Category: People and Performance
This is possibly the most powerful article for those who want to feel good about themselves through life. But it’s based on a premise that many people either refuse to accept or simply don’t understand; the premise is that most of the time, we feel the way we choose to feel.
How we feel is way more a result of what we DO rather than what we THINK. Choosing to do the things and engage the behaviours that make us feel good is the simplest and most brilliant approach to a happy life than most people ever realize. Thinking about how to feel good too often leads to confusion, frustration or inertia, confusion, frustration or just doing not much. It can also lead to poorer habits in the longer term as the brain becomes conditioned to habitually ponder HOW to feel good rather than igniting BEHAVIOURS that actually make you feel good.
How many people in life have actually won the ‘brain game’ and always feel good because they think about feeling good? Compare that to people who ‘just do’, those who act in ways that cause them to feel good! They haven’t got time to sit around and think about getting motivated … they feel motivated because they are always DOING things that are motivating! “The only time a human being truly feels motivated is when they are doing something”.
How do you feel when you treat other people (friends, colleagues, team members, family) poorly? Ashamed, disappointed in yourself, guilty, down.
How do you feel when you treat other people well? Proud of yourself, gratified, happy. So, the thing here is to treat people well … irrespective of how you feel and irrespective of how they treat you. Without the ‘irrespective’ part of this, it’s too easy to make the excuse that ‘they treated me poorly so why should I treat them well?’ The behaviour that will make you feel good may not be chosen because you are allowing your behavioural choice to depend on how someone else behaves … that leaves how you feel about yourself in the hands of someone else … and that’s a nonsense.
How do you feel when you eat high fat, high sugar, low nutrition food … or just simply overeat? Gluggy, slow, weighed down, disappointed in yourself.
How do you feel when you eat what you know you should? Energised and proud of yourself. So, the thing here is to eat what you should … irrespective of what you feel like eating at the time. Instant gratification, leading to guilt and feeling weighed down is not a sequence of feelings that anyone should choose. Without the ‘irrespective’ part of this, it’s likely that you will choose to eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities because you are allowing your behaviours to rely on your body’s hormones and your mind’s emotions … that does not work!
How do you feel when you procrastinate on important or nagging tasks? Disappointed in yourself and more anxious about the very thing you didn’t do.
How do you feel when you deal with things at the time you should? Great ! So, the thing here is to do the things you should at the time … irrespective of whether you feel like it or not. Putting things off causes longer periods of ‘think’ and higher stress. Without the ‘irrespective’ part of this, you are more likely to delay action due to your own brain’s ability to rationalize putting things off … “It can wait”, “I’ll be better prepared tomorrow”, “One more day won’t matter”. Our brains can rationalize almost anything but sometimes that’s a nonsense and makes us feel bad.
How do you feel when you don’t try again after not succeeding at the first attempt? A failure.
How do you feel if you try again, then again, then again, and whether you eventually achieve what you set out to or not, you feel good about yourself because you gave it your best. The thing here is to persist, otherwise, you’ll be left with an enduring feeling of failure. Sure, there are times when the quest should be stopped, for all good reason, but only when it’s a conscious, rational decision not when it’s an emotionally driven reaction.
How do you feel when you don’t exercise but know you should? Lazy, unmotivated, down, listless.
How do you feel if you push through the feeling of not wanting to exercise and do it? Great, even within a few minutes, because the oxygen to your brain and the rush of endorphins into your blood after exercise has commenced makes you feel good. The thing here is to exercise when you should irrespective of whether you feel like it. The reality is that we often don’t feel like doing it … too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too late, too early, other things to do, not motivated, not enough time. So exercise when you should, irrespective of whether you want to … and you usually know when you should.
How do you feel when you don’t learn what you need to because of laziness, boredom, or disinterest? Bad, knowing that you’ll probably have to, someday.
How do you feel when you do the learning? Enriched, satisfied. So the thing here is to do the learning when you should, irrespective of your innate interest or feeling at the time. We all need to continuously develop and that means learning, at times when we don’t feel like it, in ways we may not particularly enjoy or of things that don’t especially interest us … just do it and get it over with. Those reasons won’t change over time so not doing the learning or putting it off is a nonsense.
How do you feel when you don’t do something you should because of your own fears? Disappointed in yourself, embarrassed, a failure.
How do you feel when you take something on even though you’re scared? Proud, successful, invigorated. The thing here is we are all fearful of some things in life so it’s always best to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. Sometimes that particular fear will not reappear in future, sometimes it will … it doesn’t matter. It’s not about ridding ourselves of fears; it’s about acting despite having fears.
How do you feel when you continue a bad habit? Bad!
How do you feel when you break a bad habit? Proud, satisfied. The thing here is it’s too easy to blame a habit for future behaviour when it’s your own body that is creating the behaviour. Habits live in the brain (other than those relating to drugs of addiction) and behaviours come from our arms, legs and mouth. It’s crucial to acknowledge that we have full control over our behaviours. So, a bad habit has broken the instant a behavioural change is chosen! The notion that it takes 30 days to make or break a habit is a nonsense and only true for those who believe it. So, choose behaviours that break bad habits irrespective of how long you’ve had them and irrespective of what you’ve been taught about habits in the past. “I’ve always done it like that” is one of the worst inhibitors of self-development and happiness that we know. It’s an excuse for not changing behaviour and a bad one because it can be relied on too often.
It’s extremely useful to understand how you can use your subconscious brain to trick your emotions. We know that, if a human being acts in a particular way, they will actually ‘feel’ the way they are acting after about six minutes. For example, if you act excited, passionate, driven, up and about, your subconscious receives those signals from your behaviours … after about six minutes it will reprogram your emotional feelings to be in line with the ways you have been acting. So, the best way to feel positive is to act positively. You don’t need to think about it, just act it. The power of the subconscious is amazing but only for those who understand it and use it. Reflect on the many times you will have experienced this happening to you … apprehensive when entering a room full of people but shortly after, once mingling, you start to relax … dreading an interaction with someone but shortly after, once acting the way you should, you start to feel better about it. Whatever the example, it is evidence of your acting causing alterations in the feelings you experience. So, act in ways that you want to genuinely feel.
Finally, it’s helpful to focus on how you will feel at the end of doing what you should … how you will feel after getting up earlier, at the end of the exercise, after doing it now rather than putting it off, after doing the learning, after communicating respectfully, after pushing through fear, etc. It’s always a good feeling after the doing and focusing on that will help you to do it. (Note the difference between this and thinking about whether you will or won’t engage the required behaviour … focus on the end feeling and never play the brain game).
So, choose the behaviours that make you feel good … irrespective, of anything!
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