While you are pursuing the Principles of Leadership, Building Trust and Achieving Results, you will reflect on your own behavior and your own decisions. And here is a key piece of insight:
100% of decisions are emotional.
People think rationally but they act impulsively. It’s a good rule to remember next time you’re trying to sell something or influence someone. People usually follow their strongest internal feeling despite their rational understanding.
Overcoming this begins with self-awareness. For example…
Think of your alarm clock this morning.
Did you hear your alarm today and think to yourself, “I should get up. I have a lot to do today.” . . . but hit the snooze button anyway? Or did you wake up and get after it?
We’ve all felt the internal struggle of needing to get up but wanting 5 more minutes.
This intention vs. emotion tug-of-war occurs in other, far more important, areas of your life:
- Health decisions like eating right and exercising
- Having difficult conversations with co-workers or people you love
- Practicing new skills for your job
- Doing difficult but necessary tasks
- Self-awareness and ego
- In most situations I believe you know what to do.
But emotions trip you up. They derail your best intentions. They move you towards impulsive, autopilot, resistant behavior.
We’re surprisingly blind to the role of emotion in our day-to-day decisions.
Robert Cialdini, New York Times best-selling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, writes,
People’s ability to understand the factors that affect their behavior is surprisingly poor.
His fascinating research over the past 30+ years is evidence of how out of touch we can be with ourselves.
How much emotional education have you received?
Honestly, how much time have you invested in books, courses, study, practice, or coaching to educate you in:
- Where emotions come from?
- How they work?
- The role they play in your decision-making?
- Your skill in managing them to better your life?
It’s a simple question. With a straightforward answer either way.
99.999% of people say, “None.” or “Maybe I read a book on it once?”
And yet how many default decisions have you made based on emotional impulse? If you’re like me — a lot. It’s a constant, life-long battle to master our emotions.
What if you could have avoided that one big mistake in your life? What if you can avoid a future mistake by understanding how your emotions actually work?
This is the purpose and true value of discipline.
Excelling in any environment requires a significant amount of emotional awareness and self-discipline that doesn’t come naturally. Without it, we’re slaves to our impulses.
Chained, for better or worse, to all of our current habits. Instead, here’s what you can start doing today, right now to give yourself a competitive advantage — over your own resistance, your competitors, your peers, or anything else between you and your goals…
Minimize and Limit These Default Feelings…
You can’t eliminate these or avoid them completely. But you can minimize and limit them.
- Self-doubt: You are your own worst enemy. It’s true for all of us. That little voice in your head is full of lies that only want to keep you where you are.
- Boredom: This is a big one. We grow tired of practicing things loooonng before we’ve worked hard enough to master them.
- Avoidance: When something doesn’t feel good, we avoid it. We are creatures of comfort, not just habit. We think avoiding discomfort is in our best interest.
Maximize and Engage These Disciplined Feelings…
These are completely within your control and your ability. Do them immediately.
- Confidence: You don’t have to be good at something to do it. The only way to get better at anything is to go beyond what you can do today. You can do it, so do it.
- Patience: Nothing of value comes quickly. Absolutely nothing. Whatever you want to accomplish can be done if you simply give it the proper time and effort.
- Resilience: You have the capacity to endure. Any pain and discomfort in the moment is temporary. It never lasts. It always fades. Your goals are worth it.
- The difference that separates exceptional from forgettable is mostly an emotional quality.
If you could have greater self-awareness and self-discipline in one area of your life, what would it be?