Reality Check: Getting in the Mood

Are we prisoners of our moods?
Some days we feel great from the moment we wake up; others not so much. Why? We could blame the weather. Maybe it’s that incomprehensible jumble of hormones inside our bodies. Or it could be after-effects of last night’s pizza!
Events can also have an influence. Compare a day when there’s no line at the coffee counter and you have a pleasant conversation versus another day when your new shoes get splashed and somebody scowls at you.
Seth Godin, author and marketing expert, wrote, “What to do when it’s your turn” which he subtitled: “and it’s always your turn.” He encourages us to persist, to act on opportunities, and not be put off by mistakes or failures.
Many of us see opportunities to do something worthwhile. Maybe it’s at work, in the community, or in a significant relationship. Perhaps you see an opportunity to improve your health, your knowledge, or your resilience.
It’s just that right now, you’re not in the mood to get started. How do you get through that reluctance?
You’ve probably had an experience where a brief interaction—maybe it was as simple as an encouraging comment—turned your unmotivated mood into an eager one. (Of course, the opposite can also happen.) You didn’t cause the action; it just happened. And it made a difference for you.
However, we both know that depending on other people to lift our moods is not a very reliable proposition!
Godin makes the point that if small actions by others can influence us toward a better mood, then why would we not do those things for ourselves? If someone else can turn our bad mood into a good one with a small pleasant interaction, why not initiate that ourselves?
We pretty much know what it takes to change our moods. Maybe more importantly, we know what it takes to help someone else improve their mood.
While we can’t make someone adopt a better mood, we can help. We can encourage. We can cheer.
Godin says, “The people who need you need you to fix their mood, even when you don’t feel like it. And we need you to learn to fix your own mood…”
Now you might be asking, “What’s in it for me? Why should I try to spread cheer to somebody else?”
Let’s see. How’s your life when you are around happy, motivated people? How’s your life around grumpy, complaining people? There’s your answer. It’s easier to be satisfied and motivated yourself when you are around other satisfied and motivated people.
You could say that this is all about you (if you want to look at it that way.) Your actions to help improve someone else’s mood benefit you, as well as the other person. Consistent with Dr. Glasser’s assertions that by taking action we can change our thoughts and feelings, Godin says, “Do what you should do. Your mood will follow.”
While Godin’s language and approach is a little bossier than I like, his message—we have the power to lift ourselves out of lousy moods, and to help others do the same—is a useful one. We can do it, if we choose to do so.
How’s your mood?

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