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The battle between emotion and reason, and the winner is…

Master your emotions and you will master your mind

This is part six in the ten part series that began with the brief outline of the 10 steps to becoming the greatest salesman in the world, as outlined by Og Mandino in his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World.

The sixth step to becoming the greatest salesman in the world, according to Og Mandino, is to master your emotions.

Before we get into how to do that, let’s first address the why, because as the bestselling author, Simon Sinek said, it all starts with why.

The sixth step in this series will be broken down into two posts because of the importance in addressing the why behind mastering your emotions. Once that is clarified, in the next post, I will go into the step by step process on how to become a master of your emotions.

Human beings are emotional creatures. Everything we do is driven by emotion. We then justify our actions with logic and reason. Whatever you did today, you did it to produce a certain kind of feeling or emotional state within you, am I right?

If we really get to the bottom of any action and keep playing that game that little kids play asking why to every single thing that we do, isn’t it really to be happy? To live with joy, passion and fulfillment? Which is just another way of saying happy. And happiness is nothing more than an emotion. At the core of every action we take is a desire to meet an emotional need.

This is a reality hardwired into our brain. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a long science lesson, but it is necessary to take a look at what we have in that skull of ours so we know how to master it. You can’t fix a car unless you know how to work your way around the engine right?

All our brains are divided up into three parts: the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the human brain. The reptilian brain lives in fight of flight. It acts, or fails to act, without much thought involved. The mammalian brain consists of our feelings and emotions. This is the part of our brain where mastery is required to succeed. Finally, we have our human brain, the purely rational and logical part of our being capable of abstract thought. Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, this quality is unique to us humans.

Whenever you experience any of the five senses, sight, sound, taste, smell and touch, the electrical signals are sent from the reptillian brain through the mammal brain and into the human brain. We have no choice, all of life is experienced emotionally first, then rationally.

Consequently, without the ability to control that part of the brain, we are in essence weakening our greatest asset, the human brain capable of logic and rational thought. We lower its ability to function at its highest level by scrambling the signal as it passes through our mammal brain and gets filtered by emotional chaos.

Without mastering our emotions, the very essence of the human condition, we are merely slaves to the whims and fancies of external circumstance. Because how could we possibly handle a stimuli affecting any of our five senses without the ability to control the very thing that stands in the way of that stimuli and our capacity to respond to it as intelligent, rational human beings?

As a result we tend to become victimized by the elixir of circumstance. It becomes easy to blame someone else or something else for our current condition, like it’s traffic’s fault I am late or my spouse’s fault every time we get into a fight.

We all do this at times. I know I do.

It’s not entirely our fault though. I know, I know, I am blaming circumstance here, but hear me out. From a very young age we are taught to increase our intelligence by studying various subjects in school. My little cousins today spend hours and hours every day studying math, english, science etc. to get a good score on the SAT to go to college and follow that whole path designated for us from day one. Don’t get me wrong, I think education is invaluable and necessary. I am simply suggesting that the focus of education needs to be placed elsewhere.

We are taught to use our human brains without even touching on the mammal brain. It’s like trying to learn calculus without knowing basic algebra. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? The focus needs to be on emotional mastery from a younger age for us to learn how to then maximize our finest quality: the ability to process complex thoughts.

By mastering our emotions, we become in charge of our destiny. We become warriors instead of victims.

Emotional mastery creates a space for us to truly harness our capacity for reason. The latter cannot occur without the former. Consequently, the clear winner is emotion.

In the bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves found that emotional intelligence accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. Additionally, they found that 90% of high performers are high in emotional intelligence (EQ) while only 20% of low performers are high in EQ.

The impact of emotional mastery is consequently evident in every area of your life, including your career.

If we were to look at the most extreme scenario available, emotional mastery is still vital for success.

In a life or death situation, the ability to choose a wise course of action is determined by our skill at mastering our emotions. Control of that emotional/mammalian brain allows the stimulus to move into the human brain and use reason to escape alive. Without that control, the emotional scrambling forces the stimulus to remain in reptilian brain. Thus, when we panic, we find ourselves in a fight or flight response because the emotional chaos prevents the stimulus from moving through our mammal brain into our greatest strength, the human brain.

Imagine driving straight into a concrete wall. The car will almost certainly crash into it and the wall will remain intact, but if you could control that wall and turn it into a thin styrofoam wall, the car would drive right through it and get to the other side. You get to chose what that wall looks like by choosing whether or not to devote your time and energy to emotional mastery.

But before you can master it, you must first become aware of it.

Bradberry and Greaves also found that only 36% of the people they tested were able to even accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

Most of the time we are so distracted by our daily actions and a constant state of doing that we forget to check in on our being. So before we get into mastery of that being, the suggested actions for today are simply to check in on where you are now in your being.

Today’s action step

I learned this method of emotional awareness at a Jack Canfield seminar. It was created by the founder of the Sedona Method, Hale Dwoskin. My recommendation is for you to practice this every time you sense a potentially disempowering emotion creeping into your being. Remember, awareness is the first step in mastery.

Here is the 4 step process for becoming aware of your emotions:

1) Welcome the feeling or sensation as best you can. Do not resist it, experience it fully.
2) Ask yourself, could you let it go?
3) Ask yourself, would you?
4) Ask yourself, by when?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Do you think emotion trumps reason?


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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama