As we enter February, the month of the year most strongly associated with love and emotion, I am reminded one of the best pieces of advice one of my mentors ever gave me. "Never let your emotions override your intellect."
The average person allows their negative feelings to dictate what they will and won't do rather than purposefully directing their actions in order to experience their ideal feelings.
Sha’ka Love, one of my childhood friends, recently posted on Facebook; “Logic is a foreign language to those who only communicate in emotion.”
We tend to ignore what we know is best for ourselves and do what feels good at the moment. We allow moments of anger, sadness, fear, guilt, pride, lust, greed, jealousy, or laziness to destroy years of progress or relationships or potential.
Those of you paying attention will recognize those emotions as the notorious Seven Deadly Sins plus two additional ones.
They're labeled deadly because they kill opportunities. They kill relationships. They kill progress.
And while each of these emotional “sins” are detrimental to one’s success, fear, is without question the worst one because it will override your confidence and overrule your intelligence.
You know what you have to do to achieve the goals that you set for yourself but you fear how others will perceive you and what they'll say about you. You fear the changes you'll have to make in your lifestyle. You fear the possibility of failure.
In the film After Earth, Will Smith’s character delivers the following warning about fear to his (both onscreen and real life) son:
The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real - but fear is a choice."
What that discourse illustrates is the power of emotionalizing. That is the act of imagining how it will feel when you achieve, or don’t achieve your goal.
For most people, fear is an emotion that motivates them to create and achieve goals so insignificant they are practically subconscious. The fear of getting fired, or being homeless is exactly what keeps them diligently showing up to an unsatisfying job where they perform just well enough not to get fired. Paying bills, rent, and putting food on the table - just surviving - becomes the goal.
Emotionalizing what not surviving feels like is what keeps them going. Emotionalizing what it feels like to fail is what keeps most people from ever trying anything new or taking any risks. Whether it be new foods or new careers. We turn up our noses and scowl our faces at the mere thought of trying foods that are un-tasted but different. They could be disgusting! But they also could be delicious!
What if you focused the power of emotionalizing not on fear, but on something good like achievements and successes?
How much more would you accomplish if you emotionalized pride? How much bigger and significant would the goals you set be? Chances are they would be better than average.
To win in life you must be better than the average person who is always "in their feelings" or "feeling some type of way about something" or allowing someone to "make them mad or sad" or the worst, the person who constantly plays the victim and is always" getting their feelings hurt".
If your feelings are repeatedly getting hurt then you don't have them under control.
They are your feelings! You cannot let your unsubstantiated fears override your desire for what you know is best for you and your family. You must take some responsibility for your life and make some fundamental lifestyle changes that put you in control of your life and your feelings.
Winners perform at their best regardless of how they feel emotionally and even often physically.
The average person will use their negative feelings as an excuse as you why they can't perform, let alone win.
There is no celebration "in your feelings". There are no rewards for being sad, mad, tired, or feeling any type of way.
If you insist on being an emotion driven person, the least you can do for yourself is purposefully choose the emotions which you want to feel.
Be better than average.
I am a simple man who has lived a complicated life. The lessons I've learned from the experiences I've been through and the challenges I've conquered have helped me develop a philosophy that life is meant to be lived at a level better than average.