‘I’ll do it when I feel like it.’

We hear people say this about several meaningful pursuits – about singing, painting, volunteering and so on.

Yet, how often have you gone to work reluctantly, only to end up with an enjoyable workday? How often were you unwilling to go to an event, but having gone there, had the time of your life? I have had mornings where writing was the last thing I wanted to do. When I wrote anyway, I often came away with posts that I am proud of.

We believe that feelings give rise to action. That is why we wait for inspiration to strike. It is, however, the other way around. It is the way we act that makes us feel a certain way.

‘I’ll feel like it when I do it’ is the better mantra.

The road not taken

We know that the sun is about 150 million kilometers away from us. Yet, on a hot summer’s day, we imagine the sun to be a lot closer than that.

We know that it is good for us to exercise regularly and eat healthy. But it feels a lot better in the moment to curl up on the couch with a packet of chips.

People often act in ways that don’t favour us without any intention of harming us. Yet, the first narrative that pops up in our heads is one where we are delibarately wronged.

Our feelings and our imagination have a stronger grip on our behaviour than does reality. As a poet once wrote, ‘The better path, I gaze and approve. The worse, I follow.’