How To Work Beyond Your Emotions

Paul Keefer

Apr 1, 2020

“You won't get much done in life if you only work on the days you feel good.” ~Jerry West

It is an arduous process to navigate through the high and low experiences that life gives us. Our emotions are often like wild animals, leaping out in anger or happiness without cause. They do not have a reason for their behavior, they simply act as their nature tells them. Emotions grasp the soul in an uncanny manner, as they can change the course of a person’s life in an instant. Sometimes, they are controllable. Or in the very least they can be predictable, as the great achievements in our career bring us joy and the break ups cause a shore of sadness. On the other hand, we do not know what life will bring. Nothing is certain, and we cannot change the outcome of the events around us.

Our external surroundings are unpredictable, which is a frustrating reality. However, this can bring us an unique comfort. Since there is certainty that we cannot control our circumstances, we can be certain that we can control ourselves. We can decide how to act, or perhaps more importantly, how to respond. Our responses help shape our lives because they are connected to our choices. They slowly transform our brain’s patterns into our identity. The consistency of our behavior will form habits, and in this there is either hope for commitment or failure in habitual misbehavior. In other words, what we decide to do shapes us into who we are.

The reason I say all of this is because it is important to note that in developing our best selves we must be careful to choose how we will become ourselves. Each moment of our existence we make choices. While imperfection is inevitable, a critical truth remains that we must make thoughtful decisions to work towards improvement. Remember that we cannot control what is around us, but we can absolutely control who we decide to be. Our choices and commitments can remain the same despite the changes around us. In this there is great power, as our lives can transcend from being led by circumstances to becoming a leader of your own future. Your leadership can triumphantly take your life into its best direction. You have the ability to take control.

Perhaps you are wondering how all of this relates to a quote from a famous basketball player. My answer: everything. If we only work at our life’s goals in light of our daily feelings, we will fail. The majority of the time we attempt at completing an achievement will fall miserably short of success because we relied on our emotions, not our choices, to guide us. Our emotions are important, but they do not decide who we are and what we desire to do with our lives. A decision is most powerfully executed when it is done in spite of how our emotions are affecting us. When these decisions are made, they bring more than achievements. They bring commitment. A lifetime of decisions will culminate into an identity of loyalty. For when you think of the most committed people you know, one of the most consistent traits you will find is that they remained loyal despite their circumstances. In the days of hardship, loyal people stay true to their word. They continue making the same decisions to reach their goal, even if they were feeling down or had lost the excitement of their vision. They committed to their decisions even when their feelings didn’t match up.

My thought is for you to see that the incredible vision of your life is only a few choices away. With decisions full of determination and discipline, you can become all that you were meant to be. A life of commitment is possible for each one of us because it is something we decide, not something we are granted. Take control of your commitments and work at what you want - even on the days your emotions don’t line up. If you fight through the instability of your feelings and focus deeply on your goals, you will find success on the other side.