5 Leadership Lessons: Where Negative Emotions Come From
Brian Tracy and Christina Stein have written a book—Kiss That Frog—to help you root out the causes of the negative thoughts that are influencing your attitudes and behaviors more than you realize. It’s a critical issue for leaders.
“All emotions, especially negative emotions, distort evaluations. A person in the grip of a negative emotion is incapable of thinking clearly or rationally.”
Tracy and Stein have identified five major factors that cause people to create negative emotions and hold on to them:
Justification: You defend your negativity and your right to be angry. Negative emotions cannot exist unless you can justify your right to experience them to yourself and others. The more you justify yourself and convince yourself that the other person involved is bad in some way, that you are pure and innocent and are therefore entitled to feel the way you do, the angrier and more upset you become.
Identification: This means that you take things personally. You interpret what has happened as a personal attack on you. Having healthy emotional boundaries is essential, especially in a work environment. You can be compassionate without identifying with someone else’s emotions.
Hypersensitivity: To be extremely sensitive to the thoughts, opinions, or attitudes of others toward you. Peter Ouspensky called it “inward considering.” In extreme cases, hypersensitive people become paralyzed in that they cannot make a decision without getting the approval of other people.
Judgmentalism: The tendency of people to make negative assessments about others. When you judge another, you become emotional. And emotions distort evaluations. People often judge others because they want to control their behavior.
Rationalization: What happens when you put a socially acceptable explanation on an otherwise socially unacceptable act. Because of low self-esteem and weak egos, most people cannot admit that they have done or said something that was not thoroughly reasonable and justified.
Rehashing negative situations allows the negative emotions to grow. Keeping an eye on these factors leading to negative emotions can help you to stop the negative emotion the moment it is triggered.
You have a wonderful mind. But it is a two-edged sword. You can use it to make yourself happy, or you can use it to make yourself angry. Your goal should be to use your intelligence to keep yourself calm, in control, and at peace, no matter what is happening around you or to you.
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