Feelings get a lot of attention in the modern world, and that’s great! We’re emotional beings, like it or not, and our feelings help color our lives. But it’s easy to give them far too much credit—to assume that feelings reflect reality, for instance, or to let them determine how we spend our time.
Take work, for instance. It’s tempting to let our feelings dictate when we do our most important (and most difficult) work. Faced with an imposing task, we ask ourselves, “Do I feel like working on this?”
This is the wrong question. We’ll almost never feel like writing our dissertation, hand-digging a trench, or working through a calculus problem set. If we wait for inspiration, the work simply won’t get done.
But if we start anyway, our feelings will usually come along for the ride. Start the work, and motivation will follow.