What do you do when you don’t want to do something?

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We’ve all got things in our lives we don’t want to do. We usually do them anyway, because they have to be done. But some things are particularly unpleasant and we procrastinate or look for excuses to get out of doing them.

Have you ever had to make a phone call about an especially difficult subject, or to a person you really don’t want to speak to? Sometimes, you rip the bandage off and make the call. Sometimes, you keep avoiding it, dreading it and worrying about it until you have to do anyway.

You hear that “old school” voice in your head. It says, “Quit stalling. Stop whining, you have to do it so man up and make the call. Get it over with. It probably won’t be as bad as you think.”

Sound familiar?

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain,” said Mark Twain. Do the thing you don’t want to do and you’ll feel better once you do.

And that voice is right. Perfectly logical, dammit. So, you make the call. Before you know it, it’s done and, guess what? It wasn’t as bad as you thought. All that worry for naught.

But there’s another school of thought. “New school,” or “new age”. This school says that instead of doing the thing you don’t want to do and then feeling better, feel better first.

Feel better before you act. If nothing else, you’ll be less fearful or stressed out about what you have to do.

Something else happens when you go for the feeling first. You often find yourself doing things that make a better outcome more likely.

In the case of the phone call, your better feelings may cause you to greet the other person with a different tone or phrase your request in more agreeable terms. You may think of additional points to make in your favor.

Which way is better? They both work, of course. In the end, most things turn out okay. But if you usually worry and avoid doing things you don’t want to do and then do them anyway, you might want to try it the other way and spare yourself all that suffering.

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