“Oh my god, Jesse! You are like corona-THRIVING! You look like a model, now you’re an author, and you’re killing it with your teaching!” The coordinator of the Honors Program (I teach both the first year and senior seminars) told me this on the phone! I blushed and giggled and realized she’s right! Strangely 2020 has coincided with the most positive and productive period of my whole life. At the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker, I’ll share some of the unconventional wisdoms I’ve learned. 

I posted to my blog about how we shouldn’t set goals because goals limit us—they give us an endpoint instead of setting us on a path of limitless growth. So, for example, instead of setting out on a path and saying “I want to lose 100 pounds” (and thus giving yourself an endpoint—after which what happens?! And even after you achieve it, the novelty will wear off at some point anyway), envision for yourself the FEELING that you want to achieve every day. 

So for me, it was “I want to FEEL the lightness and energy of eating well and moving a lot through the day. I want to FEEL like a dancer again.” Most recently, it was “I want to FEEL like a dance scholar by feeling accomplished after writing a journal or paragraph or an essay or an article.” “I want to stand at the front of my class and FEEL like a good teacher.” Chasing ephemeral feelings, not goals. They’re ephemeral and fleeting but they’re also easier to catch. And they can give you moments of joy and accomplishment every single day.

It is in FEELING ‘AS IF,’ that one BECOMES. What do you want to feel like today? 

As I write in my article “The Pedagogy of Performance,” performance is behavior in the subjunctive. It is in FEELING ‘AS IF,’ that one BECOMES. What do you want to feel like today?