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Alan Watkins: Why You Feel What You Feel at TEDxOxford (Transcript)

So you might use a very common strategy: sex, right? Because while I am engaged in the intimacy of the sexual union, I don’t have to think about the question, because I’m too busy doing this. But you may have noticed that when the act is over, that bloody question comes back again, right? So some people go even more nuts: I’ll have sex with two people, then the whole crowd — desperately trying to get away from this question that’s bothering them. The meaning of their life.

So if sex doesn’t work, and it doesn’t, ultimately, then you get into materialism: shoes! I’ll go and buy some shoes. Or a car or a house or a yacht. So we get into materialism — or some people that we see very common in industry: workaholism, they become work-addicted, because while I am working that hard, I have to do stuff, I don’t have to think about the question.

Now none of that solves the problem. Because we mistakenly believe that the problem is out there and the solution is out there, whereas the real problem is in here. You cannot solve your sense of emptiness or your unrest with an external solution outside of yourself. So stop looking out there, you have to look in here, and particularly to look at your own emotional experience.

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Now most people go through their life completely unaware of emotions, particular those fellows right, somebody mentions the word emotions, we run for the hills, OK. Now emotions are just energy emotion, they’re composite biological signals — the signals made up of all the pounding heart rate, the sweaty palms, the tension in the muscles or whatever is going on biologically, it’s stereotypical energetic patterns — energy in motion, they are e-motions.

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Now we all have emotions, every single second of every single day, even those fellows. Feelings, however, are something entirely different. Feelings are the awareness in our mind of the energy. So the energy is always there but we don’t necessarily feel it and that’s where we’re stuck, is we haven’t really learned to understand our own emotional life. So we go through our life believing how we’re feeling on a moment by moment basis, it’s down to somebody else. So we actually say this — you annoyed me, you made me unhappy, you did it to me, and we point the finger at other people, believing other people the cause of our own unhappiness. So Newsflash, nobody’s doing it to you, nobody is making you feel these things.

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I mean, what do you think that happens when you get frustrated with somebody else? Do they come up to you and inject you with frustration, with the chemicals of frustration? Do they create the electrical signals of frustration, the pressure waves, the sound waves? No. You did that, you created that inside yourself in response to their poor behavior.

So if you can accept that you’re doing it, it’s not them, it’s you. Now that simple truth takes you from what we call the victim position and it crosses the threshold to ownership. That’s the most important transition you’ll ever make in your life. So to help you navigate that, first and foremost, you have to understand where am I in the universe of emotions.

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Now if I asked you to write down what emotion you’re experiencing right now and gave you five minutes, you might have a list of things and then we said, OK put your hands up who’s got how many and we did a sort of test of how many you got, the average in a room like this would be about ten or twelve. There are 34,000 emotions that you can experience. Most people go through life with ten or twelve.

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And just to try and help you navigate, I just want to show you an app that we’ve built to help people know where they are in the universe of emotions. So we’ve plotted all these emotions on a map and this map shows you the axis. So to the top of the axis in the universe of emotions we’ve got the ones that are sort of more energy, if you like, and to the bottom the ones that are more relaxed. And to the left the ones that are more positive and to the right the ones that are more negative. So you can see that we’ve potted maybe the twenty commonest emotions there and right now as I’m talking to you right now, you’re somewhere on this group. You’re somewhere in the universe experiencing one of these planets and we can bring in the next hundred emotions, we can bring in the next 200 emotions, the next thousand, so we’ve built this app to try and crowd source with you all 34,000 thirty, we’ve built it with just 2000 as a starter. And you can enter into the one of the 64 galaxies that exist and start to navigate round and see where you are, see where you are in relation to some of the other emotions, because if you don’t know where you are, you’re lost.

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Now you would never get control of your own state and it’s really important not only for your health, for your well-being, for your success, whatever you’re doing, whether you’re a sportsperson or a business leader that you can start to control your own emotional state of what’s going on for you. And if you don’t know where you are, how can you possibly control any of this stuff? And the answer is you can’t.

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So the start of the journey is even knowing which planet are you on, and this is designed to help you, and you can see in the top corner there, it shows you roughly where you are in the universe at any point in time. Now we can zoom in into one of these 64 galaxies and look at a specific solar system. So we’re going to go into maybe sociable, we can see. So let’s zoom in to the solar system of sociable and start to see what planets around you. So if you want to move from sociable to someone else and then gradually navigate yourself to a different part of the universe, you can see where you are.

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By Pangambam S

I have been a Transcriber and Editor in the transcription industry for the past 15 years. Now I transcribe and edit at SingjuPost.com. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do let me know. And please do share this post if you liked it and help you in any way.