But, first, a word of perspective
The costs of emotional outcome dependence
A preference or a demand?
But, how do I get to that point?
But why would the outcome seem so important?
Real outcomes versus imaginary outcomes
Accepting the laws of how things actually work
Is it actually serious if I don't get the desired outcome?
What is the actual "ok" base?
We fail to do "endpoint" thinking - What are the actual consequences?
An example of endpoint thinking
The affirmative reality conversation
BUT, FIRST, A WORD OF PERSPECTIVE
If you're reading this, you at least kinda' know that there are emotional costs to you of not achieving your outcomes - and it is that emotional penalty that you'd rather live without.
However, if you know, for sure, that you have a good solid base of "what I have, for sure" plus knowing you have the ability to cover the minimum essentials (food, shelter, and such) AND if you know that "more" is not needed, you can then observe life and your getting of bonuses (desired outcomes) or not as just playing with the extras - then you will no longer impose the emotional costs on yourself. You'll live your life, instead of being in the anxiety/fear syndrome, in the "life power zone" of homeostasis, always having "enough" and always appreciating the extras.
THE COSTS OF EMOTIONAL OUTCOME DEPENDENCE
Events are neutral in and of themselves. It is only we who add meaning.
If we make ourselves emotionally dependent on a future outcome being as we want it, then we create:
1. Stress on our body and mind, like a fear of the outcome, until the outcome
2. Unhappiness and living in limbo until it happens
During that time, we are "in limbo", holding off on life, waiting for the outcome to restart us. We are putting off our happiness in a "I will be happy when this desired outcome happens." This means I will not be happy for the time up until this outcome happens.
3. When the outcome finally happens
If favorable, then we experience little joy, only relief from the stress.
If unfavorable, then we give ourself another jolt of unhappiness and stress.
This is a no-win proposition. You're stressed and in limbo up until the outcome whether you win or not. You just experience an additional loss if the outcome does not come out as wished.
A PREFERENCE OR A DEMAND?
In Buddhism (and other philosophical disciplines), they say that suffering is created by demanding and that peace of mind is increased when we merely "prefer" an outcome.
The Buddhists suggest that you be "detached" about the outcome. (I suggest the same!)
However, one can only be detached if one is not attached, i.e. we must remove the beliefs that create the attachments. It is a "negative" condition, in a sense, in that we need to release (or get rid of) the thing that creates are having the illusion that we are, indeed, attached.
The thing that has us be attached is that we think we will not be "ok" if we don't have the outcome come out the way we want it to come out. If we think we'll still be "ok" either way, then we are not attached. If we don't see that we will actually be "ok", then we'll be attached, putting a must or a demand on things coming out our way.
A demand is "I must have this outcome in order to be happy." Or "I need this in order to be happy". Both of those are false statements which you are choosing to base your happiness on. You don't "need" it; you can still be happy without it.
A preference is "I would prefer that this outcome happens but I am not dependent on it, as I'm already fine as I am."
"I would rather have this outcome than the alternatives, but if I don't, my life is fine as it is."
BUT, HOW DO I GET TO THAT POINT?
It is highly likely that you've heard of the concept of 'preferring', but it is also highly likely that it never really penetrated sufficiently to realize how essential it is to happiness. Even if you thought it would be "important" or worthwhile to start doing 'preferring' as a regular practice, you probably asked "well, now, how do I do that?"
And then it all stopped right there and you were distracted by some other thing, simply moving on, without any gain.
Completing this process is a very worthwhile investment of your time - although it can be done pretty quickly - but do complete it. Now!
BUT WHY WOULD THE OUTCOME SEEM SO IMPORTANT?
The first part of the process is discover and then look to see what is true or not true. Then you would unravel any false causes of the false fears, especially the underlying assumptions and untruths.
Doesn't that make sense?
Wouldn't we, in our investigation process, ask the following?:
What are we making this be? Is it just more "much ado about nothing"?
Consider this outcome, and see if there is some similarity:
If you didn't follow sports, you wouldn't care which team won, would you? And it would make no difference to you, actually or even in your mind - you would still be fine whether one or the other team won.
But if you're making up that it is a serious loss:
But the reason you think the outcomes are so important in your own personal desired outcome is that you are adding some extra negative illusory meaning to not getting the desired outcome - you're actually assuming some kind of dependence on it for your well-being. It is like you are making it a "mini-death", or a "loss", for yourself, which makes no sense since you are alive before it and alive after it, with no real effects.
REAL OUTCOMES VERSUS IMAGINARY OUTCOMES
We make up things to be meaningful that just occur solely in our mind. These are merely illusions, mental constructs, just like running a movie, with no actual impact in the real world. And, yes, there can be actual emotional consequences if you don't see that it is just a movie. Of course, it wasn't the movie (or the event) that caused the consequences - it is only what you made up about it that caused the emotions. It was simply a thought and a thought is not a reality.
