Using Negative Emotions to Get More Done and End Up Being a Happier Person Besides With Dr. Ed Daube
Welcome to the Real Fast Results podcast! One of the things that this show is all about is helping you to see actual results in your business and in your life. There are a variety of potential obstacles that can impede you, or slow you down. Week to week, the episodes of this show provide you with specific steps on what you could do to help your business to grow. The shows are also meant to help you look inward and help you identify those characteristics of yourself which might actually be keeping you from having more success. You may be self-sabotaging. Or you may just have the breaks on in some aspects of your life or your business, and it’s keeping you from getting as much done as you would otherwise.
Dr. Ed Daube is a psychologist who has a great grasp on not only the inner workings of people’s brains, but also how we can shift the paradigm of our minds slightly so that the negative aspects of our thoughts and emotions can actually help us to be even more productive. So, today’s interview is all about how to use negative emotions to get more done, faster and how to be a happier person besides. Introducing Dr. Ed Daube…
Emotions Are Positive Not Negative
I want you to understand that there’s no such thing as negative emotions. People label them as negative because of the results that they experience like, “Procrastination is negative because I don’t get things done.” In fact, all emotions are positive because they help us move forward. Let’s talk about procrastination.
Procrastination And The Emotion It Causes
This is an excellent topic, and it’s an excellent topic because most people don’t get things done because they procrastinate. And when they procrastinate, they put things off. Take Real Fast Book as an example. The information given to people in that product is great, but people can’t use it because they are procrastinating. They are afraid to move forward. Before we get to that, you talk about negative emotions.
We experience procrastination as putting things off, delaying, “I can’t get this done,” but underneath procrastination is the emotion of anxiety. Let me quickly say what emotions are. We have emotions because they alert us to threats in our environment and they prepare us to deal with those threats. That’s what emotions are. What anxiety is, it’s future-based emotions. We’re constantly scanning our surroundings, and we come across a threat, and then our anxiety tells us that there’s a threat.
How do we use that? Well, when we feel anxious, that tells us we’re facing something. Usually, when we want to work on a book or a project at work, the threat is, “What if it doesn’t work out?” Or “What if it all goes to heck in a hand-basket and turns bad?” Then, when we ask that question “what if”, we then react, and this is the problem. We react to our anxiety as if that’s the only option available. If it were true that things were going to go to “heck in a hand-basket,” then it would make sense to put it off, but it isn’t necessarily true.
When we are aware of that, we can then turn our anxiety into anticipation, and use the energy or anticipation, which is a healthy energy, to move forward on the project. We get happy about moving forward, and we end up not only happy about what we’re doing, but finishing the project. That’s it in a nutshell; that’s the overview. We’ll go into more detail as we progress here.
It’s about acknowledging a feeling and interpreting that feeling differently that we normally would. Let me give you a quick example. Look at the smoke detector in your house. It’s designed to alert you to the presence of a fire. When it does that, you then are prepared to get out of the house, follow through on your action plan, do whatever you need to do in case of a fire, and you’re protected.
But, sometimes the smoke detector goes off in the middle of the night, or it goes off when you’ve burnt your toast. It’s the same smoke detector, but now the message is, “No. There’s no threat.” If you blame the smoke detector and you turn it off, or the battery is low and you don’t replace it, this could allow your house to burn down.
Your emotion is like a smoke detector, it alerts you to possible threats, but it doesn’t always give you accurate information. For example, maybe your anxiety is telling you, “Okay, I’m avoiding doing my book. I’m anxious about that; I’m nervous… Maybe it’s because I haven’t done all of my preparation… Maybe it’s because I’m not ready to write yet because I need to do more work.” But, sometimes that anxiety will give you incorrect information, “There is no threat.” That’s where we turn it into anticipation and move forward.
