Freedom won’t just come to you, it will take effort and planning. To become free requires a well-conceived plan of action. Last minute decisions without prior thought and “gut feel” actions won’t help you. To be free, you need to know what you’re doing and why, else minor hindrances can cause you to discard your plans and give up.
The Intellectual and Emotional traps are all about the what and why of your actions. In the Emotional Trap, you don’t have a meaningful long-term view of what you’re doing. In the Intellectual Trap, you don’t know why you are doing it.
If you try to censor your emotions in order to comply with an intellectually determined standard, no matter how plausible the standard may be, you’re in an Intellectual Trap. If you deny your feelings, all the intelligent thinking and planning in the world won’t lead to happiness.
When you try to deny positive feelings – such as attraction for someone who your parents wouldn’t approve of, or enjoyment of something that others may frown upon, you are in the Intellectual Trap. You’re also in this trap when you believe you should be happy purely because you are doing what you have been told will make you happy.
A $500,000 a year income, freehold mansion, wife and kids doesn’t matter if you are terribly unhappy. Intellectually, it may seem as though you have ticked off many “life goals”, but if your emotions aren’t satisfied it’s best to pay attention to them. You’re in the Intellectual Trap if you let your intellect tell you what you should feel.
The Emotional Trap can be summed up by the assumption that one’s momentary feelings will be permanent. This inspires actions that produce consequences that have to be attended to after the feelings have passed. You are in the Emotional Trap if you let your emotions make significant decisions for you.
Emotions are involuntary; you can’t command yourself to feel a certain way. Listen to them – they are valuable, but keep important decisions until after the moment when your emotions are in control.
Freedom through logical, yet emotionally honest decisions
Both your intellect and emotions are essential, real parts of you. Each has a purpose and neither can be ignored in order to get what you want in life. Both traps lead to trouble and to deny either of them is to fall into a trap. If you want genuine, durable happiness, you have to recognize your emotional nature and use your intelligence to think ahead to create situations that will trigger happy emotions from your unique nature.
When your plans have produced your desired outcomes, you can disregard your intellect, relax and embrace your feelings. You are now free to act spontaneously within that situation because you have removed the possibility of negative consequences. You can allow yourself to be engulfed in a flow of genuine positive emotions, something that absolutely makes life worth living.