The Feeler vs. Doer Distinction

by Ron Haynes

StargazingMost people don’t conduct their day rationally, instead they go about their day based on feelings. They live from feeling to feeling, like stepping on stones while trying to cross a river. The only question is, “Which stone is the closest to me now?” The end result is that they never really cross the stream, but they made a lot of effort! Doesn’t effort count for anything?

Though some people may disagree with me, the only thing that counts is producing desired results.

“People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those people who sit still and inquire , why wasn’t it done the other way?” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

Doers, on the other hand, do whatever needs to be done to reach a goal that they themselves have set. They focus with a laser like intensity on what they wish to achieve, map out a plan to get there, then continuously take the next step in their plan. They develop a budget and live within it. When they ask for a raise, they have a game plan for the YES and the NO.

Feelers, are constantly taking their own temperature. “Do I feel like making that phone call?” “Do I feel like writing that report?” “Do I feel like answering that email?” “Do I feel like studying for that certification exam?” “How will it feel if the boss says no when I ask about a raise?” Feelers are drifting in a mysterious sea of circumstances and problems, never quite sure why they never get anything done, yet are always so tired. Comfortable? Yes. Satisfied? No.

A Doer makes his or her life purposely uncomfortable by intentionally doing those things that advance him or her toward their goals. Doers are comfortable being uncomfortable. A Doer knows the deep satisfaction reserved for achievers and since he or she actually accomplishes something, has a high self esteem.

“No one can make me feel bad without my permission.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Feelers suffer from low self esteem but tend to blame it on other people. “She ‘made’ me so mad!” “He really upset me.” “No wonder I have low self esteem. Look at what I hear from my boss every day!” Here’s a hint: the phrase “self esteem” has a little clue about who’s in charge of it … it’s the first word of the phrase.

Doers experience more and more power and self control as the years tick by, but Feelers feel that their lives are slowly spiraling out of control. Doers know what each day holds for them but Feelers let the day’s circumstances tell them what to do. Doers experience joy all throughout the day but Feelers think every day is a hassle. Doers listen to others while Feelers wonder what someone else can do for them.

So which one are you?

It’s a difficult question to ask because there are times that we act both ways. The key is to learn to recognize your Feeler attitude and take steps to correct it. See? You’re changing already!

What things can you begin doing today, right now even, that will advance you toward you goals?

photo credit: warrenski

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

If you enjoyed what you just read and would like to get FREE email updates with the freshest articles from The Wisdom Journal delivered right to your inbox, subscribe today! It's ridiculously easy and you can unsubscribe at any time. Since your email address is never sold or abused, you can subscribe with confidence, PLUS you'll get free reports/guides/eBooks, subscriber only benefits, and other perks.


the weakonomist

I’m a doer. Feelers annoy me and keep me from getting work done. There are too many feelers in the business community. Every little comment is taken personally. Half my day sometimes is wasted dealing with this crap. If I’m ever a manager over feelers, I might have a breakdown and just make fun of them over and over until they cry so hard I’m either fired or sued.

This was well worded, thanks for putting it together.

Nicki at Domestic Cents

I jump between the two. I’m pretty driven so I’m a doer a lot of the time, but my emotions still take over, which I think is ok sometimes. EVERYTHING can’t be about goals and getting things done.


That’s the fasest, false dichotomy I’ve ever seen. Most everyone uses both approaches in their day to day life, adjusting as needed. A “doer”, a person that always does, discounting thinking and the ramification of their actions is known as a psycopath.


Didn’t really read the whole article did you?
Actually, a psychopath is someone who engages in criminal or immoral behavior without regards to how it would affect others. A psychopath is additionally defined as someone who is unable to learn from past mistakes.

A person who seeks to accomplish goals with a single minded (yet balanced, of course) focus is called an achiever, and in my article, a “doer.”

As far as a “false dichotomy,” perhaps you didn’t read the section where I said that we *all* act both ways (I bounce back and forth myself). A distinction is different from a dichotomy. A distinction doesn’t advance the idea that it’s an “either or,” but simply points out a contrast. A dichotomy is mutually exclusive.

Tammy Brackett

Now that is a point to ponder at the beginning of a work day! I think I’m kind of like Nicki- i maneuver between being a feeler and a doer. Sometimes the doing requires being really feeling and the feeling requires action.
This is a really great thing to think about today. I like to have a quick, easy concept to wrap my head around….

Previous post:

Next post: