Can you get to the other side using either logic or emotions?
A free worksheet
This is a three-part exercise to help you overcome obstacles and achieve your dream. Part one teaches you how to form a plan using logic and creativity to arrive at your goal/dream. Part two adds an emotion to see how this influences your plan. And part three teaches you how to find the motivation to keep going. In other words, how to find an appropriate emotion to fuel your passion.
The first step, making a plan, is relatively straightforward and especially good for a younger audience or people who like a creative challenge. The second step is an introduction to how emotions influence our logic. And, the third step, finding motivation, is an advanced concept primarily for adults. I love this idea. I’ve been practicing this, and already it helps me feel better in just a few minutes.
Quick instructions: Below, you can download the free worksheet. (A printer-friendly PDF.) It’s good for kids and adults. Each worksheet includes brief instructions, but here, I explain the concepts in depth. (If you are a facilitator, you can summarize or paraphrase these ideas for your group.)
Part I: Logic
This idea is very simple. In this case, we’ve given you a dream: get the pot of gold. And, we added some obstacles: you are stuck on an island surrounded by sharks. The challenge is to create a multi-step plan to get the gold — make your dream come true.
This exercise is designed to seem impossible at first to stimulate creative thinking. Any solution is fair game. This game was part of our first Dream Workshop. The students came up with all kinds of ideas. About half the students made logical, step-by-step plans and about half found some surprising solutions. I loved the creativity, even if they weren’t necessarily possible.
Part II: Emotions.
Unfortunately, often our logical plans fail, and we lose hope. There is a time and place for logic, but humans are driven by feelings. And those motivators are very mysterious and very personal things. I believe motivation is more important than logic because if you are motivated, you will try one plan after another and refine your logic until you find something that works.
This exercise is like the last, except now we add an emotion. Pick any emotion. Practice feeling that emotion in your body. When you are ready, make a new plan. Example: If we try feeling silly, we may come up with the plan to use our ears to fly to the other side. Now, imagine what would happen if we picked sad as our emotion?
This exercise demonstrates that no matter how logically we may like to be, emotions still play a major influence. This isn’t bad, but it is something we need to learn to be aware of. And if we pay attention, we can use emotions to our advantage. This is where part 3 comes into play.
Part III: E-motivations. (Advanced.)
In part three, rather than using logic to create a plan, we will find an emotion that motivates us to succeed. There are simple instructions included on the worksheet. Here, I explain the concept in detail because emotional skills are not something most of us have been taught in school.
Let’s use the example dream of becoming a sports star. Imagine being an athlete is your dream. And your logical plan is: Practice makes perfect. That’s a plan with only one step that you repeat over and over. Practice. Practice. Practice.
That plan sounds simple enough, right? And, logically, we know it works. But if it is so simple, why do most people fail? The not-so-simple answer is because there is an emotion blocking the path. It could be fear or doubt or hopelessness, or any number of things. That emotion is sapping your motivation. Notice how those two words are almost the same emotion > motivation.
Perhaps, now you are thinking, “But, I’m just not athletic.” Or, “I tried and failed.” Or, “There can only be one winner.” Those may all be true, logical statements, but they are also statements driven by fear or doubt. Rather than try to make a new plan, let’s see if we can find a different emotion.
Let’s imagine that you are feeling sad that you will never win, but you imagine that if your dream comes true you would be feeling happy. In a way, the emotion of happiness is what you really want. In other words, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy playing a sport. And if you are an Olympic athlete, you don’t have to win a gold medal to succeed. In fact, people that win the gold medal often attribute their success to their competitors or teammates or fans at home.
Okay, so on one side of the gap, we feel sad. But we wish we felt happy. “Just be happy!” That’s a cliché that sounds simple, right? But it’s not. If it were so simple to be happy, we would already be happy. That’s the gap illustrated above. It’s like a gaping chasm or bottomless pit between who you think you are and who you want to be. The challenge or the key here is to find the emotion that bridges the gap between sad and happy.
Let’s say, looking deep inside, you think that what might get you out of bed in the morning is not happiness — after all, it is hard to be happy about something that hasn’t happened — but hopefulness. You have hope that you will win. And you have even more hope that you will be happy just playing the game, win or lose. You realize that is all you can control.
In this case, we have replaced happiness with hope. Hope becomes your new motivation.
We can use this technique to bridge any two emotions. Let’s say you are frustrated, and after some introspection, you realize what you need is some inspiration. Often, your first guess might still be too big. You might not be able to find inspiration either. So you can find a smaller bridge emotion. Maybe that smaller emotion is curiosity. You think to yourself, “We’ll I don’t seem to be successful doing it this way, what if I try another way? I’ll probably fail. But maybe I should expect to fail. It’s just an experiment. I won’t get mad if I fail because I can just try something different again. In fact, I’ll keep trying something new until I find the thing that works.”
You have just discovered perseverance as your motivator.
As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer. It takes some inner exploration, but one thing leads to the next, and suddenly you have that “Aha!” feeling.
Don’t worry, if you don’t quite understand this advanced idea yet — that is what the worksheet is for. We give you more examples and walk you through your own example step-by-step.