Asking someone whose emotional states fluctuate dangerously how they feel on a subjective 5-point scale is the equivalent of asking an obviously drunk person if they’re drunk, and what they think they’d blow.

How You Feel Matters Less Than What You Do—Refocus Your Attention For Better Results

How you feel matters less than what you do
(Adobe Stock Image: Licensed to Author)

# 74 on my, 99 Life Tips–A List is: Think less about how you feel and more about what you should do.

The people I know who spend the most time analyzing how they feel consistently feel the worst. I may confuse correlation with causation, a common problem, but the predictability of this outcome led to the tip above. 

For consistently better feelings, how you feel matters less than what you do. If you will refocus your attention, you’ll feel better,… and be more productive, to boot.

I’m on a sometimes weight loss (sometimes weight gain) regimen known by its common name as a “diet”. To track progress, I stand on a scale hoping it doesn’t chuckle and say, “One at a time, please.” I can see the number. It is measurable, serving as an indicator of whether I can afford to drink a beer. 

There is no empirical scale for emotional states

Seriously though, emotional states don’t work that way. There is no objective, empirical scale. 

Asking someone whose emotional states fluctuate dangerously how they feel on a subjective 5-point scale is the equivalent of asking an obviously drunk person if they’re drunk, and what they think they’d blow. Chances are high you will not get an accurate answer.

Maybe I’m different, but whenever asked to pick from three emoticon faces ranging from sad—to neutral—to happy, nine times out of ten, I’m neutral. I seldom think about how I feel. 

When I feel good, I just enjoy it. It doesn’t occur to me to stop and evaluate whether I’m at a 3.5 or 4. If I feel bad; I figure out why, what I’m thinking, what it would look like fixed, and what I can do about it. I don’t ponder whether I’m feeling a dismal 1 or perhaps as high as a 2. Degree is irrelevant.

If you get stuck here, analyzing and cataloguing your feelings, you may wish to reconsider. How effective is it? What does your subjective answer about your subjective feelings tell you except in the most general terms?

It is important to know how things make you feel so that you can do something to either recreate them or eliminate them. The action you take is the key thing.

I’ve written about the relationship between emotions and thoughts, so this is where I start when I feel bad. My thinking is the usual culprit. I don’t start by figuring out how bad I feel. I don’t press on my emotions like I do bruises. If I feel bad at all, that’s bad enough to take action.

You most definitely figure out what you’re feeling so you can act accordingly. What you feel and how much you feel are different. Yes, figure out what you’re feeling; think less about how you’re feeling, and figure out what you should do. 

Because ultimately, how you feel matters less than what you do.

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