As we've learned, every emotion transmits a message. But messages and meaning aren't the only things underneath our emotions. Every feeling also supplies energy. It's fair to say that emotion is energy.
Within every feeling is a message backed by a supply of energy to do something about that message. The energy is raw fuel. Emotion attempts to direct that energy into action for that emotion's purpose.
Fear wants to use our energy to hide, protect, or defend.
Excitement wants to use our energy to express, engage, or celebrate.
Anger wants to use our energy to attack, dominate, or destroy.
An emotion asserts a message and injects energy that promotes a particular action. The energy itself is indifferent. Again, energy is just fuel to do . . . anything.
It's like your body is a car, energy is gas, and emotion tries to control the GPS and sit in the driver's seat. But emotions don't do well in the driver's seat. They belong in the passenger seat, back seat, and sometimes in the trunk. You belong in the driver's seat.
We can bypass an emotional feeling, along with the message it's sending, and instead choose to use that energy for another action we choose. We are not bound to obey the message in our emotions. Where is the law saying that our feelings must dictate where and how we use our energy?
When you feel an emotional pull, the less important question is, "What should I do, given how I feel?" The more important question is, "What will I choose to do with this energy? And why?"
Most people only engage in disciplined and purposeful action when they feel like it. They wait to feel motivated. The quality of their activity depends on how they feel, so their discipline fluctuates with the emotions of the moment. It's a fragile and ineffective way to approach life.
Our perspective needs to be different. We will not wait to feel a particular way before we act with discipline. Instead, we use the energy underneath our existing emotion -- any emotion -- to engage in disciplined and purposeful action.
Commit to this perspective. Once you learn to bypass emotions that don't serve you by utilizing their energy for a different, more disciplined action, you will discover what few understand, do what few are willing to, achieve what few believe is possible, and live like others envy.
The time is now. Do the work.
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Brian Kight is a multi-industry leader on the topics of leadership, culture, and behavior. He provides simple systems that produce exceptional results for organizations, teams, and people.