There’s no excuse for getting all angst ridden over the day’s headlines before first accomplishing something meaningful. 

And there’s no excuse for partaking in America’s new national pastime –scratching the outrage itch– without first empowering yourself through personal performance. Fulfillment before fury!

Why? Because we live in a world that encourages us to agree with ourselves every chance we get. Because the strength we get from knowing that we put ourselves first has the power to declutter our thinking and make us feel as though we’ve earned something.

Examine the back end of any hard, successful day and track how much your sense of completion downgraded your anxiety. By comparison, how does a morning of social media feel, or reading articles from your preferred news outlets?

People out there are short-circuiting like bad toasters, so much so that we’re hearing about things like “headline stress disorder” and companies having to navigate the productivity impact of employees’ sociopolitical anxieties. From now on, for me, it’s got to be fulfillment before fury.

We may roll our eyes at a coworker or friend complaining about how sore they are from a good workout, but we do so out of grudging respect (skeezy gym rats excluded). They’ve managed to get over themselves enough to do something, and we get that. They struggle to put themselves ahead of ramped up national fear and loathing same as us, but they’ve changed their brain chemistry and given themselves an edge.

This example helped me realize that, if I must veer off course into anxiety porn, I’ll need to accomplish a sizable daily goal (or a number of smaller ones) first. Hanging out on Argument Street will have to be a reward, ’cause it eats up time the same way any other unproductive distraction can. Worse, maybe, the Internet has a way of convincing us it’s offering support when really it’s just a drinking buddy.

When I do manage to keep myself in check, engaging with the day’s news or headlines feels less like a last laugh that my esteem depends on and more like I’m demonstrating some emotional intelligence. Fulfillment before fury puts me in a better position to see the difference between staying informed and aggrandizing my misery, which is what happens when we empower dread and fear with inaction.

Once I’m operating in a deserving headspace, I pick smarter battles, improve my comebacks and zingers, and offer a better debate. I also walk away feeling clean, grateful even, rather than like the world is going to end. If you have a hard decision to make, sometimes it’s helpful to sleep on it, right? Same thing here, just no pillows.

Facebook is fun because it allows me to antagonize my cousins and brothers. Fulfillment before fury keeps me from bellyaching about deactivating my social media accounts and crying that I just can’t take it anymore. To those whiners I say, shut it! Work out really hard before you check your profile. Pick up that To-Do list and knock some stuff off before you marinate in the many negative what ifs. Push yourself before you try to tackle the world’s problems, make something great again, or have a roll in the dirt.

No matter what you choose, you’ll be doing it with an edge. You’ll be winning. You’ll be pushing yourself toward the light. And you’ll be setting an example for those around you.

Doubtful? Rolling your eyes?

That’s fine. But this is where excuses go to die.