12/12/2013 11:51 am ET Updated Feb 11, 2014

A Bag Full of Misconceptions

As you may know, often I ask clients, audiences, or readers to consider that many of the things they think are true simply are not. Here are a few examples:

• People who lose weight or overcome addiction almost always attribute their initial success to weight-loss strategies or 10-step programs.

• Most coaches believe that a pregame speech has the ability to motivate a team.

• Therapists think that delving into a patient's past can clear up current sorrow.

• Most of us believe that physical pain comes from an injury or getting old.

• It's common to use punishment in order to avoid (or fix) errant behavior.

• Sports psychologists claim that mental techniques can bring out an athlete's true potential.

• We think that external demands can cause internal stress.

• Some of us believe that if you're angry, you should stop, analyze the situation, and then act.

• Almost everyone believes that what happens in life creates their outlook on life.

• Many people think that certain activities -- yoga, a hike, meditating, or taking a hot bath -- can stimulate relaxation.

Do you notice the common thread throughout these examples? They're all based on the most dangerous fallacy known to mankind: Human beings are capable of feeling anything other than the amount of thinking in their heads at any given moment (i.e., the misconception that we feel our circumstances). And as a result of this misconception, we come up with an endless list of excuses and remedies for our internal feelings.

The truth is that the only thing responsible for a good feeling, an increased level of passion, or living up to one's god-given potential is a clear head. That's why when you take a hot bath and your head clears, you relax. And when you take a hot bath and your head doesn't clear, you don't. You can't find clarity (and a good feeling) by taking a hot bath; clarity is designed to find you.

So, then, what should you do when you feel angry, insecure, disquiet, unmotivated, confused, or even stuck? Consider simply this: The more you look outside to explain how you feel on the inside -- given that the outside has nothing to do with it -- the more you'll get in the way of your mind's natural propensity to clear.

And, by the way, that's the opposite of a misconception, it's a principle. Answers can only be found there.