Tag-Archive for » controlling emotions «

Sunday, April 18th, 2010 | Author:
Don't control you emotions

Don't control you emotions

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.

In Part 2 of the “Do NOT Control Your Emotions” series, we discussed how in order to conduct yourself as a productive member of a civil society without controlling your emotions, the key is to use your emotions to direct your actions while staying calm and in control during flight.

And now in Part 3, we continue with how to use your emotions to change your life.

There a challenging difference between mechanical instruments on vehicles and the instrumentation that comes installed on people.  The mechanical instruments are well documented with known tolerances and an assurance of accuracy, while our emotions sometimes appear wildly inaccurate (almost to the point of seeming random at times) and there is no owner’s manual to refer to that can explain what a particular emotion means.  And no two people work exactly the same so you can’t even borrow someone else’s manual.

But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore or disconnect your emotions.  Rather, it means that you should work to learn what they mean and how accurate they are (documenting your findings for future reference).  Then you can use that knowledge to both improve the accuracy of what they are telling you and also to sharpen your “piloting skills” based on this improved visibility into yourself and your environment.

If you work to understand, improve, and master the use of your emotions you will develop a big advantage in the emotional dogfight called life.  It will be like bringing night vision goggles on patrol in a remote village. You will have developed the advantage of seeing into the blackness of night which others find impenetrable.

So moving from the conceptual to the practical, your goal is to learn to understand your emotions and what they are telling you about yourself, about your world, and about the real world around you, and then to use them to evolve your world so that your emotions and feelings can accurately and reliably guide your actions.

In order to develop accurate, reliable emotions, you have to methodically evaluate the accuracy and validity of your emotional readings.  When you encounter less than perfect emotional readings, then you undertake to reconcile your emotional reading with reality, and then train a more accurate response into your emotions.

This may sound incredibly complicated, but it is actually something that that you learn step-by-step, focusing on one relatively simple task at a time. In more or less the same way that a martial arts student advances through several belt levels to become a black belt, you can advance step by step, one skill at a time, to become an emotional black belt.

The ultimate goal of a pilot is to connect as many high quality, accurate instruments that give meaningful input as possible.  The ultimate goal in life is to do the same with your emotions.  By connecting several properly functioning emotional instruments, you will have be able to pilot your life towards the goals that really matter to you the most, and you will be able to maintain nice smooth flight conditions along the way.

The 52 Week Program focuses on building the skills needed to fine tune your emotional indicators for accuracy and to master their use to achieve happiness and success in life.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.

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.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 | Author:
Controlling Emotions

Controlling Emotions

And yes, before we get started, I really do mean it… do not try to control your emotions or your feelings. Learn to use them instead.

Little kids are told to control their emotions over and over again. This gets taught early and reinforced throughout life. But it turns out that the lesson is not quite right. You should not be controlling your emotions. You should be controlling your actions and reactions to your emotions.

Your emotions are like the instruments on your car. Controlling your emotions is like controlling the speedometer on your car so it says exactly what speed you want regardless of how fast the car is really going. When you drive you don’t control the speedometer, you control the speed of the vehicle using the speedometer as a guide.

So why would you expect the vehicle of yourself to work any different? You need your emotions, your instruments, and you need them to be working as accurately and with as much precision as possible.

An unfortunate majority of the people in the world spend their entire life working to control their speedometers rather than their actual speed. It happens with emotions, it happens in business, it happens in politics… it is just a part of our human nature. Unfortunately, the only possible outcome of controlling your instruments instead of using them to control your vehicle is that you end up flying blind. You are unable to tell where the you are, how fast you’re moving and where you’re heading. You may very well slam into a mountain, the ground or any number of other things. Turn off or reduce the accuracy of your instruments at your own peril.

OK, so you leave the speedometer connected, but maybe you don’t like risk so you decide to just drive 40 on the freeway so you can easily stay safe. This almost works, but easy safety is seldom as safe as it appears. In this case, going 40 on the freeway to create safety from getting a ticket and safety from losing control of your own car also creates a new risk, namely that someone else will crash into you as they are not expecting you to be going 40 on a freeway.

In the same way as creating safety in one area often also creates a consequent risk in another, disconnecting your emotions also creates a consequent risk. The unintended consequence of disconnecting your life instruments, your emotions, is that you will be living an emotionally blind life, and you will have little chance of ever creating the only thing you really want. You will have little chance of ever finding true happiness and satisfaction in life.

Imagine a video game: You are a pilot flying a plane in a race or a battle across uneven terrain with obstacles such as trees, buildings, mountains, and canyons.

In this game, your engine makes more power the closer you are to the ground, and less power the higher you are. Therefore you can go faster near the ground and the obstacles, but slower if you’re up high away from the obstacles. But the lower you fly, the less time you have to react to the obstacles and terrain. Also, the faster you go, this problem is increased. But to do your best in the game, you have fly as low and as fast as you can.

Now imagine it is foggy out, and you have only your instruments to guide you.

This is a pretty good analogy for how we live our lives. We are the pilots. The obstacles and the terrain represent our interactions with other people. Our lifelong pursuit of happiness, success, and love is the race. And our emotions are the only instruments available to guide us through the fog.

While you can fly carefree and safe at 30,000 ft, doing so will leave your engine weak, and you will miss out on any chance of performing well. To follow the analogy, you can keep a safe emotional distance, but doing so will dilute your interactions with people.

You can detach yourself from your emotions, turn them off, decrease their accuracy, or simply ignore them. But doing so has dire consequences, as your emotions are the only instruments you have by which you can measure your happiness, stress, loss, sadness, joy, etc.

Controlling your emotions rather than controlling your reactions to your emotions is a lot like controlling the altimeter of the airplane rather than using what the altimeter is trying to tell you in order to keep from crashing into the ground.

Rather than controlling your emotions, work to improve the ACCURACY of your emotions and to control your REACTIONS to your emotions.

Stay Tuned for Part 2, Redirecting your reactions to your emotions.  (Part 2 is now available).

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.