Oftentimes, we let relatively minor circumstances, like being a little tired or feeling like watching videos, get in the way of keeping our commitments to ourselves, i.e. doing the right thing.
This is how people become victims of life: doing the right things only when we feel good or when conditions are perfect…
Feel Good ➜ Do Right
To act purposefully, to live more into our potential, we must flip the above equation, and understand that if we act rightly, we end up feeling good.
This is about exercising your free will, practicing an internal locus of motivation, thus becoming stronger in your ability to do rightly. The better equation is:
Do Right ➜ Feel Good
That good feeling — the healthy pride or sense of achievement — is evidence that you are living purposefully, that you are growing.
So, instead of:
“Do what feels good in the moment!”… I encourage you to:
“Do the right thing in every moment.”
Of course, let’s not blame ourselves for not being perfect. We can and will mess up, probably often, and it’s really ok. However, never give up. See it as a worthwhile ongoing lifetime practice. Just keep coming back and trying it again, and again. Over time, you will become increasingly more capable and confident.
Otherwise, it can become a vicious spiral into hell:
I don’t feel good…
➜ so I’m not going to do right…
➜ then I feel guilty…
➜ (and perhaps suffer some real-world consequences)…
➜ so I escape/drown the bad feeling with addictions such as junk food, drugs, porn, or simply: social media.
Break the cycle.
Here’s a tool that can help:
Think Good ➜ (Feel a little better) ➜ Do Right ➜ Feel Good
Whenever it feels challenging to do the right thing (i.e. when conditions are poor for doing your work), consciously use your mind & heart just for a minute to feel a little bit better… and then move immediately into doing the right thing… at least try to.
I use my energy reboot which takes me only 30 seconds, and then move immediately into doing what I had planned.
If I’m still feeling badly, I’ll use the WARM your feelings exercise.
Use your mind and heart consciously, and you’ll feel a little bit better. Then move into doing the right thing right away. Do not hesitate.
The true feel-good comes after doing the right thing.Occasionally you may really need a break (like when you’re ill).
It is an art to know the difference: only you know for sure whether you genuinely need a break, or if you’re slacking off.
Do your best to remember the equation (Do Right ➜ Feel Good) and push through — in an uplifting, not punishing way — when you are tempted to slack.
Also remember: be lenient with the results. It truly is fine to show up and do the right thing even if you do it poorly.
You might be surprised (or not!) to know that I never feel like writing my blog posts or making my videos.
Especially this video...
Conditions were sub-optimal — I was dealing with seasonal allergies; I forgot my selfie stick (I was still using it at the time) so I had to hold the camera with my arm; I was at a park I rarely visit so I wasn’t sure what my dog would do; and to top it off, I wasn’t sure what I was going to say!
Yet, because I have a rhythm of content that I’m dedicated to following, I made the video anyway. It was the right thing to do.
Through this practice, again and again, I’ve learned that no matter what, if I show up, it always will turn out fine.
By doing the right thing, even if you don’t do it well, you will inevitably increase your skill and confidence.
Give into your higher impulse in the moment to move yourself — literally, it may require moving your body off the floor — out of your slump, and do something useful. Do the right thing. Every time you do it, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and be a bit stronger the next time you’re in a slump.
If you always wait until you feel good and ready, and conditions are optimal, before doing your work, you will rarely do it.
Don’t delay the building and nurturing of your audience. Great content comes from publishing often, to see what works and what to improve on.
Free yourself from the pressure to be perfect, and simply take action.
Even imperfect action, taken over and over again, creates a momentum that sustains itself over time.
It’s OK to occasionally slip, but as with most things, the sooner you get back at it, the better.
\This practice of DO RIGHT ➜ FEEL GOOD, will allow you to excel in both your work and life. Over time, you’ll live more and more into an authentic success.
(This post was originally written 2017, updated for 2020.)
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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