Developing Emotions for Personal and Business Success

Manila Bulletin, August 12, 2013 | Go to article overview

Developing Emotions for Personal and Business Success


Admit it or not, our emotions influence the outcome of our best-laid plans and well-intentioned decisions. Any aggravation that may result is hinged in part on the traditional belief that decision-making is largely a rational mental process; there is intrinsic elegance in rationally identifying a problem and arriving at logical solutions. Emotions, especially in business situations, have the inferior image of being unpredictable and may be the money wrench that can waylay plans. As Allison Barnes and Paul Thagard put it: "Emotions are ordinarily conceived as irrational occurrences that cloud judgment and distort reasoning." Being known as "very emotional" may prove to be a setback in professional or business situations.

Emotional fine-tuning, however, is possible without painful personal repression. The process is important given that new studies debunk many neuroscientists' conventional belief that thinking and emotions run on different circuitry. More than just stuff of telenovelas, emotions are central to the functions of the brain and the life of the mind. Using cutting-edge research over a span of 30 years, multi-awarded neuropsychologist and best-selling author Richard Davidson located the bases of emotion in part in the brain's seat of reason, demonstrating an inextricable link that also implies people have a greater ability to rewire the brain by training the mind to become more resilient, less negative and potentially happier.

Improving Your Emotional Style

Davidson describes six aspects that determine your "emotional" style: resilience or the rate of recovery from adversity; outlook or ability to sustain a positive emotion after a joyful event; social intuition, or accuracy in detecting non-verbal cues; self-awareness; and attention, or degree of focus. We need to understand how the interplay of the six dimensions translates to a specific combination of our own emotional signature.

Davidson's neurochemical circuitry model underlies a basic requirement of any effective transformation-awareness is the first step. This would require observing and being aware of our reactions and emotional states given different situations. Our emotions do not happen to us; many of the emotional aspects we experience are unconscious, running as ingrained or developed routine habits deeply wired in the brain. …

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