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I want to invite you to come on a journey with me to the land of happily ever after. Here, everyone is happy all the time and there is no negativity, discomfort, or risk.

It sounds boring, right?

Too many of us have decided that our mission in life is to be happy and content. But instead of teaching you to find this mystical land of always happy, I want to teach you to be alive. To feel the discomfort of growth and the elation that comes with contributing to the world.

In today’s episode, I share a new perspective on why having a contrast of emotion is so important, something I talk about a lot on the podcast. Learn why the concept of happiness could actually be robbing you of living a life where you expand and fulfill your purpose.

I invite you to notice if the results you’re creating in your life make you feel alive. If not, are you willing to take a risk, leave the cave, and dance even when you don’t like the song?

What you will discover

  • The story we’re sold about being happy all the time.
  • How you can be happy whenever you want without risk.
  • Why I encourage you to pursue aliveness.
  • The price we are willing to pay for aliveness.
  • Why evolving can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Why you should create as much as you consume.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 363.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hello my friends. Today we’re going to talk about aliveness. I think there is a confusion about why we have our human lives. I think that we are sold a story, a life, a thing to buy that we should be happy all the time. And that the way to be happy all the time is to look a certain way, to have a certain amount of money, to buy certain things.

And what I want to offer is that that story is not serving us. And I’ve presented it in many different ways from many different angles on this podcast and I want to keep doing that so the understanding becomes deeper in your bones, in your psyche, in your deepest understanding of what it means to be alive.

Instead of teaching you how to be happy, I want to teach you how to be fully alive. I just taught a class in Scholars on happiness, how to get more of it. And I really want to encourage you that if you’re not in Scholars, that you join and that you listen to that class. Because in that class, I teach the concept of happiness as one that can actually rob us from living a life where we truly expand and evolve and fulfill our purpose.

So if you come to your life and you approach it from the motivation to be happy, you will most likely, if you’re like most other humans, go through your life trying to figure out what you need to accumulate, what you need to do, how you need to be, how you need to act, in order to land at this place called happiness and live happily ever after, where you’re just happy all the time.

So let’s go to the land of happily ever after. Have you nodded off yet? Everybody’s happy all of the time. You’re just happy to be alive, you’re happy with everything in your life, no reason to change anything, no reason to do anything, no feelings to process, no contrast, nothing that ignites you inside because you’re just content, you’re just happy. Everything’s great. You’re just smiling, walking around hugging everyone. Life is just a big cuddle.

Now, some of you think this sounds amazing. And if this were possible and the point of our human existence, I would support you in doing that. But what I have seen in person after person after person is that the point of our life isn’t to land at happiness and just be content. The point of our life is to grow and evolve. And that will require constant change.

You’ve heard me say before that if you want to be happy, you just have to find a way to be happy about everything that’s going on in the world. And if you’re happy about everything that’s going on in the world, you won’t have any motivation to evolve or change or enact anything.

You’ll just be content with mayhem, pain, death, abuse, murder. Just be happy all the time. This is not the most difficult thing to do. When you understand that happiness is simply caused by a thought in your brain, you can find a way to be happy about anything.

And in fact, I encourage many of you who are miserable to get better at being happy. But that is not to say that the point of our lives is to land there and to stay in contentedness forever. And especially those of you who are listening to this podcast, you value your aliveness and your growth more than you value being content and comfortable.

And when you forget that in the middle of achieving something, you often quit to go back to the land of happily ever after. The land of happily ever after doesn’t have any good stories in it. Nobody says let’s read the book called happily ever after, where the people are just happy all the time, because it’s boring, because nothing new and exciting and gritty and magical happens.

It’s just happy, happy, joy, joy, happy, happy, joy, joy all the time. What I want to encourage you to pursue is not happiness but aliveness. I want you to imagine and I want to invite you to explore that your life has nooks and crannies and possibilities and impossibilities and pathways and journeys that are unlimited.

And many of them will take you through some negative emotion. Many of them will take you through pain. Many of them will take you through discomfort. But through those journeys, through those pathways, through those failures, you will see yourself in your own aliveness. You will be fully human.

