I really enjoyed this TED talk from Regina Dugan, the former director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Who says we cannot achieve great things if we can overcome the fear of failure?
I firmly believe that to be successful you need to avoid one of the single most negative influences that can affect your progress – listening to other people. Many times those who have goals, dreams or aspirations to achieve great things share them with others they know. Unfortunately, more often than not the opinions we get from others will be negative.
The reason is that most people are trapped in their own fear of failure. That fear is an addiction and they want to make you a part of it. Do not listen. In fact, stop asking for the opinions of others unless you know that they have similar aspirations or are high achievers. Entrepreneurs tend to be this type of person. They see opportunities everywhere and are rarely negative. You need to choose carefully the people you talk to about what you hope to achieve. When in doubt keep it to yourself.
One of the things I’ve noticed most about highly successful people is their ability to control their emotions despite their ups and downs.
Why does emotional control matter?
One might think that you should always celebrate your victories, and simply focus on not getting down when you fail. However, I have found that you must control your emotions in both success AND failure.
In a previous post () I introduced the concept of delayed gratification. The same principle applies when controlling your emotions. If you celebrate too much when good things happen to you, it tends to diminish your drive to continue to push towards your major goals. It can also increase your short-term expectations of achieving a similar “high” and increase the pressure to repeat that feeling quickly.
If you instead get too down on yourself when facing a setback, it can easily erode your confidence and lead to procrastination, negative self-talk and even depression or feelings of hopelessness.
If we learn instead to control our emotions – never getting too high, and never getting too low – we build a sense of inner calmness that can dampen the roller coaster ride we experience every day. We’ll build on our success without losing steam, and bounce back from failures without negative consequences.
Here are a few tips that have worked for me to control my emotions:
1. Separate yourself from the situation: No matter what happens to you, think about it as though it happened to someone else and you were providing that person with advice on their own emotional control. Then drink your own kool-aid. This really works.
2. Stop and breathe: It sounds simple, but when you sense your emotions are heating up you need to slow down. Take a few minutes and breathe deeply and slowly. You will feel a calm develop and it will help you to temper your emotion.
3. Practice: Ah yes. Don’t expect to be good at emotional control without practice. But, if you do practice you will see a big change in your overall success.