Being an Affective Leader in an Emotional Economy
Everything we perceive, “our Reality” is first filtered through our emotions.
When we are nervous, angry, stressed, depressed we only have access to those possibilities. Confronted with a threat we search our memories of previous experiences or similar situations. This only compounds the problem, because we don’t just remember these situations we re-experience them thus amplifying the feeling we wished to assuage in the first place. The greater the emotion, the more focused our attention and the narrower our possibilities.
Logic and reasoning are vastly over matched when competing for the center stage of our attention.
Long before we were thinking beings we were feeling beings and the more “tweaked” we get the more our primitive minds take control. We are barraged daily with messages of fear. The worst “news” about the economy, environment, war, healthcare and people are paraded in front of us as objective analysis and conscientious consideration. There is nothing either objective or conscientious about it. The “news” is simply designed to get your attention so they can sell advertising and the best way to do that is to appeal to your primal fears. We are physiologically designed to notice and remember any imagined threat. Unfortunately we can imagine almost anything. Many are starting this year wondering how they will get through it and if that is what we imagine, that is what we will create.
What if we were to imagine something different?
What if we were not trying to get through anything? The through is all there is. The through is life. To get through a minute, day, week or year is to waste all of those moments and moments are all we have. Children learn more, do more, and enjoy more because they live in the moment and then the next. Successful, Happy people do the same thing. It is not that they do not plan for the future, they do. It is that they do not live for the future. They also do not live in or worry about the past. Nothing we can do, nothing we have ever done has changed the past. Whether it is ten minutes ago or ten years ago it is gone. There is no value in punishing yourself or others for anything we or they have done. We all do the best we can do at the time. None of us are our histories, UNLESS we choose to hang on to, remember, revisit, and relive them.
Being an Affective Leader means first taking responsibility for how you talk to you.
What stories do you tell yourself, about yourself, about others? Are they stories of Love or Fear? It is really very simple. Whatever picture, whatever story you tell yourself, whatever you put your focus on, you will move in that direction.
We never move in the opposite direction of our attention.
If we picture scarcity we get scarcity. If we look for abundance, we get abundance. Richard Branson, the dyslexic, high school non-graduate, billionaire put it this way. “I look for the good in everyone and everything”. Easy to say when you are a billionaire. The key is he is one because he said it, thought it, lived it, and acted on it, when he wasn’t.
The “Secret” has not been a secret for thousands of years.
“..as thou hast believed,’ so be it done unto thee” The key in this emotional economy is not generating and executing a “to-do” list, but in first generating and executing a “to-feel” list. Then using the energy of our desire to pull us instead of using the demands of what is required to push us. Everything we communicate to ourselves and others has an affective component. For years I have used the phrase “You become like whatever you think about most, you move in the direction of your currently dominant thought”. To be more accurate it should say that we move in the direction of your currently dominant feeling.
Here are seven steps you can take to make the most out of your Emotional Economy.
1. Observe yourself: don’t judge, just notice your inner conversations. No one else put them there, you put them there. Don’t try to change them deny them or ignore them just own them.
2. Be honest: Nothing can stop a man who is willing to be honest with himself about himself.
3. Appreciate the lessons: EVERYTHING happens to teach us something. Not about others, but about ourselves. The great thing is the only person we ever need to or can change is ourselves.
4. Forget the past: Whether we pine for things we have lost or regret the things we have done both keep us from being present in the present.
5. Forgive everyone and everything: We are unforgiving only to the extent which we have chosen not to appreciate and learn from our lessons.
6. Chose not to conform: Don’t be a lemming. Earl Nightingale said, “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity.
7. Prime your fun pump: Watch, listen to, read, think things that tickle your funny bone. Laughter calms the mind focuses attention, opens up our creativity and is the antidote to fear.
We are not thinking beings that have feelings; we are feeling beings that have thoughts.