Ever have this happen? ‘That jerk cut me off!’, you curse (not as muted as you would like) trying to keep your middle finger from flipping the other driver off. Pulling into the driveway, you walk into your home, open the door, and your faithful pet comes out, tail wagging a million miles a minute with a face that says you are the best person in the world, melting your previously business numbed heart.
Ok, maybe not these exact scenarios but you get the idea. Our lives have hundreds of swirling emotions, both welcomed and unwanted, electrically firing across our brains each and every day. So how does this emotional assault affect your ability to achieve what you truly want, what you strive for, what you envision?
Well that depends on your EQ fitness. What is EQ fitness? Simply put, and maybe over simply put, it is your ability to convert impulsive emotions into productive, enduring, and desired feelings. So, what is the difference between an emotion and a feeling? Think of emotions as the raw neurochemical response your body provides. They are unedited, and left to their own devices, will pull, tug, and derail your focus making you feel unclear…scattered. They will turn your brain around, and your focus, hundreds of times every day. As a result, you are busy putting out fires and your attention is almost exclusively on what is in front of you. There is very little, if any, consistent long term visioning.
Feelings on the other hand are the trained positive focus you want to get from raw emotions. Feelings are sustainable, enduring, controllable and allow a greater sense of focus on high
yield activities. In that ‘jerk cut you off’ example, you would strive to train yourself to refuse the verbalization. Why repress it? The visceral auditory response releases chemicals that cause you stress; you can’t do anything about the situation and, it takes you away from more important things to consider. In refusing the impulsive response, you are now conditioning your brain to provide a different focus to the emotion, one that you can control over time and which allow you to envision your backpacking adventure next month or whatever more important things you wish to consider.
Very recently I had a final visit with a friend with terminal cancer – a truly incredible individual who gave so much humanity to this world and did so even in their final days. My raw emotional response was one of intense grief – a response and stage that while necessary, in my opinion, many stay in far too long. Over time I have conditioned my raw emotional response of grief to migrate into one of sustained inspiration. How did I make the leap? I had a long-term vision in mind. I decided I wanted to live my life as a tribute to those who no longer have the good fortune to do so – maybe you have done this too. I still can have an impact, I am still the benefactor of this life and I can still contribute – all things my friend would want me to do.
Converting evaporating emotions into enduring and productive feelings is a major factor in strengthening your EQ. It is how you give yourself control, focus, positivity and confidence to go after what you are truly capable of. It is a key ingredient in up calculating your possible.