REBT also advocates living the life you value to maximize the meaning and pleasure you derive in life. Ellis called this having vitally absorbing interests. If you fail to live a life that is consistent with your values and have vitally absorbing interests then you are likely to experience diminished meaning and pleasure in life. Certainly there will be obstacles and adversity which you encounter as you attempt to live the life you value and pursue your real goals and values but the important thing is that you move towards living this valued life. Also you will want to think rationally and self-helpingly about the obstacles you encounter in attempting to live the life you value. Due to responsibilities and other concerns you may not be able to quickly and easily change course in life. Sometimes you will desire to change course in life but with such course correction will come with risk and some disadvantages. It is unlikely you will ever be able to “have our cake and eat it too” and so you had better have philosophical acceptance about the tradeoffs of life. REBT points out that Utopian conditions are not likely to be found.
Living the life you value requires uncertainty tolerance. You may believe you know what will be better suited for you but until you do the experiment and create that life you do not have the direct feedback of experience. There are never any guarantees that the new course will be what you initially bargained for. If you think rationally (i.e. preferentially and flexibly) about the unexpected problems of the new course you will largely only experience healthy negative emotions. For example, if you leave a job for another and encounter unexpected problems you can rate yourself negatively (e.g. I made a bad judgment and therefore I am a loser for changing jobs) or merely rate your oversight as a negative thing (e.g. I made a bad judgment but that is what fallible humans tend to do and then learn from as they go through life). Rating yourself instead of only rating your actions and decisions in the context of your goals is the default way of thinking for fallible humans. REBT points out that such overgeneralized self-rating will lead to feelings of self-loathing. Only rating your oversight or mistakes and not your complex and dynamic “self” is far more sensible and will lead to healthy feelings of displeasure with your judgment. This displeasure will help you profit from your experience going forward in life. With this displeasure you can still enjoy aspects of your new life while acknowledging that you did not get it quite right as of the moment.
It should be noted that the best way to discover what you truly value and will bring you the greatest pleasures and meaning is to experiment with different choices. It is difficult to know in advance if a particular course of action will suit you as you intended. Allow yourself to experiment with different choices. Take calculated risks. Think through options, do your homework and gathered good information from other people who are in the know before acting but recognize that in the end your life is a personal experiment. Accept that you can never know how things will work out until you do them, not when others do them for you. Think rationally (i.e. flexibly) and see that when problems with your choices occur you do not have to be disturbed by them. REBT is unique in its firm position that you largely disturb yourself over adversities, bad choices, and other negative unexpected outcomes and you can use the teachings of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy to accept both you and your personal adversities as you work to creatively minimize, circumvent, and overcome those adversities. If you do as REBT advocates and assume responsibility for your emotions, as well as your life in general, you can move towards living the life you value and maximize the pleasure you derive from the process of living. Good luck and enjoy the experiment!