Some days, you’re just not feeling it. It’s not that you’re exhausted, it’s that you’re not in the mood to do the important task that’s in front of you.
You want to just go to distractions all day long, do anything but this thing you’re resisting.
And sometimes, the answer is just rest.
Other times, it’s useful to find a way to do the work anyway, because if we only do our important work when we feel like it, we might not ever get it done.
It’s useful to learn to do it even when we’re not feeling it.
But how do we do that?
The Mistaken Belief
Most of us have an expectation that we should feel in the mood to do something. We should be excited, rested, focused. And when we do it, it should be easy, comfortable, fun, pleasurable. Something like that.
That results, predictably, in running from the things that feel hard, overwhelming, uncomfortable. It means that when we’re not feeling it, we are going to run to distractions and comforts. Nothing wrong with this, but it usually creates a life we’re not happy with.
When we do the thing we don’t want to do, it is often uncomfortable or difficult. We feel like we’re forcing ourselves to do something we really don’t want to do, which can feel coercive.
No wonder we avoid it! Who wants to feel coerced?
But that comes from our belief that we should only do things when we’re feeling in the mood, and that things should be easy, comfortable and fun. That means we can never do anything hard.
What if we could open to doing hard things, and maybe even love them?
Doing Hard Things When I’m Not Feeling It
Try to notice when you an expectation that you will be in the mood, or that the thing will be easy, fun, or comfortable. Just noticing the expectation allows you to choose.
Once you’re in a place where you can choose … you can decide that actually, it’s not just “fine” that you do things that are uncomfortable when you’re not in the mood … in fact, it’s an experience you choose to practice with.
You choose to open myself to this work.
You choose to move into something challenging, difficult, uncertain, uncomfortable. Just like you choose to do a workout or go for a run, even when they’re hard.
And further … you can actually love the experience. Sure, it might not seem like it … but can you love a child when they’re being difficult? You might not love the way they’re being, but you can love them. You can love any of your friends or family when they’re difficult — the way their being might not be your favourite, but you love them anyway.
And, you can see that some tasks are a brick in the larger building that you’re putting together. One brick at a time. You can wait to be happy when the building is done … or you can appreciate every single brick. I choose to appreciate the brick, and the laying of that brick.
Many of our most meaningful experiences are difficult. Running a marathon, building a business, giving birth to a child, creating anything important or meaningful. These are not easy experiences, and yet, they’re more meaningful because they’re not easy. Would we rob ourselves of these meaningful experiences by shying away from their difficulty?