We’ve all been there:
Standing at a fork in the road. Faced with a choice. Trying to figure out where to go, what to do, which option to choose.
You might be facing a choice between job offers, potential romantic partners, or deciding what project you want to dedicate yourself to next.
How do you decide?
Here’s what I recommend: Take out a sheet of paper, and divide it into two columns: pros and cons. Write down everything you can think of for each column, carefully weigh the pros vs. cons, and then crumple up the piece of paper and throw it out.
And then follow your heart.
I know we’ve all heard this plenty of times. People tell you to listen to your heart, trust your gut, or follow your bliss. But what does this really mean? And how do you do it?
There are many techniques that can help you make a decision–from meditation and prayer to muscle testing and pendulums–but my favorite approach is something I call:
The Helium Method.
Have you ever talked to someone who’s trying to choose between two or more possibilities? They generally weigh the pros and cons of each option, and rationalize why they should probably go with the choice that makes the most sense.
But sometimes, in the midst of their staid, logical discussion, a moment arises when their whole demeanor suddenly changes. They perk up like their double espresso just kicked in. They glow. They seem to become ten years younger and many pounds lighter. And their enthusiasm becomes contagious.
That’s the moment when they’ve struck helium.
Oftentimes, we’ll pursue something in the hopes of “striking gold”–finding that glorious vein that will make us rich and solve all our problems. (More on this later.) And yes, striking gold certainly can be wonderful. But what can be even more wonderful is “striking helium”–finding that magical possibility, person, or passion that lifts you up, as if you were a balloon that suddenly got filled with helium.
You know you’ve struck helium when…
- Tasks and activities related to this possibility don’t feel like chores or unpleasant assignments–they’re a pleasure. They flow naturally and easily. They energize you, rather than draining you. They feel less like work and more like play!
- Rather than forcing yourself to keep going, you have to force yourself to take breaks. You have to remind yourself to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom!
- You get energized just by talking about this possibility, just by thinking about it.
- You feel like a kid again (in a good way)–feeling a playful innocence, a childlike wonder.
- Your friends notice a positive change. They say you seem lighter, younger, happier. They ask what’s different–or they don’t have to ask, because this is all you ever talk about!
- You have a crush on your life.
But most of all, you know you’ve struck helium when you don’t have to ask–when you just feel it in your heart, in every cell of your body. Like having a crush. Like falling in love.
Efficiency, Success, and the Helium Effect
The world of personal growth is filled with wonderful tools to help you be more efficient, more successful, and happier. And while many of these techniques are truly life-changing, they’re no substitute for The Helium Effect–having passion and enthusiasm for whatever you’re engaged in.
Sure, you can learn to work more effectively, to focus better, and to have a healthier relationship–but all the tips, tricks, and “best practices” in the world can’t make you feel enthusiastic about something (or someone) you don’t genuinely love, that doesn’t lift you up and ignite your passion.
On the other hand, when you do “strike helium,” you don’t need to trick yourself into sticking with it. You’ll probably find that it’s the most natural thing in the world. All you have to do is fill up with helium, cut any strings that might be tying you down, and soar!
Trust Me–Everyone Can Tell!
One last important point about The Helium Effect is that it’s not just an inner experience–it reflects in everything you do. You can’t fake helium–everyone can tell when you’ve got it and when you don’t.
Think about when you look at other people and their work–can’t you tell when something has been done begrudgingly, as an unwanted assignment? But you can also tell when something is a labor of love, full of passion and enthusiasm, fueled by helium. It’s joyful and light, and it lifts you up, too!
And (to return to the “striking gold” theme, as promised) you’re actually more likely to be successful when you do something that fills you with energy, passion, and enthusiasm–no matter what the activity is! In terms of inner and outer success, you’re more likely to “strike gold” 100 feet in the air–filled with helium and soaring effortlessly–than you are while slaving away in an underground mine!
So, the next time you’re faced with a decision, remember that you can choose the path that makes the most sense, the one where the pros outweigh the cons–or you could choose the one with the most helium!
You can probably guess which one I’d recommend.
When have you felt “The Helium Effect” in your own life? When has a person, project, or possibility filled you with life, passion, and enthusiasm? If you’re facing a choice right now, which option fills you with the most “helium”?
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