Practical Philosophy

You must learn to control your emotions

A few years ago, I went out with some friends. We were crossing the road, when a van tried to push through the red light and beeped at us to “hurry up”. One of my friends, in a sudden fit of rage, kicked the van. Yep, he actually kicked the van. I didn’t really know how to react. I asked “are you alright?” He pretended like nothing happened, but it was pretty clear he regretted his outburst.

Losing your cool in public often causes you to look ridiculous. While you may think it is a display of your passion and standing up for yourself, more often than not, it makes you look like a fool. Why? Because other people watching you are not feeling those same emotions. To them, you just look like a man who has lost all self-control.

In the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, his first lesson is that we must learn to control our emotions. Emotions throw reason and judgement out of the window. The last time I got seriously angry, I broke a clothes hanger and damaged my wallpaper. Humiliating. I regretted it later. When we cannot control our emotions, we lose self-control. Without self-control, we cannot possibly follow any logical plans to better our lives.

Because most people are driven by emotions, it is also important to manage your words or face unintended consequences.

8 replies on “You must learn to control your emotions”

[…] One of the key doctrines of Stoicism is that of Perception. Essentially, we need to perceive what truly matters to protect our minds. The first thing we should do is to filter out what is entirely out of our control. Like getting pissed off by a parked car. That will never end and you will end up getting entirely derailed because you cannot control your emotions. […]

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