Many people still don't see that their stories, beliefs, anticipations, and such have no substance to them; they are no more real than a child's believing there is a monster in the closet. Ultimate growing up is growing past the believing in stories to the point where one sees the illusion for being the illusion it is - where one knows it is just an imagined monster.
Even if the mind still comes up with something that looks real, we can learn to know it is not real, as in the Oscar winning film, A Beautiful Mind.
"I see you. You're not real. So, I'll just go on with my real life."
ACCEPTING THE LAWS OF HOW THINGS ACTUALLY WORK
Part of the problem is created by not accepting certain realities or laws of life.
Isn't it a Law Of Human Nature (or of justa Law Of Nature) that progress is most often not continuous and that there will be failures due to not knowing and/or occasionally due to outside physical occurrences which are not in our control?
So, isn't it a fact that we can't live mistake-free?
Then, why do we expect to?
"Ah," you say, "I don't expect to". If that is so, why then are you so disappointed when you don't get what you want? (It appears also that you do expect to be able to bypass this natural limit of human ability - into some fairy-fairy land where everything comes out as you wish it to, as would be the expectation in a child's mind!)
IS IT ACTUALLY SERIOUS IF I DON'T GET THE DESIRED OUTCOME?
So, we return again to the big question above.
When we think we will be hurt and actually suffering a loss, we are creating a huge, imaginary monster - and a false threat to our "survival", at some level.
Again, the problem here is "viewpoint", where we are looking at "what is not there" versus seeing "what is there" - and believing that "what is there" is not adequate, not enough. But is that really true?
No, that is really not true!!!! Absolutely not true!!!
It's simply a failure to see that we have enough.
WHAT IS THE ACTUAL "OK" BASE?
"Oh, well, I didn't get the bonus. On average, though, I'll be getting some bonuses. It's a process of win some, lose some - and that is just life. It's no big deal. I am fine with or without any one item. As long as I have a functioning brain then I can handle and adjust and create what I want. I have an incredible thinking and problem solving brain, an incredible ability to learn and to create. I am always OK at the base, with a few ups and downs above the base. I don't need anything else for life to be good."
We need to simply look to see what is already there and see that it is more than enough of a base and that it is an illusion that we need to add other things in order to think we are ok.
The base is: "I'm ok. Life is good overall. I have some experiences I don't prefer and/or which are physically painful, but that is to be expected in life - and there is no set quota. I have more than enough ability to survive (food, protective shelter, clothes to cover me, the abilitiy to be happy) just fine. That will always be there for me."
WE FAIL TO DO "ENDPOINT" THINKING - WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL CONSEQUENCES?
One of the flaws in our thinking is that we fail to think somethingg out to its logical end. We get to a certain point and then we accept programming that says "ain't it awful" and "I'll be so unhappy if this happens or if I dont' get that." If we carrry the thinking out to the end point we'll most often see that there is no bad endpoint or real loss - it's only in our head.
AN EXAMPLE OF DOING "ENDPOINT" THINKING
It is a skill to look at strategies and life and discern what the consequences actually are. Only when we truly know and clearly see the consequences can we make a wise decision.
Outcome dependent thought: "If I don't get approval for my talk next week, it'll be awful. I'll be miserable. It will prove that I am no good and not worthy."
But can you see how many solely mentally created concepts there are and that none of the "consequences" are real and actual? Only you have the power to consider it "awful" - and that is some vague generality, a judgment that has no basis. You need not be miserable - you're stating it as if it were a fact that is caused by an actual occurence, rather than a story you make up about it. And there is no sound basis for coming to the conclusion that you could be proven no good and have no worth. Those are both made-up and illusory.
In endpoint thinking we observe what the actual consequences/outcomes could be. In reality, you might not prepare enough or be capable enough to give a good speech. And people may or may not judge negatively and withhold support or approval. But the endpoint is that you will go in as yourself, including your physical being, and afterwards you will come out as yourself with the same molecules and abilities. It is inconsequential that you are not approved of, in terms of reality. You will still be able to learn more to get better, people will still be basically who they were, with the same viewpoints, and you can create giving a better speech, if that is what you want. There is no fixedness, no permanence, no real effect that remains in place in the real world. You simply had an experience. It smply might be an indication that youu did not have enough knowledge yet and that therefore you needed more knowledge (aka a learning opportunity came to you). That's it. No harm. No foul.
THE AFFIRMATIVE REALITY CONVERSATION
"It's all ok now as I go and proceed to whatever is next. I will be adding over time, but not in a straight line path. I am also ok if I don't get alot of additional bonuses happening. For I am always ok."
It's no big deal, any undesired outcome is just a temporary setback, all part of life".
Optional piece, affirming the truth:
"If the outcome is not what I would prefer, the damage that could be created will only be due to my emotion, disappointment or self criticism. And I get to choose otherwise. Few outcomes mean anything in reality.
I now release the stress, knowing I don't have to "hold" against it. I insist on being in a natural state of relaxation.