I think I remember an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry says about something, "I'm not in the mood," and George replies, "Well, you better GET in the mood."
What is a mood? It's something like an emotional inclination, a sensed attraction or repulsion to some activity or thing. Moods come, and they go. And we normally don't think of them as something within our control. You're in a bad mood, or a good mood. It's almost like the weather, we think. It is what it is. And it will pass.
How often do moods determine what you do, or don't do? I suspect that mood plays more of a role in most of our lives than we acknowledge, on first consideration. And it's usually quite subtle. You don't feel like making the call, or writing up the report yet, so you don't. You feel like taking a break, or a walk, and so you do. "I'm not in the mood for any more of this right now" can indicate a lapse of patience, or perseverance, or tolerance, or even a loss of focus that could result from not enough sleep, or not enough breakfast, or too much of something else the night before.
"You're in a real mood today."
"I think I'm in the mood for pizza tonight," or "Mexican" or "Italian." And, here's something interesting: We hardly ever think or say, "I'm in the mood for working really hard today" even though we might be. And we never say, "I'm in the mood for striving consistently toward my goals for the next five months." Why not?
We normally think of moods as temporary, passing, or fickle, and goal oriented behavior as, by definition, rational, continuous, or, ideally, consistent. Moods are about what you feel like, now. Goals are about what you're committed to bring about, eventually.
I've come to think that it's fine to respond to many of our moods, in moderation. It can even be good, if the mood itself is. But life is all about the balance, the dance, the weave and integration of rational and non rational elements - what the Greeks called the Apollonian and the Dionysian (for Apollo, god of rationality and Dionysius, god of the emotional and sensual aspects of life). If we're, overall, goal oriented and have as goals valuable aims that we really believe in, then that will in itself be something of a mood governor.
The wise man or woman's moods can most often be indulged, because they're the result of a life well lived. But the long path to wisdom requires monitoring, and often overruling, the fleeting and often blind demands of mood. On that path, we train our emotions, and our moods, to work in concert with our rational purposes and goals, giving us both boosts and breaks when we need them, and moments of restoration when that's required. We're not to be machines in work or life. And our moods can express our humanity.
What are you in the mood for, today?