Transcending the Usual Limits of Our Performance
How many times a day do your feelings, your thoughts or your body sensations determine what you do even if you have given your word to something else? Even something as small as having a piece of chocolate, despite having said you’re on a particular diet? Or instead of going to the gym, you snooze your alarm and snuggle in bed? If you are like most of us, it is probably quite often. When you break down a typical day, we mostly make decisions to act based on our feelings, our thoughts or our body sensations.
Billions of neurons firing based on the movements of sodium, potassium, and calcium in the brain are not a sound basis for determining your day. But we really live like what we feel is who we are. And perhaps our performance at work and in life would be more powerful if we acted based on what we have said instead.
We understand that keeping your word is not easy. But it can be easier if you recognize that your actions don’t have to be based on what you are feeling. Take any high performing athlete, actor, or musician as an example. They will tell you that there were times they did not feel like practicing, and they did it anyway.
The Pivot Point of Keeping Your Word
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led an expedition to the South Pole that was successful in large part because they marched 20 miles every day, regardless of what they felt like. THE discipline included walking these 20 miles every day, not going more and not going less – regardless of what they felt like.
This is not to discount what we feel. Our thoughts, our feelings and our body sensations are useful indicators of what is going on with us and in the world around us…they are all valid. The point is not to try to stop having them. The point is to recognize them as factors of life as a human being. And then remember our performance goals, promises, and intentions and take action anyway. We are not talking about ignoring your impulses, rather we are proposing a closer look at what is driving your thinking and action.
Although you’ve got nothing to do with what’s going on with you internally, it is often running the show. What if we took action based on something distinct from this internal state?
We have a choice about where we act from. What will you choose today?