Isn’t that amazing news? Well, it’s actually great and tragic news. It’s great because, you get to change the lens, change your emotional state and positively change the outcomes in your life. It’s tragic because, if you buy what I am saying, there’s now no one else to blame for the way you feel or the actions you take as a result. D’oh!

The most powerful example I can think of about the impact of the lens, is when I destroyed my professional football career many years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. I destroyed my professional football career, because of the lens I chose to look through. I won’t go into the whole sad story, but I will say the trigger was when I woke up on a Saturday morning two weeks after the end of the season in 1987 and I read in the newspaper that I have been de-listed from the club. I was the wearing the, it’s-not-fair, victim-minded and it’s-your-fault lens. Through that lens, I saw red and became angry, bitter and resentful. As a result, I proceeded to do and say things that destroyed any future potential as a professional athlete.

Now, had I chosen to wear the, self-responsibility, desire-to-improve and gain-constructive feedback lens, I would have felt very differently and taken some very different actions in response to that event. Had I done that, who knows what may have been the long-term result? So, I want to encourage you, this week, to adjust the lens you are looking through if it’s leading to an emotional state that will lead to a choice that you will later regret. Please don’t ever live with regret, it’s no fun and so easily avoided!

When you don’t get the result you want, put on the I’m-good-enough and I’ll-try-again lens. When someone says or does something that is not nice or fair, put on the I-forgive-you and I-hope-you’re-okay lens. When you make a mistake or a poor choice, put on the I-forgive-me and learn-the-lesson lens. I promise, when you choose the right lens, no matter the situation or circumstance, you will create emotions that will strengthen your physical wellbeing and move you into positive and life enhancing action.

It is our emotional state that has the largest impact on the life we live, so a feeling of emotional intelligence and freedom is one we need to cultivate. This week’s podcast, called ‘Finding emotional freedom’ with Mandi Freger, will help if you are struggling with anxiety, stress or other potentially destructive emotions. My friend, the best thing you can do, when confronted with a challenging situation or circumstance – to insure that you respond, don’t react and build, don’t destroy – is to make sure you choose the right lens to look at it through.