Friday, May 07, 2010

How to Think Clearly with Emotions

This article continues the series examining clear thinking and explores how emotions distract us from our purpose.

This story is an example of how emotions can effect people at work. I was having trouble with a colleague at work, we were constantly conflicting and it was preventing us from doing our work.

At work I work with Joe, he is bossy. Joe is always telling me what to do. It makes me angry, and I will always tell him to mind his own business. This is always leads to arguments.

After looking at this situation with a clear mind, I noticed my emotions; anger was my first response. The anger was distracting me from thinking about what I said. To stop the arguing I needed a better emotional response.

At work, I used to think Joe was bossy. It would upset me that Joe was always telling me what to do. Getting upset was my first response. Now I don’t get upset, there is no need; I accept his comments as instruction. If Joe’s instruction is inappropriate, I let him know without anger. By removing anger from my response, disagreements don’t escalate into arguments. Differences are discussed and settled.

Changing a Problem into a Solution.

Try to focus the mind more on what is and less on what isn't. Recognise the difference between your reaction and actual events. What really happened and where should your energy be focused?

  • Take responsibility for the situation.
  • Remove anger from the response.
  • Change perspective.

Sometimes the problem is a persons first emotional response. By being aware of your emotions they can be altered to suit the moment.

A person thinking clearly takes responsibility for their thoughts, emotions and actions. This means:

  • Nobody can make a person angry; the person chooses to be angry. There is less conflict when anger is removed, because the fight response isn’t triggered. Try to steer the conversation away from anger.
  • Nobody tells a person what to do; people choose their response and should accept responsibility for their reaction.
  • All choices have an outcome; smart people control their reaction for the best outcome.


The mind is magic, it sees what we want it to see. Owning the thoughts in your head is the first step to happiness. The emotions we have, has a way of colouring our thoughts; bad feelings come from bad thoughts.

By developing good language skills, people can alter the reaction. If you describe events negatively it will bring to mind bad feelings; how we interpret events define them. If we are strong minded our reply won't be controlled by emotions. Power comes from the ability to be in control of your mind.

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