How To Overcome Anxiety Caused by Procrastination
When you find yourself procrastinating, putting things off, or you find yourself with writer’s block and you can’t move forward; the next step is to acknowledge, or validate, that you’re anxious. You don’t go with the flow here. You don’t react. You’re not going to move into a response mode. When you begin to feel that, your first question, and you’re asking it anyway, is “What if?” What if things go to heck in a hand-basket? That’s the question you’re asking yourself, and you need to recognize that. So now you can turn that around.
Step 1 – Acknowledge the Emotion
The first step, again, is to validate and recognize that you’re anxious, and you do that by the behavior that you’re engaging in. You’re procrastinating, and it’s telling you, “I’m anxious”. So, instead of saying, “What if it goes to heck in a hand-basket,” ask the question, “What if things go right,” and “What is it that I’m reacting to? What’s the threat that’s out there?”
Usually, it’s something like, “Well, you know, if I write this book, what if people don’t like it? Or, what if it’s not everything I want it to say? Or, what if it doesn’t get all of the reviews that I want?” Okay, the next question is, “Yeah, what if… suppose it doesn’t, can I survive that? Can I survive the fact that people don’t like it? Yes, I can. Can I learn from it? Yes.”
If I can survive the threat that’s keeping me from acting and causing me to procrastinate, then I no longer have to worry about it. I can move through it. So, if I can survive it, now the next question is, “Well, wait a minute… What if it goes well? What if people do like it? What if it’s well-received?” If it’s well received that’s exactly what I want, so now, there’s no longer any anxiety.
I can anticipate the fact that it’s going to go well, and I can move forward. That’s how you turn it from anxiety into anticipation. You begin to question what it is that you are afraid of, can I survive it, and if I can, I don’t have to be afraid of it anymore. It may happen, and it may not.
“Even if it does happen, I can survive it.” That’s the critical issue. I don’t have to be afraid of it anymore, and if I don’t have to be afraid of it, I don’t have to procrastinate and put it off. I can go after it and do what I have to do. So, Step #1 would be to acknowledge the emotion.
Step 2 – Evaluate That Emotion
Step #2 would be to critically evaluate that emotion, and where it’s coming from, and whether or not you could survive it. What’s the worst case scenario, and whether or not you can survive that worst case scenario? Once you’ve kind of made that determination that what you’re doing isn’t going to lead to your demise, you can lip the coin and say, “This could turn out really good if I just keep going.”
Anxiety, as an emotion, leads us to avoid the possible threat, and that energy moves us away from what we want to do. The flip side of anxiety, even though it’s the same energy and the same emotion, is anticipation. So, you’re not changing that emotion. You’re just flipping it to the other side. You’re using that same energy, but now that energy is pushing you towards what you want, instead of away from it.
The other nice thing about this is if you have Googled “procrastination,” what you’ve likely been told is that you need to set goals. They need to be goals that you can do, and you need to go after it. None of that’s going to work if you don’t understand anxiety the way that it was just explained.
What you are now empowered to do is take that energy, to recognize it, and to turn it around so that it now works for you and energizes you to move forward on whatever project it is that you’re facing. That’s the power of using your emotions as tools. It’s the same emotion; you’re just recognizing it and turning it from avoidance into approach and being energized by it. That’s the power of using emotions as tools.
If you understand this, then you’ll now have a tool in your “tool bag” that you can use whenever a situation comes up that you’re avoiding. If there’s something that you’re not moving forward on, you now have the power in your hands, instead of reacting to the emotion and feeling un-empowered and unable to do anything about it. That’s the power of using emotions as tools and anxiety.
Step 3 – I Can Do This
When you find yourself procrastinating, instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” you can say, “I can do this. I can move forward.” When you say, “I can move forward,” the next question is, “What do I need to do to do that?” It isn’t just the power of positive thinking, “I can do this, I can, I can, I can.” That’s nice, but it’s not enough. When you go from, “I have to avoid this, which is what my anxiety is telling me to… Wait a minute. My anxiety is telling me I can do this.”
