A few years back, I was a bit of a pill.
The slightest problem or the tiniest hiccup would send me into a mental spiral, distracting myself with worries and fears. As I’ve had the opportunity to experience varying degrees of tumult over the last few years, I’ve worked to develop a habit around divesting emotion in situations. When something goes wrong, either personally or professionally, I focus on quelling emotion and instead ask “what does this mean and what can I do about it?”
Chaos is a built-in feature of humanity. Assuming that it isn’t or will someday go away is folly at its finest. In order to operate in any meaningful way in this world, it’s absolutely essential to learn how to control your emotional response to a situation. The more invested you are emotionally, the more control a situation will have over your response to it.
What this behavior has lead to is more deliberate decision making. Instead of reacting to events, with a clear, calm mind, I’m able to respond. Something goes wrong? Don’t flip out or start nail-biting, but rather, figure out the facts, where your power exists—if anywhere—and then take the time to come up with a response.
Of course, depending on the severity of a situation the window you have to develop a response could be just a few seconds or even a few weeks. No matter the time between event and response, the point is to keep your cool; hands firm on the wheel. It’s far easier to control a car in a tailspin if you’re levelheaded. Simple and obvious, sure, but surprisingly difficult to master.
If at once you find yourself in a troubling situation: empty your head. No matter how enticing an outburst sounds, control yourself. In any given situation, pay attention to where power gravitates to: it’s always the person who’s calmest. Learning to curb emotion can move you closer to that position and give you more control over the events in your life. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish with a steady pair of hands.