Avoiding action in all the wrong places

Image: Muye Ma

When do I usually want to take action? Yep… When I’m disappointed, fired-up, mad as hell, and ready to throw down.

It seems like a wonderful idea… The heart is pumping. The fists are clenched. I’mma DO something!

Sometimes this works out. But more often than not, it just sends me down a rabbit hole in the wrong direction that I eventually have to take the time to crawl out of when my peace of mind returns.

It’s true. Heightened emotions spur action. There’s not many better ways to motivate hornets into action than to kick their nest.

But we’re humans. We have the option to act contrary to instinct. Here’s the approach that’s worked best for me.

The first step is to notice when the blood starts to boil. Awareness is essential.

Next step — walk into your safe room. Maybe it’s the big marshmallowey couch in your living room. Maybe it’s your meditation cushion. Maybe it’s the gym. Whatever you do, as much as your ego wants you to — don’t act. Don’t create. Unless your life or that of a loved one is in danger, don’t do it. Not now.

You’ll feel like you’re wasting time. Like you need to get this thing done and handled. But in actuality, by holding off, you’ll be saving yourself a ton of time in putting out fires you’re about to start.

The ego is fast. It speaks first and it speaks loudest. It sees this glimpse of discomfort (totally generated by thought) as a physical threat to its existence and it urges us to do a lot of stupid shit.

Lash out.
Call them.
Get your phone and check Instagram.
Text your ex.
Or worse…

Instead, settle into it. Feel what you’re feeling and be okay with allowing yourself to do so (remember, it’s just thought).

Louis CK absolutely NAILS it here…


Like he said, we’re really bad at letting ourselves feel stuff. But when we do, after some minimal initial discomfort, the nature of the mind is such that, eventually, our innate mental wellbeing re-emerges.

The interesting thing about when it does is — you won’t feel the knee-jerk reaction to do anything stupid.

Reacting and creating are two totally different things.

Because you’ll be in the moment again. And when you’re in the moment, all’s well.

However, I encourage you to take heed and revisit the situation from this higher place. If you can leave the guy, create the work, call the landlord, etc. from this place and still maintain this deeper feeling state, I think you’ll find that the results will be much more favorable.

But if not, you’ll need to ask yourself if it’s even worth it. Usually, it’s not. From this higher place, new creative options are ripe to emerge that might take things in a whole new direction.

It’s the age-old concept of writing that angry letter but not sending it. Yet.

Release your grip from it. Let yourself float. And move on from that elevated position where the view is much better.

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