Step 4 – What Do I Need To Do
Then, the next step is, “What do I need to do.” Now you can use all of the information that you’re taking in from this podcast. Now you can use that “how-to” because you’ll be energized to take advantage of the information, not only that you’re learning from Real Fast Results, but that’s out there in the books that you’ve read and so forth. You are now empowered to use that information.
You need to take action. You need to do whatever it is that you now realize is in front of you. You need to take action on the steps that you’ve laid out to get the job done. If you don’t take action, nothing gets done, no matter how prepared you are or how excited you are. The information is out there on the steps that you need to take. If you are writing a book, for example, you already know how to do that because this has been laid out for you, probably multiple times. The information is available, and now you need to take the steps, or the action on what you need to do.
The steps are that once you’ve acknowledged your anxiety, because you are procrastinating, you need to ask, “Now, wait a minute, what’s the threat? What is it that I’m avoiding?” You answer that, and you can write it down, by the way. That’s a very powerful technique. Write down the answers to the questions you’re asking because then you can look at that piece of paper, and you can look at the threat that you’re avoiding, and you can then move to the next step of, “What if it goes right, and if it goes right, what do I need to do to make it happen?” Write those steps down and then act on those steps.
Now what you’ve done is, you don’t only have those steps in front of you of what you need to do, you’ve got your goals. You need to turn those steps into goals, and take action on those steps, and your book gets done, or whatever it is. You should have all of the information that you need to move forward, but you actually have to do it.
Let’s say that it’s not writing a book that you’re avoiding. Maybe you’re afraid to ask your boss for a raise, or you’ve been avoiding the task of asking your spouse about finances. Maybe you’re thinking about talking to your kids about their friends. This solution applies to all of that.
It’s the same process. Now, what you need to do is focus on the question of, “What if?” Think about, “What if things go well? What if my book is well-received? What if I ask for that raise and the boss says ‘yes’? What if I talk to my kid about their friends, and instead of him/her going up to their room and slamming the door, they say, ‘Well, yeah, I need to think about that…’?”
When you focus on that, “What if,” that question itself, and the answer to it, is exciting because I can get excited about my book being well-received or about my boss giving me a raise. I can get excited about whatever it happens to be… talking to my spouse. When I get excited about that, I am motivated to move forward to get that job done. I can now sit down and ask, “What do I need to do? What’s my next step? What is the next step in the process? What haven’t I done? What do I need to prepare myself for in talking to my kids? What information do I need to have in talking to my boss when he asks me, ‘Well, why do you think you need a raise?’”
It’s asking the question, “What if everything goes right?” Getting excited about it and focusing your attention on that, when you focus your attention on that, you’re then motivated to take the next step. That’s how it all fits together. What you’re doing is using anticipation, the anticipation of what good might happen, to actually propel you forward. You’re going to be motivated to take the next step in whatever process you’re working through because you’re anticipating good things happening.
Allow yourself to be carried away with that emotion, whereas before being carried away by anxiety and the concern for the possible bad results that could come about. Now you’re allowing yourself to use that same energy and allowing yourself to get carried away by the positive results that you want and you can now make happen. It’s the same energy, except now you’ve turned it around and flipped it on its side so that it’s working for you as a tool, instead of against you.
Connecting With Dr. Daube
My email is TheEmotionsDoctor@gmail.com. My website and blog can be found at TheEmotionsDoctor.com. I post weekly entries about emotions there, and you can also leave comments. I’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions about emotions, go to my website and leave a comment or send me an email.
I have a book out as well, and by the way, I procrastinated before I started that project. I used the exact same technique that I’ve just taught you in order to get my own book written. My book is called Emotions as Tools: A Self Help Guide to Controlling Your Life Not Your Feelings. It’s available on Amazon, but you can also go to my website and download the first chapter for free. I hope that you will do that.
Real Fast Book helped me to write this book, and it also helped me to write my second book, which is Beyond Anger Management: Master Your Anger. This is a strategic tool that you can use, and the first chapter of this book is available on my website as well. Head on over there and check it out.
Daniel’s Real Fast Results Tip: Emotions
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