Baltasar Gracian, a Jesuit scholar who lived in the 17th century, once observed: “With modest intelligence and a high degree of restraint on one’s emotions, anyone could master a situation and be successful.”
On a similar note, Charles Darwin wrote in the book The Descent of Man - “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.” When psychologists isolate the personal qualities that predicts positive outcome in life, they consistently find two traits: intelligence and self-control.
While this book is primarily on Self-Management and Influencing Others, it draws heavily from the above two considerations to recognize that thought control is a vital component of emotional maturity. I personally believe that the most important corner stone for self-management is our emotional stance and its relation to our emotional muscle or our emotional palette. All negative emotions that we suffer, becomes much more manageable as we become aware of them. Restraints on one’s emotion as Baltasar Gracian once said or ‘Management of Negative Emotions’, is also achieved when we learn to interrupt our thoughts that lead to such feelings. Since self-management is more complicated and a precursor to influencing others, we will first discuss self-management.
The corner stone for influencing others, for me lies in understanding human personalities, which is also an important component of self-management. We should realize very early on that our personality is one of the many causes for the reason we behave the way we behave. And to manage ourselves better, we need to be totally aware of our motives, our behavior under stress and our natural bias, based on our personality.
To effectively influence others, it is important to understand that people have different types of personalities. People with personality unlike ours, have different traits, likes, dislikes and character.
Based on these, it is important to realize that as a consequence they may also have a completely different set of motivators leading to different behaviors.
Your ability to effectively influence and manage another person becomes directly proportional to your ability to effectively manage yourself first. If you cannot manage yourself effectively – you cannot manage someone else effectively.
In the next two chapters I will discuss various components of our emotional stance and broad based concepts of human personality. Then we shall move on to discuss various related components, such as how and why different people metabolize information differently. It forms the foundation for the most crucial characteristic of this book - Non Negotiated Expectations (NNE). Once I have effectively defined Non-Negotiated Expectations, I will come back to emotional stance and human personality related concepts, to clearly define a roadmap which would help increase our emotional strength. Then I will progress to more details on Human Personality and the required skill sets that bring us closer to self-management and influencing others.
As we progress through this book, we will understand how all these subjects are heavily interlinked and reliant on each other. Knowledge of this is crucial towards a journey in self discipline and self-management and you will see how it all begins with thought control process. Because: if you cannot control what you think, you cannot control what you do.