“People don’t care how you feel. They care how you act.”
I’ve heard those words said and seen them written by Andy Andrews many times. The first time I heard them, I thought the idea didn’t seem quite right. Feelings are important, right? That’s not the part the bothered me. I’d always thought of ‘acting’ as a fake pursuit. If you’re acting, then you’re not being who you are supposed to be.
What turned the concept on its head was after Timothy was born. Sometimes I would get frustrated when I was trying to put him to bed and he just wouldn’t fall asleep. Most of the time, he would just lay there in my arms staring up at me. Other times he would be fussy.
It occurred to me that he could tell when I was frustrated. He would wake more and fidget a lot. The truth is, he doesn’t care how I feel. He only cares how I act. When I act frustrated, my pulse quickens, my arms tense, my rocking is more severe and less serene. No wonder it wakes him up!
When I act calm and focus on keeping my body relaxed, he sometimes falls asleep within a couple of minutes.
Translate this into your life today. When you interact with people, you are constantly giving reasons to either interact with you more or less in the future. People see how you react to situations. How you react might be the difference between getting hired and not gettting the job. It might be the difference between being asked to join a committee where you’d shine or not being asked at all. It might even determine your relationships with friends and families.
Today, focus on your reactions. Make them positive — even in negative situations. See what happens. It might make you feel better.
For a really good explanation of the concept, read this blog post, “Controlling the Cookie Flow,” by Andy Andrews.