Feelings are important to our experience of living as human beings. It is said that all mammals have some feelings; however, as human beings we have the widest range of feelings. Beyond the basic triad of pain, pleasure and numb, we have a lot of nuances to describe how we feel at any given moment — about everything we experience.
When it comes to making decisions, even the most rational, seemingly emotionless decision-makers are, unbeknownst to them, influenced by their feelings — even if they are not consciously aware of them. Even no feeling is a feeling.
Because of past things that have happened to us (both real and imagined) we tend to have conflicting emotions, as well as stacks of misplaced emotions, that get projected onto items, areas, subjects and people that they do not belong to.
If we make decisions based on how we feel, we will often get ourselves into trouble. On the other hand if we ignore how we feel, and make decisions that are based on the ultimate rational logic, we will also get into trouble. So the optimum decision-making method is to balance both rational and emotional factors to arrive at the best outcome possible under the circumstances.
When it comes to working towards a goal or intended outcome, we can be succeeding and making progress, and yet our emotions could be indicating that nothing is working and we are going to fail! The opposite is also true, where we are doing poorly and yet feel on top of the world. Most people would think this is not possible, and that surely when going up, one would feel up, and when going down, one would have that dreaded sinking feeling. For a variety of reasons, our emotions get mixed up and we feel the wrong thing at the wrong time. This leads us to make incorrect assessments and assumptions.
That sounds scary, so what do we do about it? The fastest, easiest and most reliable thing to do is to use statistics and measurements to track your progress. Then there is no emotion involved and it is simply a matter of “What does the stat show”? An analogy for this is when a pilot is flying a plane in bad weather when they cannot see the horizon. The pilot’s feelings and sense of direction can get so confused by the lack of visual stimuli, that up feels like down and down can feel like up… yikes! How does a pilot handle this phenomena? They fly by instruments. So, rather than relying on your feelings for your decision-making and assessment of how you are doing, look to your instruments — otherwise known as statistics.
Here are just some statistics that you could measure, record and plot on a graph to show progress and the trend over time (in no particular order):
- net worth
- bank balance
- body measurements
- mood level
- number of fights with people
- days without a fight
- number of magic moments
- blood pressure
- depressed days
- inspired days
- energy level
- total debt
- total assets
- days you exercise
- dates of sexual activity
- number of headaches
- dollars invested
This list is by no means exhaustive; there are many more items you could track statistics on. We recommend you make your own list and begin tracking stats!
BTW, some people will have feelings about stats and the accountability that comes with them. These feelings may get in the way of taking action…
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