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Today I had a wonderful experience that was shared by a dozen maturity-seeking people. We had a fine hour of discussing how to be more enthusiastic and expansive in our daily lives. There were specific problems that tended to shut down spontaneity and make us more subdued. Such notions as, “What would my wife say, if I said this, or did that?” Thoughts like that inhibited thoughts and actions.

As variations of this problem were expressed I created one of those fill-in-the-blank type sentences in my notebook. — What would my _________ (wife, mother, friend) __________ (think, say, do) if I _________ (said, did, thought) ________ (this, that, nothing). When these types of thought enter our background thoughts it generates a type of emotional fear that shuts down our flexibility of thought and interferes with our possible actions. And, even if we proceed with thought or action, they are muted and less enthusiastic and therefore less likely to produce the best actions that we are capable of. When we feel those kinds of thoughts in our mind we will fail to deliver our best performance.

How can we regain control of those thoughts and move forward with our best efforts? I’m thinking that pain creates an inflexibility of thoughts and behaviors, neutral thoughts allow one to move forward normally, but without much passion, but pleasure creates a state of mind where flexibility is easy because we don’t feel fear, anger, resentment or other negative emotions that inhibit our goal-directed, problem-solving thoughts.

When we know we need to be flexible in our approach to a problem we should intentionally get ourselves into a pleasurable state of mind.