This article is a chapter of the
Stuff That Works.
I WAS TRYING to work yesterday, but I was
tired. I had stayed up late and gotten up late and I felt off.
When I realized what was happening, I decided to get back on
track. I started paying attention to my work. I looked people
in the eye and spoke with purpose. I decided to be a person I
respect not some victim to my feelings or circumstances,
but a creator of who I am. I set a standard for myself and then
lived up to it in behavior. And my feelings came around. I stopped
feeling so tired. I started feeling more purposeful. But even
if my feelings didnt come around, and they sometimes dont,
it wouldnt matter. I can look people in the eye even when
I dont feel like it.
You can do this too. Its not like
I have any great amount of self-discipline or willpower. You
can set standards for yourself and then live up to those standards,
even when you dont feel like it.
Lets not be the effect of our feelings.
They change too much. Set physical standards for yourself:
What you will DO, not what you will feel. Act ethically.
Speak with intention. Exercise even when you dont
feel like it. You cannot choose how you will feel voluntarily,
but you can always choose what you will do.
Then, regardless of your upbringing or
past habits or how much you drank the night before or the argument
you had with your spouse this morning, take the actions you
want to take. Be who you choose to be. Its up to you.
You are what you decide you are at any given moment not
how you feel, not how you were raised. Those are defaults, like
the defaults on a word processor, and can be overridden at any
time by a conscious decision. On some days, your defaults may
be perfectly good because the circumstances and your feelings
line up to make you act exactly as you wish. But the rest of
the time, youll have to take over the controls.
Decide how you want to act, and act that
way. You create yourself.
Decide how you want to act
and act that way.