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As a parent of a 19-month old, I work with teaching my daughter each day to control her emotions. Everyone, as a child, experienced a struggle to control their emotions. My daughter, for example, has thrown herself on the floor to cry, because she is mad that we won't let her do something.
This is part of growing up, kids want to do something and as a parent you can't let them do it for safety reasons. Now, the struggle comes with trying to teach our daughter how to control those emotions.
I don't expect my daughter to know how to perfectly control her emotions at 19-months old, but we are beginning to teach her, because it is an important characteristic of successful people.
I see the same struggles as a teacher of middle school students. These students still have not figured out how to control their emotions. This is not all of the students, but most of the students still struggle with keeping their emotions in check.
I have this conversation multiple times during the school year with students. They let their emotions get the best of them, and I, as a coach, talk to them about the choice they made. Then we discuss how they could have handled it differently.
As parents, we teach it to our kids.
As a school, we teach it to our students.
As Adults, we must expect ourselves to control our emotions!
I got the idea for this article from Chris Hogan at Ramsey Solutions. I was listening to his podcasts over a year ago and he was talking about the 10 characteristics of highly successful people. He connected this topic to people winning with money. A successful person is somebody who is reaching their goals and is making progress.
Success can look different depending on the type of person, but all of the successful people have some characteristics in common. Over the past year, I have been diving into each specific topic that Chris shared in that specific podcast. In the podcast and article connected to the podcast, Chris Hogan stated the following:
Emotionally mature. Few volatile leaders become successful. Those who lead well can stay calm under stress. They understand the value of responding rather than reacting. They recognize when their emotions are getting out of control and practice good strategies for handling them.
I took emotionally mature to mean "control your emotions." As I shared above, children are not emotionally mature to manage their emotions 100% of the time, however, adults should be able to control their emotions. They should be able to calmly and rationally talk through a problem with their co-workers or employees.
However, this does not always happen in the workforce or in life. Today, more than ever, it seems that we let our emotions get the best of us. We get into arguments and let emotions cloud our vision.
Growing up and even into my young adult life, I struggled with my emotions. I would bottle things up and then all of the sudden I would explode. This happened early on with my classes and even family. However, I have grown a lot in the past 7 years and I don't let my emotions get the best of me. Some of you may be struggling with the same thing.
From my experience, I will tell you that I am happier today than I ever was before I learned how to control my emotions. From my experience, I learned that anyone can change and you can learn how to control their response to people (it's not only people, but advertisements and stuff also).
To take control of your finances, you have to become emotionally mature enough to make tough choices. Below is a list of ways that you can take control of your finances by becoming emotionally mature.
Number ONE: Shopping
- The Problem
- This could be at the car dealership, the mall or the furniture store. You find this amazing item that you just have to have! You fall in love with it! It's your style and you know the perfect spot for it in your house (or driveway).
- You are emotionally attached to that item. You want it badly. These emotions will cause you to throw boatloads of money at stuff! This can lead to loads of debt and loads of stuff.
- Action Steps
- Don't just wander into stores, have a plan for what you need or want to get.
- If you do find something that you love, WAIT!
- Go home and sleep on big purchases and even small purchases.
- A lot of times, you will realize that you really didn't need that thing you fell in love with.
Number TWO: Watching Television
- The Problem
- The average American watches 5 hours and 11 minutes of TV a day and 24% of that time is commercials.
- Over the course of a week, the average American watches just under 9 hours of commercials.
- Anytime you watch a TV show, the ads are trying to make you believe that an item is a 'must have.'
- Nobody is immune and their ads are made with a lot research to push their 'stuff' on you.
- For example, I have found myself craving something I saw on a commercial from Olive Garden.
- Action Steps
- Don't believe that you can just be smarter than the advertisement industry.
- Watch less TV with ads.
- Watch more Netflix or Hulu without the ads.
- Watch more rented movies from Redbox or even from the free version, "the library."
- Basically, be intentional about your TV watching!
Number THREE: Home Ownership
- The Problem
- Too many people don't know how much house they can afford.
- Too many people get house fever.
