Do Emotions Affect Judgment?

Apr 18, 2023
 

The topic is, do emotions affect judgment? And that's our topic there. And I'll start off, with a quick story about this. So for me actually I'll go back to last week and a half so I'm driving down to Toronto. From where I live, it's about an hour away. I went there to take my dad to a follow-up appointment with a specialist because he had fallen down a few weeks ago and broken his wrist inside and everything.

I'm going to that appointment. I go there to pick 'em up and we're meeting with a specialist. And I pick him up, I go and find out where the appointment is and

as I entered on the computer, it says there are no appointments. I'm like, what? I just drove an hour from an hour away. There are no appointments. And I'm looking at it. I'm thinking about it. Then I talked to the receptionist there, and I talked to her.

She's like, oh, we had sent a letter saying that this was moved, and I'm like, oh, now I'm like, my dad had sent me a couple of letters. I actually haven't read it properly. So I'm looking through my phone. I'm like, oh, this letter. She's like, yeah, it's bold and red saying that, oh, it's I didn't read the letter properly because I was busy and I was looking at it.

But, so two things happened there. I'll come back to the letter part. I'm like, okay, let's leave. I go and drop off my dad. I go upstairs to my parent's place and we have some breakfast and I leave. As soon as I leave, I couldn't find my wallet. My wallet is gone. “What the hell?!” And I'm looking everywhere and I'm calling my parents like, can you look for it?

And I pretty much had all my cards in my wallet. I couldn't find my wallet. I drove back. I went there for about two and a half, three hours, and no appointments. I lose my wallet. And now I'm sitting there trying to figure out, I gotta get all my cards and stuff. Fast forward to a couple of days ago.

I got all my cards and everything back. I never found my wallet and I kind of reflected back as to what happened. So a couple of things happened. One, I didn't look at the letter properly because I was dealing with a lot of stuff and we had just moved and I was a little bit overwhelmed. I didn't have enough space to think and so I never checked the appointment.

I drove about an hour and a half an hour there, and an hour back. And on top of that, the fact I haven't lost my wallet. I think the last time I had lost a wallet, if I remember, maybe like 15 years ago. And I'm thinking like, okay, why did I lose my wallet? I wasn't present, to be honest, I was trying to juggle too many things at once and I was like, okay, I can take care of this.

And I know that because I wasn't present likely, I didn't feel the wallet properly in my pocket, and I didn't notice it when I was coming out of the car, I dropped it. Now you, you can say that. Well, a lot of people can make that mistake that might be true. But just reflecting back on my own experience, there was too much going on internally for me.

So I wasn't paying attention. I was just trying to move through my day-to-day stuff. I was going through the motions like a lot of people might say. It's very easy for me to look back at that experience. It was just an accident. Oh, and then, but there were so many things that happened leading up to that.

I was dealing with a lot of things the past couple of weeks because we recently moved and I didn't have a lot of space to give myself to think and process a lot of that stuff. And even during that day, I was dealing with a lot of things and accidents happened. Accidents, not in terms of people being in danger, but accidents in the sense that I made mistakes, and a lot of those mistakes were my lack of presence and lack of focus in my life.

And what was happening was that internally there was something else that was taking up a lot of space. I reflected back, I realized there was so much going on in there that I wasn't dealing with. So the reason why I'm sharing this incident with you guys is that it's very easy to write off incidents in our life as things that  just happened, but how much of it is our own part in there?

And that's what I want to go into in our topic around emotions and judgment, which is that emotions affect judgment, our decision-making ability, and what happens in our day-to-day life. I think back to when I was younger when I got into driving, for example, I used to get into all sorts of accidents.

Now fingers crossed I haven't gone to any accidents for the past 16 years or so... There was one incident, somebody else hit me from the back and that was an actual incident. But beyond that, I haven't. But when I was younger, I was getting into accidents all the time. Now you might say, well, I didn't have enough skillsets that are around driving.

I remember what I used to do. I'd be excited to get in the car, and I'm like showing off to people and I'm like jumping around and I'm trying to race people. I would be thinking about other things. I wouldn't pay attention to driving. That would be the last thing I would pay attention to. And I would get into accidents or I'd be careless about something or I'd be thinking about something else, or I came out of an argument.

I want you to think about it. Think about moments that you've kind of come out of, for example, a challenging situation in your relationship. It could have, could have been with a spouse or with your boss or with your business partner where you had an argument or something. And you can't think about anything to save your life.

You can change your focus like I'm gonna focus on, but you can feel the heaviness. Has anybody felt that heaviness in their life? And the reason why I'm pointing that out is that emotions take up a lot of bandwidth internally for us, and we don't realize the impact of that in our thinking.