What I have noticed as I have observed the world and the people in it and the clients that I work with is that this human life is filled with contrast on purpose. The goal is not to eliminate negativity and badness. The goal is to use the contrast, the good and the bad, the balance of both of those in order to evolve to the next version of ourselves, to build upon our experience, to make difficult decisions, to keep moving forward so your life keeps flowing.

The people that I’ve noticed who have the most aliveness are the ones that keep being willing to grow, to set the new goals, to set the new challenges, to pursue the new things. Their brain stays alive, their bodies stay alive, their hope stays alive, and they literally stay more alive in their lives.

So when you ask yourself what you want, be careful not to just default to I want to be happy. Because being happy, relative to what else is possible in your life is easy. It’s thought work. It’s a couple thoughts here and there. It’s working on believing them. It doesn’t require you to dig into the uniqueness that is you and to expose it to the world, to bring your part that only you can bring, as you being a unique human with unique experiences and unique DNA and unique brain, knowledge, and thoughts, and intuition, and connection.

There is something from you that nobody else can bring to the world. And if you’re sitting in a corner watching Netflix feeling happy, we will miss it. We will miss that which is you as part of the contribution to the overall evolution of humankind, literally.

Now for some of you, the idea of contribution, the idea of evolving, the idea of showing up and offering yourself to the world seems super overwhelming. It seems like, I need to have something unique, I need to have a creation, I need to have something already in order to go to the party, I can’t come empty-handed.

But what I want to suggest is that you find it by being at the party, by showing up, by being willing to be uncomfortable, by being willing to put yourself out there in a way where you can actually be seen by the world.

If you notice your thoughts, if you notice your belief systems and you notice your desire to R lines, meaning your result lines in your life, notice if they make you come alive. This is not the same as making you happy.

When I have new entrepreneurs who come to me that want to build businesses and they say they want to be happy, I tell them they’re going to have a problem because when you’re building a business, happiness is not the most useful emotion. The most useful emotion is determination, motivation, willingness, desire.

The desire for growth. The willingness to be uncomfortable, the willingness to fail. That’s not happiness. That’s not contentedness. That’s not comfort. Now, many of us who are willing to put ourselves out there have found a way to be happy in the pain, to understand that the pain and the discomfort and the grind and the work is the happiest thing we could be doing.

Because it is ultimately helping us fulfill that deep purpose within our life to continue to flow and move and grow. And although it’s not the surface happiness that many of us initially are seeking, it’s not the same happiness we get from eating good meal, or swimming in the ocean, or laying in the sun, or drinking margaritas.

Nothing wrong with those things, it’s just different. It’s a happiness that comes from having laid your life out, from having laid yourself out, from using yourself up in an on the world. Working through all the doubts and the shame and the pain that we want to bury away.

There’s an underlying core of well-being that comes from when we expose ourselves as the magnificence that we are, with no apology. Showing up with all of our flaws, with all of our pain, with all of our history, with all of our mistakes.

And using all of that, using that pain and processing it to generate the energy that we need in order to make our contribution and our creation. When is enough enough? A student asked me the other day. Why do I keep pushing?

And what I told her is there’s nothing wrong with continuing to push. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to strive and go for more. What happens is when we’re going after it for the wrong reason, we exhaust ourselves. When we’re going after growth in order to find happiness at the end of that rainbow, we will constantly be exhausted and it won’t be sustainable because there is no happiness there.

There is no arrival where then we are happy and content. Happily ever after isn’t because we’ve achieved something. It’s because our brain changes. It’s because our mind changes. You don’t have to achieve anything to have happily ever after. All you need to do is change your mind.

But if you’re like me and you probably are because you’re listening to my podcast, there will be a yearning inside of you for more, for growth, for movement, for flow, for aliveness. You will want to let go of your contentedness, let go of your happiness in order to be uncomfortable enough to grow to the next level.

That is the price we’re willing to pay for a life of aliveness. Aliveness means we show up for the dance, which means we show up for the negative 50% of life as enthusiastically as we show up for the joy and the happiness and the ecstasy. We’re willing to open to both. And because we’re willing to open to both, we open up the expanse that is our emotional capacity.

And when you open up your emotional capacity, you open up the number of experiences that you’re willing to put yourself in front of. And when you do that, your life is bigger. It’s much more alive. You say yes more often, you fall down more often, you’re in pain more often, but you’re also in ecstasy more often.

