This quote is from The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph, by Ryan Holiday.
The author has just spent some time talking about how astronauts prepare for going into space. If an astronaut doesn’t have total control of his emotions, if he gets spooked and panics, if he is at a loss for what to do, he dies and takes everybody else down with him.
Jack, my 9-year-old, puts it best. “NASA spends a lot of time and money teaching people to calm the beep down.”
Holiday has said that astronauts have to keep their heart rates down or zillion dollar rockets fly headfirst into the sun. But the rest of us freak right out over anything and everything, large and small. Holiday calls this a luxury, an indulgence that astronauts don’t get.
“If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion, Or, quite possibly, a destructive one.
BUT IT’S WHAT I FEEL!
Right, no one ever said anything about not feeling it. No one said you can’t ever cry. Forget “manliness.” If you need to take a moment, by all means, go ahead. Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.
So go ahead, feel it. Just don’t lie to yourself by conflating emoting about a problem and dealing with it. Because they are as different as sleeping and waking.”
Places you can use this handy little tip:
- Oh my God, what if my sale doesn’t go well?!?!?!? I’m so scared!
- Oh my God, my partner doesn’t support my business!!! I’m so upset!
- Oh my God, what if I screw up my enrollment conversation?!?!?! I’m so nervous!
- Oh my God, my ad performed terribly!!! I’m so depressed!
- Oh my God, there’s so much to do!!! I’m so overwhelmed.
Scared. Upset. Nervous. Depressed. Overwhelmed.
Remember: “If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion, Or, quite possibly, a destructive one.”
What could we do instead? What could we do in spite of the emotion? How could we turn this situation into a positive?
Those are the questions you could ask.