“If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion. Or, quite possibly, a destructive one.” – Ryan Holiday

There is power in this observation.

It isn’t an invitation to be unemotional. It’s not a good strategy to stifle all emotion.

It is an opportunity to pause before expressing emotion.

There are times I have been angry and expressed it as soon as I felt it. I didn’t choose my words. I didn’t consider how the other person would receive it. And, as the quote asserts, it didn’t improve things. It made them worse.

If you look back over the last year and consider interpersonal mistakes, what role did misplaced emotion have in them?

If the answer is that it was a consistent factor, perhaps some analysis is in order. Which of your emotional reactions got the worst results? How could they have been handled differently? What will be your strategy when these emotions rise again?

Where was emotion effective? Is there a difference in terms of how the emotion was expressed?

We control the pause. It’s ok to say, “I’m upset, but I want to talk about this when some of the emotion wears off.”

Emotions are tricky. Sometimes the pause is brief, and you express it because urgency requires it. But you’ll be more effective in all your roles, especially the big ones, if you engage “the pause” in your tool kit.