how to master your emotions | emotional intelligence


Emotion. It’s sometimes referred to as the spirit
or the breath of life. It prescribes our actions and colors our world. The one who can master the emotions can master
actions, and the one who masters actions is the master of all future realities. Today we look at the stories of 2 different
men, 2 different world views, 2 different goals, and, ultimately, 2 different paths. This is Alexander. He belives that there are two kinds of people
in the world: the conquerors and the conquered. If you want to be great, you have to become
a conqueror. It’s a dog eat dog world, and only the fit
survive. You have to determine who will conquer with
you and whom you must conquer. Alexander read a lot as a kid. He fell in love with Greek heroes who displayed
the highest virtues: courage and bravery. They were leaders — not followers. He didn’t have much as a kid and had to
work hard for everything he had. This led him to believe that a persons life
is the outcome of their actions and that they must take complete responsibility for what
happens to them. Physically and intellectually, he held himself
to incredibly high standards. There’s no one he wanted to conquer more
than himself, each and every day. One day, he encountered a homeless man. The man asked him for some change. Alexander knew what he was seeing: a conquered
man. How could this man let himself be conquered
so badly? How many mistakes must he have made to end
up in this position? Why doesn’t he take steps to dig himself
out of this hole? Instead, hes taking the lazy way out. He’s trying to take from those who worked
hard for what they have. Those who made good decisions should not be
punished by those who made bad decisions. Alexander knew that if the man wanted to eat,
he needed to learn how to fish and not have fish given to him. He became enraged by the mans weakness. “This man won’t get a penny from me”,
he thought to himself, “that would only enable his destructive behaviors and poor
atittude towards life. By suffering he’ll learn or he’ll die;
that’s the way the world works.” This is Joseph. He believes that there are two kinds of people
in the world: those who can help and those who need to be helped. His father taught him that the highest good
is to serve those who have nothing and to lift them up. Life is difficult, and those who have should
serve those who have not. Joseph read a lot as a kid. He fell in love with various spiritual leaders
who loved all and lived to serve. He grew up quite well off and always felt
indebted to those who didn’t. He felt lucky to have everything that he did. One day, he encountered a homeless man. The man asked him for some change. Joseph knew what he was seeing: a completely
underserved man. This man had been abandoned by society. Joseph felt like weeping. “Imagine how much we have failed as a society
to let someone get to this point,” he thought to himself, “life is so difficult and full
of suffering and based on luck, that anyone of us could end up in his position.” He grabbed all the money he had in his pocket
and handed it to the man. And so, both stories end here. Both men had unique worldviews shaped by their
past experiences. They both percieved the same man in a different
light. Where one saw a weak man, the other saw a
forsakened man. Their perceptions led them to feel different
emotions. There emotions were heavily affected by what
they thought they were seeing. In actuality, both men knew nothing about
the homeless man, and they have no idea what led him to his position. This is often the case in real life. From a young age, both men were surrounded
by an invisible structure referred to as culture or environment. The knowledge they grabbed from this structure
allows them to navigate the world. Alex grew up in a structure of personality
responsibility, of strength & weakness. He can only see people in this way. It’s all he knows. Joseph grew up in a structure of collective
responsibility, of the needy & the fortunate. He can only see people in this way. It’s all he knows. For both men, emotions are tools. In Alex’s world, anger is a useful tool
that allows him to become strong — his highest ideal. In Joseph’s world, compassion is a useful
tool that allows you to become a giver — his highest ideal. One might wonder, if you could change the
invisible structure that surrounds these men, if they reversed the books they read or the
family that they had, would they perceive the world differently? If they percieve the world differently, would
they feel differently? The master of emotions, then, is the one who
can alter the invisible structure around them. This allows them to gather a diverse set of
concepts which allows them to see the same scenario in different ways. They would be neither Alexander or Joseph. They would be both. They could become either one depending on
the circumstances. Take a look at this image. What shapes do you see? You’d probably say a bunch of 3/4 circles
and a square. Technically, there’s actually no square
there. It’s simply a byproduct of how the 3/4 circles
are arranged. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll
always see it there because you’re familiar with the concept of a square. If you never learned what a square was, you’d
never see it there in the image. There’s a layer of meaning hidden in the
negative space. Emotional mastery is about perceiving multiple
layers of meaning in the negative space of life. It’s about seeing all of the potential realities
that could exist. It’s about looking at a homeless man and
seeing that his position could be a byproduct of his personal decisions or the byproduct
of a cultural failure. What I’m not saying is that these men can
think different thoughts and change their emotions in the moment. But, they can experience a different worldview
now, so they see differently in the future. They can find new ways of seeing or interacting
with old things and all they need to do is listen — listen to the world in its many
forms. Had they listened to one anothers perspectives,
or asked the homeless man for his perspective, they might have seen the whole situation in
a new light. As we conclude, let’s return to this image. You probably think that theres nothing more
to this image than the 3/4 circles and the square. But what if I told you that this is actually
just one shape: a rectangle with 4-3/4 circles removed from it. It’s called a FiT rectangle. Just by listening, you now have a new way
of percieving these patterns which was invisible to you before — a new layer of meaning. So, how does one master the emotions? By listening, but more importantly, listening
to points of view that they haven’t heard before or that are contrary to their own. To feel differently, they have to see differently. To see differently, they have to gain knowledge
that they don’t have. To gain knowledge that they don’t have,
they have to experience new things. I think Joseph Campbell said it best, The very cave you are afraid to enter turns
out to be the source of what you are looking for. This video was based on my best understanding
of Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “theory of constructed emotion” which I talked about
in another video. I put a link to it in the description.

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