Intensity and Legitimacy Are Not the Same: How Not to Be Hornswoggled by Strong Feelings

by | Dec 12, 2014

sad-figure-552117_1280I’m going to keep this short because I’m cutting way back on time at the keyboard due to rotator cuff tendinitis. Ouch. No need to send advice (thank you ever so much); I’m getting lots of expert help. But meanwhile, keyboarding is not the best activity.

But personal matters aside, I have a simple point to offer.

In the course of our lives we experience all manner of ups and downs. Sometimes strong feelings result, and we have a natural tendency to be compelled by them. The more intense the feeling, the more compelling it seems.

But there is no necessary correlation between the intensity of a feeling and the truth of your thinking. None. Zero. Nada. A person can be 100% mistaken and feel utterly righteous about their point of view at the same time.

And here’s the deal. When we’re in the grip of intense feelings, our ability to see the truth by reflecting on what’s going on is impaired. We’re not likely to find the truth by thinking longer or harder about things, at least not until we’ve settled way down.

Understanding this can save huge amounts of wear and tear on your relationships, including your relationship with your business or career. The thing to do when you’re extremely worked up is to wait. Let your mind get quiet. No matter what the situation, the wisdom and insight you need to make a good decision will come from being settled down, not from letting strong feelings sway you.

There’s no need to deny or argue with how you feel. You don’t actually need to have an opinion about it. Just know enough to defer action until your thoughts are quieter.

It really is that simple.