The Psychology of Success: What the Super-Stars Know Part 5

Welcome back to another “lesson from the lab” and my series on the psychology of success based upon the social & psychological science called Emotional Intelligence.

Previously, I had written about what successful people do really well; and it all has to do with what I call The 3 M’s of Success.

First, people who navigate life on planet earth effectively know how to MANAGE THEIR MELTDOWNS. See the previous newsletter archive to find out one of the most powerful techniques to manage stress in our lives – it is really worth it to take a look!

Second, people who are thriving also MOTIVATE THEMSELVES WITH THE TRICK OF THE TWO MARSHMALLOWS. Honestly, they do. Look up this trick of motivation in the archive as well.

And finally, people who are successful employ the third M – which is, they MANAGE OTHERS BY MOLDING THEIR MESSAGES. No one can be successful in a vacuum; we must learn to work and play well with others. It is so basic, we were taught this in Kindergarten.

In my seminar on this topic, I engage the audience with a fun interactive experiment which proves the sociological fact that emotions are always contagious. Outside of our administrative or technical expertise, the most import thing we bring to the office each day is our own emotional state. The people around us – pick up on our emotions almost immediately.

If this is true, one of the most important decisions we need to make in each moment is: “what emotional state do I want to Project in this situation?” — because, people will tend to pick up on my emotions and then Reflect those back to me.

I learned this mantra in graduate school for becoming a psychologist – “you must project onto the client the emotional state you’d like them to have as well.” Gandhi and Martin Luther King also stated this axiom so wisely; “We must Be the Change We want to See.”

Because emotions are contagious, you have probably experienced this attribution in your own life; have you noticed when you are around someone who is angry – you tend to become defensive? When you are around someone who acts defeated and depressed – you tend to become blue? And when you are around someone who is upbeat and cheerful – your own mood tends to become uplifted?

Whether you are in management, sales, part of a team – or in any personal or professional relationship for that matter – remember that you cannot NOT communicate. We are all communicating all of the time….even if you decide to say nothing and drop out of the conversation, you are still communicating and sending a message.

In this seminar, I encourage participants to realize that we really can’t change anyone or make them do what we want them to do, or control them – but we can manage and mold the messages that we give off to others.

A few years ago, I went to a large electronics chain store to purchase some stereo speakers. I brought them back to enjoy, only to realize that one of the speakers was defective and did not work. I needed to return them for an exchange with in the 30 day time frame that this store had as it’s policy.

Well, that particular year of that particular month, I was traveling in Europe doing a seminar tour and thus was unable to return the speakers with in the allotted scope of time. When I returned to the states, I thought to myself, I am sure they will make an exception for me and bend the policy.

To my surprise – they did not! I spoke with a sales person, showing my receipt and also my flight itinerary to demonstrate that I truly was out of the country for 30 days. He would not budge.

I asked to speak with the manager.

The manager came out of the warehouse, and his first words to me were, “What’s your problem?!!” As I tell this story in my seminar, I often hear many groans from audience members at that manager’s remark to me. For, we have all been in this type of situation before…

Here is the short ending of this story; I don’t know what was happening back there in the warehouse, but my sense was that the sales rep told the manager about this complaining customer out in the show room. Me.

The manager was angry. His emotions projected onto me and I became defensive. And I left the store, while not receiving my exchange.

If the manager would have been on his game that day, perhaps he could have paused and asked himself “I have a disgruntled customer out there, he is upset…how do I want to be? I want to be calm, courteous, and helpful.” It is true; we must be the change we wish to see in others.

The impact of the manager’s emotional state upon me was that I never went into that store again; and every time I drove past that store, I didn’t think of their fine HD televisions, or their great prices on laptops – instead, I thought about that manager – who did not manage his emotions or mold his message to me in a positive manner.

We cannot control other people, or make them do what we want them to do, but we are in control of our own emotions and the messages we send out to them.

Therefore, the third M of success is Managing Others via molding our messages.

Psychologist and Humorist, Bruce Christopher Bruce Christopher Seminars