• I can start of my high school team
  • I can earn a college scholarship
  • I can get into the college of my choice
  • I can play professionally
  • I can make a lot of money
  • I can win a championship
  • I can make dean’s list
  • I can own my own company
  • I can have plenty of money in the bank
  • I can get married and have kids
  • I can buy a house in a great neighborhood
  • I can own a second home
  • I can retire with plenty of money in the bank
  • I can remain healthy
  • The list is endless…just like the rat race which traps too many people.

If only I achieve my dreams, THEN I will feel better.

Marketers are brilliant at promoting this diabolical lie. If only you buy these jeans or wear this cologne, then you will…It is called selling the “sizzle,” the emotional benefit of owning or using a product.

We are brainwashed to believe that external achievements (or certain products) can cause internal feeling states.

And that’s simply not true. Still, we all get caught up in the “if only” dream, even me.

Recently, I was fortunate to close on a profitable commercial real estate transaction. It was a good day.

Prior to the closing, I imagined how I would feel with additional money in the bank. I envisioned celebrating and feeling greater freedom and joy.

Immediately after the money hit my bank account, however, I felt worse. I started worrying about bank fraud; I felt angst about paying my taxes. What if I lost the money in a poor investment? I checked with my bank to ensure I had fraud protection. I contacted my accountant to inquire about my tax liability.

I was caught in a thought storm. I wondered if something was wrong with me? Shouldn’t having additional money cause me to feel good, yet I felt intense angst and insecurity?

And then I woke up.

I had once again fallen for the illusion—the “if only” illusion that tells me that once I achieve something, such as having money in the bank, then life will be perfect.

I had temporarily bought into the cultural misunderstanding that circumstances have the power to dictate feeling states.

They don’t. They never have, and they never will.

Once I stopped linking my internal state to my circumstances, and remembered my moment-to-moment thinking is the cause of my feelings, I gave my head room to clear.

The money in the bank had nothing to do with my feeling state.

All human beings only work from the inside-out.

The thought-feeling connection is the baseline for understanding the human experience.

If only we could remember that.