Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, was known for pithy, uplifting quotes like “Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry,” “Change your thoughts and you change your world,” and “When you get up in the morning, you have two choices — either to be happy or to be unhappy. Just choose to be happy.”
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to do a “quick-fix” on difficult thoughts and emotions; the human brain doesn’t work that way. Thousands of thoughts and feelings course through our minds each day. And trying to avoid, ignore or “manage” the negative ones only make them more powerful. My colleague Christina Congleton and I wrote an article about this for HBR in November, encouraging readers to build something we call “emotional agility” – that is, the ability to attend to and use one’s inner experiences (both good and bad) in a more mindful, productive way.
The first step in the process is to understand your patterns: Do you buy into your negative thoughts and emotions? (Wow. I really blew that presentation. I’m not doing any more public speaking.) Or do you avoid them? (Just forget about the presentation. Focus on something else.) Or both?
The response to the article has been so strong that we’ve worked with HBR to develop an interactive assessment designed to help you with this first part of the process and then offer advice tailored to your specific profile. Click here to take the assessment.