Last week, I was riding my bike to work with a much needed pit stop at the Apple Store to try and save an old hard drive. It was a way overdue task and I was anxious. About 10 blocks from my destination I came across a truck blocking the right lane and a street car was stopped in the left lane, traffic was stopped. I rode up on the sidewalk bypassing the traffic jam. A few blocks later, I was stopped at a red light when another cyclist pulled up next to me, “Bikes are not allowed on the sidewalk!” he squawked at me.

“I know” I replied.

“Then why are you going on the side walk?” he responded.

The light turned green and I carried on choosing to check my emotions and not to react. After another kilometre or so, I crossed the street and jumped up onto the sidewalk in order to get to the bike rack in front of the Apple Store. I admit, I got up on the sidewalk a little early, probably half a block from the bike rack. That’s when I saw the same guy in front of me again, he had crossed the street as well and positioned his bike across the sidewalk blocking me, yelling, “What didn’t you understand? Why do you think the rules don’t apply to you?”

That’s when I let my emotions get the best of me. I lost my cool and decided to speed up instead of slowing down. I rode right into him, knocking him to the sidewalk while yelling, “Are you a cop? Are you going to give me a ticket? I am locking my bike right there.” I am sure some other more aggressive words came out of my mouth as well. A spark had been lit, I had been poked and I exploded. I let my emotions affect my judgement.

“Intensity makes you stronger. Emotionalism makes you weaker.” – John Wooden

When I find myself in a state of intensity, I produce my best work. I feel strong and most importantly, I feel confident. The people around me feel a degree of love that is inspirational. That day I did not produce great work and I actually felt weak.

When I allow my emotions, whether positive or negative to take over, my judgement is clouded, my decisions are not made using proper logic, the quality of my work goes down and I don’t inspire great work from those around me.

Emotionalism destroys consistency. Any leader who is ruled by emotions produces a team whose performance is all about ups and downs with a high degree of unpredictability.

When I allow my behaviour to get the better of me, I am inviting it from others. When you let your emotions take over, you will always be out manoeuvred, outplayed and eventually lose.

Intensity is something to value in yourself and those that surround you.

Seek to perform from a high degree of intensity with great emotional discipline. It’s the winning formula.

Author

9 Comments

  1. Well said Craig. I like the differentiator your draw between intensity and being emotional. It’s a subtle line sometimes but I find when I can catch myself before crossing it, everyone does better.

    • You got it Ben. The key is catching ourself before it happens, but even if we catch ourself afterwards it is still beneficial

  2. Bravo! Well said, Craig. It is so easy to get lost in the “rightness” of our position that we forget the power of calm, direct intensity.

    • Thanks Jeremy. I calmed down yes, was embarrassed and he scurried away.

  3. Great post once again! Up until now I didn’t know that there was a big difference between the two. I always thought of the two as productive emotion vs unproductive emotion. I really like the word intensity, it gives this abstract but relatable feeling its own uniqueness and value. But the biggest question that I’ve always had is how do you generate intensity on que? The only person that comes to mind is Tony Robbins that teaches a bunch ways but I’ve always found it hard to generate intensity on que without some sort of prior motivation. One tactic I use frequently is to watch these two short videos before starting an important project and it works for me most of the time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jwWYX7Jlo | http://youtu.be/mk82j1jQw_8?t=1m But it would be nice to hear how others do it.

  4. Fear and anger are the two emotions most responsible for sabotaging
    your clarity and leading to bad decisions. Productive action rarely occurs when we are influenced by anger. The key is to use negative emotions to spur positive energy.

    • Isaiah do you have any posts that talk about leveraging negative emotions? How do you turn negative emotions like I had (wanting to literally tackle the guy) into positivity?

Reply To Sandra Cancel Reply