Do feelings really matter? (In terms of success)

You’re probably not going to like this one.  It’s OK.  It’s to be expected.  Nobody likes to hear that something that they thought was important really isn’t.  I understand if you want to reject this.  I understand if you ignore it.  I understand if you hate me a little bit for saying it.

Go ahead.  Hate me.  Get mad.  Get really angry.  Start yelling at your computer about how dumb I am for even suggesting that feelings aren’t really all that important.  Go ahead.  Do it.  Hate me with every fiber of your being.  Let yourself just seethe with resentment.

See for yourself how much of a difference it makes.

Or, love me, if you’d rather.  Fall down on your knees and weep at my wisdom and the beauty of my words.  What?  You don’t want to?  How shocking!

You could laugh at me.  It’s probably appropriate.  I’m pretty ridiculous.  I find that silliness is a really great teaching tool.  If you haven’t laughed at anything I’ve said yet, consider the possibility that I might be writing this while naked.  Do you really know that I’m not?  If I am, what difference does it make?  The words are the same.  The ideas are the same.  Are you offended by the idea of me writing this naked?  Or, are you amused?  Does it really make much difference?  Does your offense or amusement change whether this was written while I was naked or not?

It’s really all the same isn’t it?  What does it matter how you feel about what I’m saying?  Does it change that I’m saying it?  Does it have any impact on anything in the external world?  Does it change whether what I’m saying is true or not?

The only thing it changes is how receptive you are to the message.  In that regard, I recommend gratitude and respect or, at least, a playful curiosity.  If what I’m saying is true, it’s a good thing to have that attitude.  It’s a good idea to appreciate the efforts that people make to help you.  It makes it easier for them to do so.  It makes it easier for you to be helped.

But, that difference is internal and not external.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you love me, trust me, revile me or mock me.  If I’m right, I’m right.  If the principles I’m talking about are true, there is value to you in listening and paying attention.  You can ignore that value if you want; though, I’d prefer it if you didn’t.  But, does it matter what I’d prefer?  How much impact does that preference really have on you?

I talked yesterday about how it doesn’t really matter if you believe you can succeed or not, so long as you act as if you believe, so long as you operate from the assumption that the result you want is possible.  This is just an extension of that idea.

It doesn’t matter, objectively, whether you believe in a thing.  If it’s true, it’s true and your belief has no impact on that.  If a thing is possible, it’s possible.  Accept it or deny it, it’s up to you.  You can doubt a principle and still benefit from it, so long as you act in accordance with it.  You can wholeheartedly believe a falsehood and you won’t benefit from it.  Give it a try, imagine for a moment that you believe that the earth is flat.  Imagine that you believe it with all your heart.  What difference does that make to anyone else?  Does it change that there are planes that circle the world all the time?  Does it change the satellites in orbit?

Does it really matter if you have a crazy belief?  Does it change reality in any way?  Sure, it changes how you respond to reality; but, that’s where it’s power ends.  And, feelings and beliefs only have that power if you act like they have it.

You can think I’m crazy.  Go ahead and think that.  You’re not wrong.  I’m nutty as a fruitcake.  Probably nuttier.  I’m nutty as a jar of peanut butter.  I’m nuttier than this link. (Don’t click the link if you know what’s good for you.)

You did it, didn’t you?  You clicked the link.  Now you know how nutty I am and won’t be able to take me seriously.  Darn.  And here I wanted you to take me seriously.  It’s important that people take teachers seriously, right?  Or is it just that it’s important to pay attention and carefully consider what they’re trying to teach?  Could it be that seriousness doesn’t really matter?  What if it only seemed like seriousness matters?  What if silliness can do the same job just as well or even better?

What if you’re learning just as well or better while I’m goofing off and we’re both having more fun this way?

Still, I do recommend that you act on the assumption that what I’m saying has value.  I recommend that you look for value instead of looking for reasons to mock me.  If value is there and you’re busy mocking me or hating me, you’re not likely to spot it.  Go ahead and mock me afterwards if it makes you feel better.  Or, you know what?, just pause for a minute to laugh at how ridiculous I am and then come back.  It doesn’t make any difference to me.

I’d like it if you trust me; but, I recognize that trust has to be earned.  Still, if you act as if you trust me, you’re much more likely to see the value in what I’m saying.  It’s just fine with me if you pretend you trust me until I’ve earned it.  You can act like you trust me, and still think that I’m a lunatic.  It’s OK.  In fact, it’s more than OK.  That would be fantastic.

And, emotion does have value, there are good reasons that I try to make people laugh while discussing uncomfortable things.  “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.”  And, strong emotion imprints things in the memory more strongly.  If you’re laughing at this article, you’re way more likely to remember it and gain the benefits that come from considering these ideas.  (And, of course, more likely to come back and read the next article and tell your friends about me so that I can build my practice and have a successful business.  Hint, hint.)

Still, in terms of success, emotion has very little real impact.  It’s impact is on our actions, our choices; but, regardless of emotion, you can make choices that serve your goals and take you forward in life.

It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling worried, are you acting worried?  Are you letting your fear control you or do you just notice it in a detached way?  Do you think your fear matters or not?  To assume that fear doesn’t matter and act as if it doesn’t matter is to make it not matter.  If you treat it as unimportant, it becomes unimportant to you.  And, isn’t that an important thing to know?

It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling confident, are you acting confident?  It doesn’t matter if you want to work, are you working?  If you’re working, you’re making progress towards something.  Emotion has nothing to do with it.  Sure, you can let emotion drive your decisions; and, there are emotions that can serve you well; but, if you’re just not feeling it, it doesn’t really matter unless you let it matter.  You can not be feeling confident and be learning and growing.  Confidence is great; but, it’s not half as important as acting confident.

And, so what if you don’t really respect someone?  Can you act as if you do?  Can you pretend?  Or, did you somehow forget how to pretend things?  And, if you pretend you respect someone, it still makes your interactions with them more likely to go smoothly.  If you pretend you respect me and quietly ridicule me behind my back, you can still learn from me.(Although, perhaps, not as much as if you were to feel genuine respect for me.)

You can think I’m crazy all you want; but, the real question is are you acting as if I’m crazy?  Are you still reading?  If you really think I’m crazy, why are you still reading?

Are you considering what I’m saying?

Don’t do that!  I’m a nutjob!

Save yourself!  Run away!  Ignore me if you know what’s good for you.

What?  You’re still here?  Are you learning something of value?  Or, perhaps, having something of value that you’ve already learned reinforced in a novel way?  Well, I guess there’s no hope for you… You’ve been sucked into my crazy.  It’s alright.  It’s a fun kind of crazy.  You’ll enjoy it here.