For the past 50-60 years it has been popular to relegate the very relevant and powerful dimension of emotions to the category of “to be controlled”. On one hand, we talk all the time about how confidence, which is a a feeling more than anything, is so important in all domains: markets, politicians, sports…. and yet we fail to actually systematically and directly work with it or any of the other feelings that get in the way of performance.
What you say? We fail to systematically work with? Really? Aren’t there an endless number of coaches and methods for dealing with the vagaries of the illusive, ephemeral whims of confidence, fear and all of their cousins?
Well yes there are many people trying but I am really talking about an underlying coherent theory of what the subject matter is about and then the follow on logical approach to dealing with it. THAT we don’t yet fully have.
But we are close. The Boston ladies (forgive me in advance) Jennifer Lerner of Harvard’s Lab on Judgment and Decision Making and Lisa Feldman Barrett head of the Interdisciplinary Lab on Affective Neuroscience down the highway at Northeastern are both putting forward new conceptions around what we have relegated to “animal spirits”. Like me, these women don’t appear to be content to allow what on some levels we all realize is /the/ most important factor in all of our endeavors- the underlying context of feelings (or the “fC” as I like to cal it) – to continue going on being swept under the intellectual rug.
I encourage you to read both. We are going beyond animal spirits and we are moving quickly!
Here are a few links.
The Science of Emotion by Barrett.
A number of papers – but the “Government Executive” is a perfectly good place to start.
More importantly, I encourage to rethink feelings and emotions. Think of them first as data… then as something to be analyzed and understood and only third as something to fuel your actions – particularly when they are hiding outside of your awareness.