How Successful People Achieve Emotionally Agility & Consistency
Consistency is the gold standard of a good life because it means you’re unstoppable: you will show up
Human beings speak about 16,000 words a day on average. Just imagine how many unspoken ones run through our minds. The large majority of them are not facts, but judgments entwined with emotions.
All healthy human beings have an inner trajectory of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That’s simply our minds doing what they were designed to do: anticipating and solving problems, and avoiding potential challenges or failures.
Why Be Emotionally Consistent?
The prevailing wisdom says that we should be emotionally consistent — not by denying our emotions, but rather by using our attention, our most important asset, to cultivate this essential capacity for inner consistency.
Consistency is the gold standard of a good life because it means you’re unstoppable: you will show up — regardless of how bad the emotions or situation you are facing. Most people, however, willingly match their behavior to the extreme emotions they feel.
Much of the power inconsistency is psychological. As they say, mind over matter. When life is a rollercoaster, we have to identify things that help us remain rooted and generate positive emotions to keep ourselves afloat.
At the same time, there is a fine line between actively managing your emotions, as well as being an overthinker. Getting hooked onto your thoughts and constantly rationalizing why you feel a certain way can create a lot of internal chatter, unnecessarily sapping up cognitive resources that could be put to better use.
Familiar? This is an incredibly common issue, often perpetuated by self-management strategies. When we get anxious about work, unemployment, jealous of other’s successes, fear rejection, or feel distressed, we use positive affirmations and to-do lists to help calm our nerves and set us back on track.
Yet, we struggle with the same issues year on year, never truly overcoming this phenomenon since childhood. Clearly, these methods we have adopted to minimize or streamline our thoughts often just serves to amplify them.
Here’s the thing. Successful people don’t try to control or shove our emotions aside — instead, they approach them in a mindful way, navigating their emotions with agility.
How Can We Develop Emotional Agility?
1. Identify the trigger of our emotions — more often than not, the underlying cause is failure or rejection, and how these experiences make us feel.
The closer the matter is to our heart, the more likely it is for our emotions to fluctuate when things turn awry. Being able to understand this and keep your cool allows you to stay rational and make logical judgments even if you are under tremendous pressure.
Anger is often a default state for people who feel threatened or vulnerable. It’s their way of projecting this on to others to shirk responsibility. Emotional intelligent people are more authentic than those who are unable to stay calm when shaken.
2. Being introspective, recognizing and accepting our patterns
If we know the fear of failure is something that is likely to create anxiety which can lead to unplanned emotional outbursts, we should first understand that it is completely normal to feel that way. Acceptance is the opposite of control, and being able to embrace these feelings is the first step to managing them well.
Here’s a reminder that nothing in life comes easy. Failure will be a constant, as long as you are on a journey of self-improvement and learning and experiencing new things. That said, no human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you bounce back from these setbacks, the better you become as a person.
3. Label our thoughts and emotions
Humans are psychologically able to adopt a helicopter view of personal experiences, aka. analyzing the situation they are in and how they feel from a thirds-person’s POV, which can improve behavior and well-being.
4. Build habits & act on our values
Ensure our actions are in line with our values and habits. These are the things that form the foundation of our emotional stability. Being self-aware and conscious of our thoughts and emotions allows us to respond to situations in the most optimal way.
“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” – Chris Hardwick
It isn’t easy to become emotionally consistent — we are human after all. That said, baby steps and building mini habits will help us constantly move forward and grow.
The best way to get over challenges in life is to move forward.
The best way to continue an incredible life is to move forward.
TLDR; move the fuck on.
Consistently grappling with your emotions in a healthy way can propel us forward. Choose the most important areas in your life (80/20 rule!) and minify them into small, actionable daily tasks.
Keep moving forward!