Emotions and Success

Yup! Emotions and success. Like it or not you have an emotional life which affects your success.

I have no intention of getting into the academic debates of which theory of emotions (and success!)is right or wrong. Arguments over whether emotions stem from neurological biology, cognitive activities or body (physical), somatic events will probably continue when I am long gone. Such is the nature of emotions and success. There is also long established debate over whether emotions are inherent part of the human condition or a learned pattern of behaviour.

Emotions
Emotions
picture courtesy of Gonzac at Flickr

What I would ask you to think about is that it is likely that the existence of emotions has probably had a beneficial effect for humanity otherwise they (emotions) would have died out long ago. Some arguments propose that initially, emotions stem from basic animal survival instincts of fight, flight or mate. Or as others have put it - eat it, become food or ...mate with it (polite version). In other words, the information we take in through our senses, can be judged to be helpful to us or unhelpful to us. It can be positive in the sense that it improves our well-being, or negative in that it lessens our well-being.

You may consider emotions to be that process - sensory information coming in, judgement being made, decision taken and action followed.

The big flavour of the month for the recent past within the area of emotions and success has been emotional intelligence - the ability to recognize, understand, communicate and manage one’s emotions and those of others. Yeah, I know, it sounds a bit highfaluting, but what it really comes down to is fully understanding what is going on around you without misinterpretation, acting with an appropriate response and when required communicating in a way that is unambiguously understood by others, whilst understanding other peoples' emotional position too.

Let me give you an example:

Alarm - your day's emotional start?
Alarm - your day's emotional start?
picture courtesy of SFB579 at Flickr
Your morning alarm goes off. You haven't slept well. You get out of bed and stub your toe on the foot of the bed. You cry out loudly but curse under your breath. Now you're annoyed as well as tired. You make your way to the kitchen hoping that your first tea or coffee will help wake you and improve your mood. As you pour hot water from the kettle into your mug, it suddenly spurts, there's hot drink and boiling water spilled over the work surface. It dribbles over the edge onto the floor.

"Careful!" says your other half concerned you don't scald yourself. You think that it's a criticism for the mess on the floor. You snap back, "If somebody hadn't filled the kettle so full, maybe it wouldn't have happened!"

You skip breakfast, hurrying instead to finish getting ready for work. The conversation has resorted to an ominous silence.

You call "goodbye" conspicuously loudly, so that no-one can mistake your departure or accuse you of deliberately ignoring anyone.

As you drive to work, someone cuts you up as they pull into your lane, you blast on the horn and shout something about their lack of knowledge and unknown parentage. Then when you arrive at work, your boss says, "Hi! How's it going?"

What are you going to say?

How are your emotions and success?

Let's try a different version:

Your morning alarm goes off. You haven't slept well. You get out of bed and stub your toe on the foot of the bed. You cry out loudly, fall on the bed yelling, "Argghh! My toe!".

"What have you done?" asks your partner.

The initial pain is starting to subside now as you say, "I stubbed my toe. It really hurt. You wanna kiss it better?"

"Ugh! Don't be revolting!" comes the reply.

"How about if we dip it in ice cream? Could you be persuaded then?"

"How about I make you a nice drink to wake you up? 'Cos I think you're still dreaming. You go in the bathroom first, I'll fetch your drink."

Having kissed your partner goodbye, you're driving to work. Someone cuts you up as they pull into your lane. You brake and wonder whether they are having a really bad day. Then when you arrive at work, your boss says, "Hi! How's it going?"

What are you going to say?

How are your emotions and success?

Okay, it's time for the Aesop's Fables ending now, the moral of the story:

You always have the choice of how you respond from moment to moment. Emotions are an indication of possible responses, but you are not tied to any one response unless you choose to be. If you're acting angry, you've chosen to act angry. If you're feeling guilty, you've chosen to feel guilty. No-one has made you that way, you've chosen that way. You have the choice to stop, consider, and respond in a way that best serves you, your emotions and success.

 


 

Emotions and Success

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