You can only win when your mind is stronger than your emotions.

If this is not one of the most difficult lessons in life, I do not know what is.

Suppressing an emotion in favor of logic or strategy is unquestionably a learned skillset. Seldom mastered in the earlier years of life. 

I do not think I have even come close to mastering it. But….

I have grown much stronger in this category, and so should you. Here’s why. (you already know this, but let me spell it out anyway…)

Your emotions are fully capable of running and ruining your life. If we acted out of pure emotion, our jails and courts would be full and society would collapse.

So, from a very early age we are taught how to process our emotions and to compartmentalize them in an intelligent and polite manner. Our thoughts are camouflaged, our desires suppressed, and we traverse the world with our respective paths, expecting that we might arrive at some preconceived destination.

Perhaps that is not the exact reality. Perhaps it is more that our emotions are screaming at us (at times) and (in select cases) get the best of us, causing us to veer right off course, say or do something we will instantly regret and spend hours, minutes, days, years wishing we could undo that moment. What would like be life if there were a real command Z (undo for my Windows friends) and we could go through life, get to a specific point and decide that was wholly the wrong choice, and make it all as if it had never happened? Command Z. Undo.

Sadly, our reality forces us to live with the repercussions of an emotional outburst and through empirical knowledge, we slowly learn that opening our mouths or acting impulsively comes with a very high price to pay.

Given those parameters, we would presume that this should be a discipline that is so important as to be reinforced in home and school all through the formative years.

Our ability to react out of anger, pain, frustration, desire, greed, envy, passion, lust, resentment and other stimuli make us humans the most dangerous creature on Earth. A lion is predictable, as is a great white shark, a black panther, a Bengal Tiger and a poisonous viper. In studying their behavior, an understanding of their danger is far more accurate than a human being. A human can be completely in balance in one minute and with the simple (wrong) sentence coming out of the mouth of another, that first human being can instantly convert into any of the emotions delineated, and more. In a millisecond. That makes us unpredictable, dangerous, and not wholly trustworthy.

Even with the best of intentions, being emotional creatures, we swing with a tide of feelings and circumstances. 

Spock would say, “May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with Humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant.”

But that is also (perhaps) the single greatest joy in being human. Can you imagine a life without any emotion whatsoever? Looking at life like your phone would see life… your responsibilities are designated, you perform them and that should be enough. No reward, no gratitude, no love, no desire, no hope….

So this would eliminate the lump in your throat you get when you behold something of such magnitude that you are overwhelmed with joy. The place in your heart when you read about someone acting larger than life, and you are just so impressed at someone else’s behavior under stress, that intense pleasure you get from hugging someone you love, and so much more is at stake in the emotional landscape.

When you hit a moment where your emotion is getting the better of you, you are well served to make yourself this promise in advance: Promise yourself that whatever negative thing happens in your world, you will not react for at least 24 hours. No matter what. If you are hurt or furious or disappointed or blown away, do not react. If you must react, write a text or email and send it to yourself. NOT to the other person.  Almost every situation that I was dying to react to has looked differently than it did 24 hours earlier.

That said, I still to this day, have not mastered that lesson. I do it by far the majority of times, but not being a Vulcan has its detriments and those human emotions get the better of me. And I have ruined a lot of good things over time by succumbing to them. 

If anything, the pain of those losses has fueled my ability to look at my hand-scribbled sign right under my monitor that says… BLACK BELTS KEEP THEIR MOUTHS CLOSED. And truly, it has been that sign that has saved me many times since I made it. I highly recommend this option because, as I shared before) emotions that damage us come in a millisecond, and our reaction can be equally responsive. In that chasm, I see my sign and my brain tells my emotion to STFU.

I close today with the single thought. Your emotions are the key to your greatest joy in life, treasure them with everything you can muster. But recognize that with those emotions come a very dark, impulsive side that is fully capable of ruining giant things in life, if you are not willing to see them at face value and supervise them with an iron fist (when required).

Happy Monday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!