Transforming unwanted emotions into something more useful

A time of change can sometimes bring us unwanted emotions such as frustration, anger, fear, and sadness.

When this happens our first response is often to want these emotions to go away.

But if we pause for a moment, and remember that every problem is an opportunity, we can learn to transform these unwanted emotions into useful allies.

Frustration and anger can be converted into Passion
Anger and frustration show us what we care about — we want the opposite of what has happened.
So if we pause for a moment and realise this then we can use the situation to get clearer on what we want instead and look for new ways to achieve that.
Then we give ourselves the opportunity to transform our anger into clarity, focus, passion, and determination. To make the meaning of our own lives.

Fear can become Courage
Fear comes from imagining something that hasn’t yet happened: it is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real‘.
Courage isn’t an absence of this fear: it is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
So if we use our fear to get clearer on what most inspires us then we can put ourselves back in control. Then we can choose how much effort we want to put into achieving the outcome we seek, including managing the risks and building the inspiration, determination, and enthusiasm to outweigh our fear.
In this way we transform the word Fear from meaning ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ to meaning ‘Face Everything And Rise’.

Sadness can be turned into Aliveness and Joy:
Sadness is a sign that we have lost something important to us. The opposite of sadness is aliveness and joy.
We feel most alive when we are working in line with our purpose and values: the way we find our purpose and values is by asking ourselves when we felt most alive.
So if we know how to let go of what we have lost and turn to face the future then we can transform our feelings of loss into a focus on rebuilding what we care about most, better than before.
In these ways we can turn sadness into joy, exhilaration, and flow.

The unwanted emotions we can sometimes feel during this time of change are just temporary feelings. We weren’t feeling them a week ago and we won’t be feeling them a week from now. Remembering this we can see them as useful signposts to point us towards what we care about most. Then we can shift our focus away from avoiding what we don’t want to putting time and energy into building what we want instead.

This is another step towards becoming antifragile.

Have you or the people around you been feeling any unwanted emotions lately? Would it be useful to transform those emotions into the focus and inspiration that will lead you to where you want to be instead?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By keith ellwood via StockPholio.net

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