Workout of the Day

When Feelings (Don't) Get the Prize


In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s famous novel, The Brothers Karamozov, a religious elder, Father Zosima, advises a character struggling with faith to operate with “active and indefatigable love of your neighbor” as a means for coming to belief. His message, boiled down, was to “fake it ‘til you make it.” The character knew she wanted to work towards belief, but was stuck in a place of doubt; Father Zosima assures this character that by acting according to the principles of a believer, she will come to believe.

Let’s take this idea of “faking it until you make it” outside of the context in which it appears in Brothers Karamozov and view it as it applies to action and choice in general.

Feeling can be a powerful motivator or demotivator. Often, feeling is at the heart of inaction. We may feel scared, unsure, or uninspired, and we have been told or have convinced ourselves somewhere along the way that we shouldn’t act unless that action is backed by, and not at all resisted by, how we feel. We feel that we shouldn’t have to do the laundry because we really don’t want to, or that not feeling motivated or “into it” is a valid and sufficient reason to put off going to the gym to get your training, or looking for a new job, or starting on that project.

This way of operating takes power away from motion and places all power in emotion (where motion is action and emotion is feeling). The results of this approach speak for themselves. We are a population whose majority operates on the premise that we should only do what we want to do, and simultaneously a population largely composed of inactive and unmotivated people. When feelings (emotion) take primacy over action (motion), we are left operating from a framework in which we always avoid the hard thing. It should be evident that this is not the means to a productive and fruitful path.

Going back to our character in The Brothers Karamozov who struggled with her emotion, if we apply the idea of faking it until you make it, we will find ourselves moving down one of two paths. On the one hand, we may fake it (by deciding to take engage in motion, even in the face of contrary emotion) and, with time, learn to love and embrace the “it.” (This, I have observed, is a common outcome.) Or, we may fake it and never quite come to have our emotions catch up to our motion, but nonetheless reap the rewards of action. While the first option is of course preferred, the second option still leaves us stepping in the right direction.

Our emotions are of course important, but to give them compete and total control over our motion is to hand the reins over to a power that has proved itself a hefty adversary to action. Struggling to feel it? Try action for a while, see what happens.

- PS


  • Power clean - 1,1,1,1,1


  • 15 min AMRAP

    • 2 cal row

    • 2 power clean (50% PC 1rm)

    • 4 cal row

    • 4 power clean

    • 6 cal row

    • 6 power clean

    • 8 cal row

    • etc.