Last week, we discussed the power of self-talk. The opening line of the email was:
“The most important conversation you have all day is the one you have with yourself.”
We followed up with this note:
“This is not a suggestion to be dishonest with yourself, however; if you didn’t give your best effort, it’s also important to acknowledge that. This is the delicate balance of self compassion with self honesty; yelling at yourself for “failing” when you did your best is self destructive, while giving a 50% effort and telling yourself good job is self delusion.”
This week, we’re going to talk about when it’s important to override your feelings, especially the one that says, “I’m not in the mood today” …(whatever that “mood” may be).
Sometimes, we just have to get the job done. We must move our feet in spite of a lack of motivation. We must practice discipline when inspiration fails. Your feelings will instruct you otherwise. “You can take a break today. It’s okay, just do it tomorrow.” Here, we cannot listen to our feelings; they will fail us. That conversation must be backstopped by discipline.
If you’ve seen the movie Dune, there is a scene where Paul and Gurney are training together. Paul comments that he’s “not in the mood” to train on that particular day. Gurney simply (and aggressively) responds, “What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting.” He then proceeds to fight with Paul anyway.
To our readers in the military (appreciate, respect, and love you all very much), this is directly applicable to you in this scenario. To our readers sitting at their desk this morning starting to face the day, the reference is indirectly applicable.
Our warriors do not get to choose when to fight; they must fight when asked, regardless of their mood. You do not get to ask the enemy to wait until you “feel” like it.
Athletes do not get to choose when the game starts. They must simply lace up their shoes, screw their head on tight, and go to work.
Corporate professionals don’t always choose client deadlines. Mothers and fathers don’t get “days off” from parenting when they do not feel well; children depend on them. Our healthcare workers went to work everyday during a pandemic — we’re sure if you asked them if they felt like it every time they stepped into the hospital the answer would be a resounding no.
We’re not commenting on the (very real) necessity to take breaks, rest, recover, and reorganize. Simply, you will not always feel like doing what you know to be necessary in the moment. Life will not always wait for you to feel 100%.
This is physical and emotional resilience. We must face challenges, even when we don’t feel like it. This takes discipline and practice, especially during times of peace. Your challenges may be primarily physical or emotional; it counts all the same.
We must practice to face challenges we have yet to see in order to prevail by means of discipline, regardless of our mood.
After all, “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” – Chinese Proverb