Mistruths of the Mind [part 6 of 10]

Mistruths of the Mind [part 6 of 10]

Much like the 4th Mistruth of the Mind, this one is all about reframing the matter at hand by switching they way your mind presents its narrative to you. The starting point is in recognizing “emotional speak.”

First of all, before getting into it, let me just say that the neuroscience community isn’t completely sure what emotions “are” or precisely how they take shape. It’s presumed and accepted that emotions, good and bad, are beneficial.¬†Emotions serve as symbols that represent a larger, often much more complex, series of lessons (memories). Remember how the brain likes shortcuts? Your emotions guide you to an “appropriate” reaction much more quickly than the process of searching through all of your past experiences to evaluate and eventually deduce some conclusion.

Again, those shortcuts also sometimes mislead us.

Emotions put you on a track. The initial “emotional” response, if you will, is fight or flight. Some may not use the word “emotion” to quantify this basic trait, but were you asked to later evaluate your decision, you’ll likely say “I felt like running” or “I felt I needed to face the circumstance.” And so you are saying you feel something. Emotion seems to fit.

Our minds mislead us into “feeling” a certain way that can do more harm than good. Typically, it’s “I don’t feel like doing…” whatever it is – usually something important like going to the gym, having a call with that difficult clients, or making those revisions to 27-page quarterly report.

Our mind convinces us that our present feelings affect our immediate actions. But that’s only true when we give into it. Obviously, the feelings are able to be overcome. When you start jogging on the treadmill, even though you don’t feel like it, you’re still taking the action.

Let’s look at this another way. What about when you feel like something positive that isn’t a good thing? “I just feel like taking on another client right now.” Here again is a feeling assuming the role in deciding to take action. What about your current schedule, commitments, quality of service…these aren’t feelings, but they make a better basis for deciding whether to take on a new client.

So, how to we face our minds telling us that our feelings should control our actions?

The first step is to remind yourself that you are not one with your feelings. Feelings are like passengers in your car. They can come for the ride or be jettisoned. Secondly, put your mind in “rational mode.” Think through the consequences, the benefits, the people affected. What is most important to you?

These steps change the “emotional speak” narrative. They put you back in control. They keep you from being misled.

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