Sometimes you just don’t want to go to the store. Sometimes you just can’t stand it when your co-worker makes a particular comment. Sometimes you’re a little more emotional, a little more reflective, or a little less patient. Sometimes you’re just not the you you portray yourself to be.
Moods are like that.
Too bad life doesn’t wait for us to get our analytical sea legs before every important decision. Then again, think how boring life would be!
In their book, Switch, The Heath Brothers explain that most people assume that the sequence of decision making is: ANALYZE - THINK - DECIDE, but in reality it’s: SEE - FEEL - DECIDE.
Or in fictional character terms:
We’re more Hulk (emotion) than Spock (logic) than we'd like to admit.
So since we can’t control what we see, the only thing we can try to control is how we might feel after seeing whatever we just saw.
Knowing that my emotions are a complex, ever-changing, always connected creature, I do my best to never make important decisions, drunk, tired, or hungry. There’s nothing wrong with being any of those three - they are a part of life - I just know that if I’m about to make snap decision in one of those states, I try to ask myself, how will I feel when sanity returns; when I’m sober, rested, or well-fed.
If I feel myself wanting to gossip about a colleague to a different colleague, I know that it might be the alcohol talking. If I feel myself getting short with someone, it’s probably because I haven’t had a burrito in over an hour. If I’m annoyed at the people in the subway on the way to work, it’s probably because I didn’t sleep as long as I should have, not because they are doing anything out of the ordinary.
Sure, I feel a certain way but I can have the wherewithal to take a step back and figure out why I feel that way.
Was that person really being unreasonable or did I just not have breakfast? Was the Subway actually late or did I wake up late?
Just because you're in a bad mood, doesn't mean you're right.
Don't let a bad mood be your reason for shedding accountability for your actions. We're always responsible for what we decide even when The Hulk is flexing his muscles in our brain.
We can’t pretend that emotions don’t drive what we do, but we can do our best to understand the factors that have the biggest affect on our moods and do our best to stop the runaway freight train frustration.
What are the factors that make you not you?