Leap Year Lesson #17: Act Your Way Into the Right Feeling

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Attitude
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At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man longing for the good ol’ days, I think it’s true in general that current American society is more inclined to act according to how we feel at the moment compared with acting in accordance with prior commitments made about what is right and necessary and good.

That was a dangerously long opening sentence, so let me explain…

At work I have a choice between (a) waiting to see how I feel each day and fluctuating my effort accordingly, or (b) working hard and giving it my best daily regardless of how I feel or what may be bothering me. In my most significant relationships in life, I can (a) choose to act according to how I feel at the moment toward each person (which opens the door to being mean and hateful and spiteful or negligent), or (b) be kind, respectful, loving and generous because that is who I choose to be whether I feel like it or not.

Surely there are days when you don’t feel like helping someone else or going to work or a myriad of other things you may have on your schedule. But what is usually the best cure for that hesitancy and, in fact, the best thing you can do in those situations? It is to do the very thing you don’t feel like doing.

Life shouldn’t be lived based on the whimsical, fleeting and very unreliable basis of feelings in the moment. Sure, we need to be open to random opportunities to take a quick detour along our daily paths to enjoy those serendipitous moments that come along. We need to listen when our bodies tell us to slow down or take time off. But we should not neglect those commitments we have made in the past simply because we don’t feel like it in the present.

So think about the commitments you have made. Acknowledge, where applicable, the temptation to abandon them. But then consider that those commitments are still  important to keep. If necessary, follow the advice of leap year lesson #17 – Act your way into the right feeling.

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