And you can look back at the pathway, you can look back at the journey, and you will see that it has made you more you. If you don’t use it as an excuse to quit because you’re not feeling happy, you will find yourself on that journey. You will find out what you’re made of, you’ll find out who you are.

And you will most likely be delighted by what it means to be you right now in this world. This is you as a human. We don’t need to fix the world for you to have an amazing life. In fact, the world is not perfect on purpose. There is contrast on purpose.

So we can come and evolve and as we evolve ourselves within ourselves, it is displayed in the world for all of us to enjoy and all of us to see. That’s what I think is so magical. When you, my friend, evolve your life, when you’re willing to take that risk, when you’re willing to put yourself out there, when you’re willing to grow, it has the effect of growing the world. Literally.

Think about all the inventions, all of the things. Look around you. Everything we get to experience and enjoy and consume and be is because of the people that went before us that risked evolving, risked growing, risked going beyond just surviving.

Otherwise, we’d all just be sitting around eating what was available. We wouldn’t have farms. We wouldn’t have grocery stores. That human ingenuity comes from letting go of sitting in the warm cave by the fire. And metaphorically, that’s what I’m inviting you to do. Come out of the cave.

Risk yourself. Risk your happiness. Risk your comfort for the sake of aliveness, for showing up for something that maybe you’ve never done before. Asking your brain for more than it’s had to produce for a while. Letting it learn something new. Putting yourself in what I call harm’s way, embarrassing yourself on purpose.

Dancing when the music’s on, regardless if anyone else is dancing, regardless if people are making fun of you, regardless if people think you’re doing it wrong, dance. You will always find me dancing.

Just recently there was an opportunity to dance and I’m usually wanting to dance to the kind of music I like. I like hip-hop music; I like 80s dance music. That’s what I grew up dancing to. And so I usually wait for my music to come on.

And just recently we’ve had the opportunity to be dancing to music that normally I wouldn’t dance to, that I haven’t danced to in a long time. And so I was waiting for my song to come on, and one day I realized, I’m missing the dance. I missed dancing with my boyfriend, my friends, because the music isn’t right, I need to wait for my music.

And what I realized is I was missing. I was sitting. And so I got up and I started to dance and I haven’t stopped. And I feel more alive in that dance than I ever had, even though the music isn’t exactly what I would like. I feel the music from the inside out now and I show up in whatever way that is.

And listen, I get some feedback on my dancing. It’s not a subtle thing. And I embrace it and I love it and I want more of it. I want to keep the dance of my life alive always. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, I don’t want to be sitting down when there’s music playing.

And it doesn’t have to be the perfect music. Any music I can show up for and I feel more alive. So what is that for you in your life? What is it that you’re sitting on the sidelines for waiting for the music to be right? What is it that you’re hiding behind in the cave, trying to be happy, trying to be content with what you have? Telling yourself that’s a noble thing to do, to just be happy with what you have and not want more.

And I’m not saying that’s wrong, but if you feel inside of you a yearning for more, that yearning for more is one of the most important things you can pay attention to. That desire is your map of where you need to go, of what you need to do.

If you continuously listen to that which is within you, that voice that is within you that is telling you to get up and start dancing, even if everyone is watching and even if you’re the only one on the dance floor, you will never regret having lived your life on purpose, pursuing being alive.

Too many of us are dying literally. We are dying physically because we’re seeking pleasure at our body’s expense, and we’re dying because we’re letting our minds go to waste because we’re only consuming social media and movies and TV and Netflix and Prime and YouTube.

Your creative mode requires that you stand up and listen to the music and start dancing, and let that be your expression of your life. You should have at least as much creation as you have consumption. And creation doesn’t mean you have to create something for someone to buy. It means you create a mark; you create an experience; you create a display to yourself of your own aliveness.

This is my invitation to you. Stop pursuing happiness. There is a much better pursuit and that is your own aliveness, whatever that means to you. And you do know what that means to you. Nobody else can tell you. Nobody else can give you advice on what you need to do. But you do know. So stop telling yourself that you don’t know and ask yourself the question, what do I need to do to be more alive in my life for the rest of my life?

That is your challenge for this week, my friends. Have a beautiful week. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

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