Separating Fact From Emotion

April 8, 2019 Scott Miller
 
 
Your emotions and thoughts are just that – emotions and thoughts. They are not, and this is important, usually facts. 
 
 
If you’re at all like me – your internal chatterbox is often set to cruise control. It runs nonstop – usually in the background, just active enough to influence you, but not so active that you notice it and call it out, or shut it down. Sort of like a radio station that plays on a long drive in your car and after 20 mins of daydreaming, you finally snap to and turn it off because it’s irritating once you're aware of it. 
 
As is the key to most areas of life, recognition and acknowledgment is half the battle.
 
Since reading Emotional Agility, I’ve become much more aware of my own “internal chatterbox” and the impact it plays on my mood, mental outlook and in the trajectory of my future conversations and relationships. Have you ever found yourself building a narrative in your mind about how a situation has played out – even before it occurs? When this happens to me, it impacts my frame-of-mind on how I enter a conversation, usually to my detriment. 
 
In a recent interview with the renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Daniel Amen, he shared a similar concept he calls ANTS – Automatic Negative Thoughts. Dr. Amen talks about how our frequently our brains mislead us – constantly putting contrarian thoughts into our minds – even outright lying to us. This concept has haunted me – but in a constructive way. From increased awareness, I now ask myself more freely and often, “Is this true?” Is what I’m thinking right now correct?” “What actual evidence do I have to support my opinion. Why exactly am I’m feeling this way right now?” 
 
I am also more mindful of not creating conclusive narratives in my mind before events occur.  I’m an expert at this. I am supremely confident that my role-plays of other’s positions and views are accurate. If I could amp down my tendency to predict how others will respond, I’d be less anxious and just let others manage themselves and let me manage myself. Hmmm..there’s a thought. Remember, I said, “if.”
 
Let’s say I give myself ample opportunity to be humbled.
 
Remember: facts are facts. Emotions and thoughts…aren’t
 

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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a twenty-three-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts multiple podcasts including FranklinCovey On Leadership and Great Life, Great Career. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multiweek Amazon #1 New Release Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow. Scott authors a weekly leadership column for Inc.com and is a frequent contributor to Thrive Global. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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