In our last post we covered the importance or the why of emotional mastery. Today we will go into the how.
For those of you who have not read the earlier article or did not feel the need to click on the above link, I feel that it must be restated, emotional mastery is the key to life mastery because all experience is filtered through the emotional brain before it arrives at the rational brain. That is a scientific fact. As such, it is vital to achieve emotional mastery if you wish to employ our greatest strength as human beings, the rational brain to process, react and respond to any of life’s experiences.
The Dalai Lama represents the pinacle of emotional mastery. His holiness embodies the state closest to nirvana. He says of this state “”Our practice of the Dharma should be a continual effort to attain a state beyond suffering. It should not simply be a moral activity whereby we avoid negative ways and engage in positive ones. In our practice of the Dharma, we seek to transcend the situation in which we all find ourselves: victims of our own mental afflictions- such as attachment, hatred, pride, greed, and so forth-are mental states that cause us to behave in ways that bring about all of our unhappiness and suffering. While working to achieve inner peace and happiness, it is helpful to think of them as our inner demons, for like demons, they can haunt us, causing nothing but misery. That state beyond such negative emotions and thoughts, beyond all sorrow, is called nirvana.”
More than likely, this state will not be achieved overnight. More than likely it will never be attained at all, but it is in the journey toward it that we find ourselves. The journey itself is the destination.
It is the simple act of embarking upon that journey toward emotional mastery, stillness of the mind and heart or nirvana, that we begin to develop the ability to process experiences as rational human beings as opposed to being at the effect of our feelings and emotions.
The ability to master your emotions is also the number 1 predictor of professional success and personal excellence, as outlined by the research conducted by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves in their book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
What that means is that not only will the steps outlined below lead to a better quality of life, they will also make you more money.
The following 8 steps will get you started on your path to emotional mastery and as Tony Robbins said, once you “take control of your consistent emotions,” you will “begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.”
Today’s action steps
These steps will help you move from a disempowered emotion to an empowering one. I say disempowered because there are no bad and good emotions. All emotions exist for a reason. However, emotions either serve you to move your life forward or they disempower you and bring you down. No matter what the emotion you are feeling, if it disempowers you, the following steps will help you change that:
1) Become Aware of your emotions – I hope you had a chance to practice the action step from the last post. The Sedona Method is one way to become acutely aware of your emotions. Another way is to simply stop and ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? Sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly powerful. Most of the time, we are so caught up in the impact of the experience, we fail to even recognize what meaning we are giving to the experience. So take a second to stop and give a name to the feelings you are experiencing. Often the simple act of giving our feelings a name lessens the impact of the emotion on our being and in turn our actions, because it makes us aware of where we are. And we can’t get from point A to point B unless we know where point A is.
2) What meaning are you creating for the experience – Every experience has no meaning on it’s own. The meaning is created in the space between the experience and the interpretation you created in your head. Think about it like this, if I told you, you have green hair and you didn’t, would you get upset? Now what if you were unsure about your confidence and I told you were weak and pathetic. You may get upset. The reason being you are not sure of yourself in your own head so you made it mean that you are pathetic or weak. If you were so sure of yourself that you were strong and confident, you could have made it mean that I am an idiot or I am insecure and that’s why I said that about you. You get to create meaning to every experience. That meaning shapes the emotions that result from the experience.
3) Don’t fight it – Once you get clear on the meaning you are creating for the experience, before you work on creating a more empowering meaning, don’t fight the current emotion that you are feeling as a result of the meaning you have created. Acknowledge that feeling and thank it, because all emotions, empowering or disempowering, have your best interest at heart. They exist for a reason.
4) Find out what that reason is – Ask yourself what are you getting out of being in this place? What is the belief you have about life or yourself that causes you to create a disempowering meaning to these experiences? What are you getting out of it? What is the payoff from this emotion? That emotion is sending you a message, your job is to figure out what that message is. Once you know the reason for the emotion, only then can you create a new meaning to the experience that caused it and consequently shift the emotion.
5) Time travel – Venture into the past when you were in a state of unstoppable confidence. Anchor that state of confidence into your being. Another way is to time travel into the future into the life you want to create and anchor in the feeling of accomplishment and success. Either way, whether you travel to the past or the future, the point of this step is to anchor a state of confidence and bring that into your now. This immediately transitions you from being a victim of your emotions to being fully in control of them. You then have the power to consciously choose what state you want to be in.
6) Create a new meaning – Once you have anchored a state of confidence and power within your being, you now have the ability to create a new meaning to the experience which led to the disempowering emotion in the first place. I have used this technique very successfully with many of my clients. It is an incredibly powerful moment when it first hits you, that you have the power to choose what you want experiences to mean to you. Many of us move through life fully believing the stories we tell ourselves about our experiences, without ever recognizing that we can choose new ones. Once the realization hits that we have the power to choose what experiences mean to us, life will never be the same.
7) Take action – Action is the number one thing that separates successful people from failures. Once you create a new meaning to the experiences in your life, act on those meanings to drive your life forward. You get to say what that action is, but do something right away that will move you one step closer to your goals. Each step makes you more confident and confidence creates the space needed for emotional mastery.
8) Test your limits – To enhance your ability to create new meanings to experiences, start creating new experiences. Tony Robbins calls these references. References are the experiences which shape the beliefs that lead to the meanings we then create to new experiences. Consequently, if you want to create new references or your ability to create new meanings, start engaging in new experiences that push you outside your comfort zone. Whether it be one inch out or 100 inches out does not matter, just move out of it! By testing yourself in moments of stress, you will build your emotional muscle to handle any of life’s experiences. In the unknown, you grow and develop the ability to create empowered meanings to experiences. Thus becoming a master of your emotions and moving one step closer to being like the Dalai Lama.
Give this a shot and I would love to hear how this worked out for you in the comments below. Please share so others can benefit from your experience.
Be sure to sign up below as well to get a free set of tools that will teach you how to create new empowering beliefs and use the experiences of others like Oprah Winfrey and Tim Ferriss to anchor in a state of confidence.