- Too many people bite off more house than they can chew.
- Too many people believe they need McMansions.
- Too many people believe they must furnish every square foot of their new home.
- Too many people use a 2nd mortgage or equity to remodel.
- Action Steps
- Understand that renting is okay, until you can afford a home.
- Save up a good down payment!
- Don't go look at homes until you are ready to purchase.
- Either crunch the numbers or go talk to a financial professional about a good budget.
- Stay under budget.
- Refinancing is okay, but don't just refinance to remodel your house (check out the ad I got in my e-mail from my mortgage lender).
The advertisement above shows exactly how you can become emotionally charged to make a rash decision. Why would I use the equity that I have been working so hard to payoff to go deeper into debt?
Number FOUR: At Work
There may not be a problem, just action steps. Your boss or your co-workers will not appreciate somebody blowing up and losing their cool. You may not lose your job the first time or the second time, but your employer is not going to keep putting up with an employee that cannot control their emotions.
The same thing with a leader. A leader will have a hard time keeping employees around if they are constantly yelling at them. There is a fine line to balance and a leader losing their cool too many times can lead to high employee turnover.
Number FIVE: At Home
Just like at work, a loss of emotions can have a huge impact on the household. In my earlier article, "The Fruits of a Beautiful Partnership," I discussed the importance of treating each other respectfully. Anyone in a relationship that loses control of their emotions will hurt their partner or spouse.
This can affect the home in many ways:
- Loss of respect for the partner.
- Damaged relationship with both spouses and children.
- A damaged relationship can lead to distractions at work, which can hurt your productive value to a company.
- A damaged relationship can hurt the couples ability to work together.
- A damaged relationship can lead to a divorce.
From not working together or being on the same page to divorce, a fractured relationship will affect your success in and out of the home.
NUMBER SIX: The "What If" Factor
Successful people don't delve on what could have been, but instead they focus on the what can happen. They don't worry about the past, but focus on goals that will help them succeed today. For example, a successful person doesn't dream of winning the lottery, instead they go out and make their own luck!
They have a goal and make that goal happen, without worrying about their past failures. You can fixate on all the things that have kept you down in the past, or you can change your focus. You can focus on ways to succeed and focus on a path towards your goals.
NUMBER SEVEN: No Such Thing As Perfection
Somebody that is successful understands that success is never perfect and there are times that failure will occur. Nobody is perfect and you can't expect everybody in your life to be perfect.
Someone who expects perfection every time will have a hard time controlling their emotions. You can expect too much and thus it leads to disappointment. There is nothing wrong with high expectations, but there is such a thing as unrealistic expectations.
Just remember that everyone makes mistakes and that they need a little grace. It's always better to treat with respect and understand the error instead of blowing up on someone.
In the End, It's About Controlling Yourself
There are many different aspects to controlling your emotions. I focused on two main ways (controlling your spending and controlling your interactions). Ultimately, it's the basic idea of controlling yourself. You must take control of your everyday actions or you won't be successful.
From emotions to spending to eating to exercise, it's all connected. Part of my emotional change came when I started to worry about the things I can control. I didn't focus on the little things that were out of my realm of control and my emotional maturity began to grow. You can do the same! You can change your emotional reaction to things and your life will be 100 times better. Believe me!
Reaching the Financial Summit, Begins with You!
Note: I mentioned that I have written other articles in the Rich Habits series. You can check them out at the following links:
- Respect is the Key to Success - May 28, 2018
- The Dangers of Gambling - February 26, 2018
- Protective versus Reactive - August 7, 2017
- Rich Habit: Have Fun - July 3, 2017
- One Thing That We Can Learn From Rogue One - January 23, 2017
- The Power of Positivity - January 19, 2017
- Rich Habit: Try New Things - January 9, 2017
- Imagination - December 21, 2016
- The Importance of Resiliency - November 29, 2016
- We Can All Be Millionaires - September 6, 2016
Note #2: By the time anybody reads this article, my wife and I will be parents for the second time! Wish us luck, we as we begin living in a household of four! I will have an article later in the month to share how our first couple weeks have gone!