Emotions Aren’t What You Think They Are

Much (…most…all?) of success at work is our head game. Just as athletes can win or lose based on what’s going on inside, our emotions strongly influence our success in business and life. We see how negative emotions damage our (work) game and positive emotions propel us to success.

We usually think of our (negative) emotions as some integral (and usually flawed) aspect of our personalities. But a more productive view is that our emotions are just indicators. They tell us how in sync are we with the wiser part inside all of us.

That wiser part figures out life faster than the part of us we’re used to identifying with. As we ponder or struggle, it leaps to a more helpful way of thinking about things. So there can be a gap between how we’re seeing things and how our wiser selves are seeing the same things. The greater the gap, the worse we feel. The smaller the gap, the better we feel.

Why bother with this alternative definition of emotions? Because getting in sync with our wiser selves is a much faster path to success. Traditionally, we try to understand, fix, tame, trample, explain, or avoid our negative emotions. Like running in quicksand, these approaches can take a very long time because focusing on (including avoiding) negative emotions tends to perpetuate and generate even more negative emotions.

Learning to pause and understand that wiser part of ourselves is simpler and faster. It may take some time to get familiar with and trust that part of ourselves. And as we do, the business- and life solutions we need come faster as our negative emotions necessarily subside.


In your corner,


PS: Think of emotions as the wiser part tapping on our shoulders.

PPS: Yes, of course you have a wiser part of you. It is the perspective shift that you notice as you do this exercise.

PPPS: Simply noticing negative and positive emotion is a good first step in finding our wiser selves.

Today’s photo credit: hjl Sotto la pioggia via photopin (license)

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