At first, I didn’t think I agreed with that statement. Because research indicates that you can trick yourself into feeling something by imitating the associated action. Brain scientists have done the tests and found that even the act of pulling your facial muscles into a smile stimulate the emotion center of the brain and produce dopamine so you feel slightly happier. Imitate the action enough and you start WANTing to smile.
In NYC, we are confronted almost everyday by someone asking for something, a panhandler on the subway, a stranger who comes up to you and compliments you on your hair or your stylish coat and then asks you if you can spare some change from the cool pockets or the kids who ply the train routes parlaying their version of “Showtime” with the hip hop dances, and then ask you to give a donation because dancing in the train keeps them off the streets. And more often than not, you don’t feel like giving because you just gave to the person before them, but when you do, suddenly you start feeling generous. Giving makes you feel like giving more. Evidence that we can do first and then feel.
So we can trick ourselves into feeling happy. We can trick ourselves into feeling generous. So maybe we do first and then be?
But what about when we are not doing? is it because we are not feeling? Ergo, I don’t give because I don’t FEEL like giving? Or maybe I am not doing because I am not BEing.
It starts with a decision. Everything starts with a decision. And we all need a mission and a purpose. Who are you? Why do you exist? What is your plan for the day? The week? The year? Your life? What is your mission? And how will you accomplish that mission? How will you project your mission by the things you do?
Decide to be something and then do what accompanies that mission. Decide to be generous and then start giving. Decide to be an athlete and then think and eat and exercise like one. Decide to be a student and start taking entrance tests and applying for school. Decide to be an optimist and start thinking optimistic thoughts. Decide, then do.
Be first, then do. Got it!