Friday, April 02nd, 2010 | Author:
confidently controlling your reactions

confidently controlling your reactions

Ok, so in Part 1 of the “Do NOT Control Your Emotions” series we discussed the critical need to leave your emotions fully connected because they serve as your instrument panel on the journey of life.  But if you aren’t going to control your emotions, how then can you possibly hope to get along with people and conduct yourself as a productive member of a civil society?

The key is to use your emotions to direct your actions while staying calm and in control during flight. If a pilot flew a plane the way most of us use our emotions it would be one jarring, frightening flight full of airsick passengers.  OMG!  We’re tilting left, FULL RIGHT RUDDER!  OH NO! We’re losing speed! FULL THROTTLE! CRAP, we’re spinning right, FULL LEFT RUDDER!

The problem is not in the instruments, the problem is that the pilot is treating every little input as a full on emergency, and applying maximum corrections to every variance.  Nobody wants to fly in a plane with a hamfisted captain.  Flying a plane requires careful consideration of the instruments, good judgment, and subtle application of control.

Well, guess what.  Nobody wants to fly through life with someone who over reacts to their emotions.  And as we said before, you shouldn’t turn the emotions off because nobody wants to fly with a pilot who’s likely to fly directly into a mountain either.

So what should you do?

The answer is the same as for a commercial pilot:  You should pay full attention to your emotions as they are the indicator of the conditions you are flying through.  But you have to learn to interpret them carefully in order to understand the true meaning behind them.  Then you have to exercise good judgment in your chosen actions.  And you should develop subtle control and finesse in implementing your chosen actions.

Consider your emotions carefully to learn what they are telling you

Every time you have an emotional reaction to something, positive or negative, it is telling you something about yourself and the world around you.  The trick is to figure out just what it is telling you, so you can take appropriate action.

If you find that your emotions are not giving you an accurate picture of reality, then you need to develop and evolve your emotional instruments until they are giving you a reasonably accurate picture of reality.

This is done with behaviorist methods, i.e. by practice and repetition.

Developing good judgment in responding to emotions

Once you have trained your emotional responses to give you valuable accurate information about the world around you, you then have to develop good judgment in choosing the best actions to take based on your accurate perception of events.

This required not only an accurate version of what you know, but also an accurate version of what you don’t know, of what context may be missing, of what assumptions you are making, of the relevance that the missing items may have on your interpretation, and the likelihood that the information you do have is both complete and definitive.

This judgment is developed by using your emotional reactions as trigger points to initiate closer examinations of the key issues involved in choosing a course of action.

Developing subtlety and finesse in taking action

Once you have chosen a reasonable course of action, you have to develop subtlety and finesse in being able to implement the actions you have chosen.  This includes the ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and sometimes persuasively, while still adhering to principles and beliefs by which you guide your life.

This is accomplished by practicing the specific skills that you value the most over and over until you become quite good at them.

These three concepts may seem vague and not very helpful, but the 52 Week Program teaches specifically how to achieve them, and guides you through exercises to reinforce these critical skills.

Stay Tuned for Part 3, Changing your Emotional Responses.

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3 Responses

  1. “Consider your emotions carefully to learn what they are telling you” This statement is so true. Good example of this is when someone is being humorous and you don’t think it is funny. You may be taking things to personal for some reason. Maybe low self-esteem. Reaction to emotion do tell a lot about a person.

  2. 2
    Michael C. McDonald 

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  1. [...] Tuned for Part 2, Redirecting your reactions to your emotions.  (Part 2 is now [...]

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