And that's what I want to go into is that there are two competencies that we need to be aware of, and these are actually internal competencies. One is emotional regulation and the other one is decision-making. And both of these are competencies and while you can develop the competencies separately, they both interconnect with each other.

And I wanna go into emotions a little bit. What are emotions this very, very important for us to understand? So our emotions are the effect of physiological. And psychological responses to a stimulus. It could be internal, like our own thought processes. It could be our own path, stuff that has happened. It could be other things that we are impacted by.

We run into a person who is really rude or we had an argument and that impacts our thinking and thinking in other things. And then now all, all of a sudden we're overwhelmed with something that we call emotions. And all it is is that there's something in our body that's requiring our attention.

And it's physiological, it's psychological, so it literally impacts our heart rate. It impacts our hormones. So it's not like something that we can just ignore. Now, here's the challenge. A lot of people ignore it. So a lot of people have, and we have this ability as human beings that we can just change our focus.

We can say, well, I'm just gonna focus on this thing. The problem is that your subconscious mind is trying to work through that in the back. And while that's doing that, it's taking up a lot of space. This is why actually there have been studies down in for people who drive, like in driving studies where people who are, who have kind of gotten out of an argument or they're dealing with a challenge that actually impairs their judgment and driving very similar to if they were under the influence or very similar of a drug or something.

Or very similar to if they didn't have enough sleep. That impairs judgment. There are so many incidents where people are just driving through and they're in thought and emotion. They will go right through the red light, not because of any other factor other than their own internal processes.

So we understand enough to know that it takes up internal bandwidth. Now I wanna make a distinction between feelings versus emotions. Feelings are inherent to every human being. Every human being will feel, we call it the positive, but on the one side of the spectrum, we can feel joy, connection, and excitement.

We can feel exhilaration. All those kinds of on the other side of the spectrum, we can feel fear, we can feel anger, we can feel frustrated. None of those are positive or negative. We say it in language, we call it negative and possible. There are just different spectrums of the human experience now where it becomes actually negative.

And you might have heard this statement a lot of people will say this, don't be emotional, and don't make decisions when you're emotional. But what are they referring to? It's not clear what they're referring to. A lot of times. So for example, today in the news there was a piece of big news, there was a big bank that went out of business.

So people in real estate, know about this. Silicon Valley Bank. It went outta business it started with one panic, and then it just went outta control.

In fact, actually, when you look at the bigger, when the economy goes into recession, it's actually a big collective panic that ends up happening. People start to pull out their money from certain places or people change what they invest in. Whatever happens, it's actually people reacting to their emotions.

And most people just look at that and will just go into panic mode, especially if you're involved in that business. Now, I know one of my business partners, and his spouse had some money invested in that bank, so that affected him directly and it's very easy to kind of get pulled into that.

So this has a tangible effect on our life. So the difference between feelings and emotions is emotions. Usually, we react to it. Either our past or our reaction to our past experiences has happened. Oh my God, in 2008 something happened. This looks similar to that. Let me just decide to make the decision before this goes to crap.

But we're reacting to the past, we don't have any other data based on whatever we had heard from other people or whatever had happened in our life. We do this in the relationship. For example, if we had a bad relationship in our path and we will talk to a new person or we're about to get into a new relationship.

We're looking at this person through the lens of a past relationship. So we're not reacting emotionally to this person. We're actually reacting to a past incident in our life. We're not aware of it at the moment. We're just doing that. We're assessing. For some people let's say you're cheated on in a relationship, or where somebody broke your trust.

You will look at this person with a sense of Hey, I don't know if I trust this person, but it has nothing to do with this person's character. It has to do with how you were treated or how you felt in the last relationship. I've seen this in business as well. It's like they're entrepreneurs who don't trust a lot of people.

When you ask them what it is, it's like, oh, I've been burned so many times. I don't trust a lot of people. But they've never worked out the emotional responses that they have in relation to that experience. So their emotions are reactive to a specific context, not necessarily to the general feeling that human beings go through like the spectrum of emotions.

So, which means that anger in itself is not a negative emotion. Like if your space is violated and you feel angry, that's a good thing. That's the reaction to the present. But emotion is in reaction to what might have happened and you haven't resolved it yet. And that's a very subtle distinction in there, but a lot of what we react to is either our past or other people's effect on us, influence on us.

So this is something to remember is that as soon as emotions come into the picture positive or negative, it has an influence on our decision-making ability. Now there are different influences, but for example, if you feel a lot of fear, you might step back. As we know that in the real estate world right now, a lot of people are not making the decision to invest or buy something because they're scared.

 They go into contraction. If you feel excited, the effect is that you might just jump in. You are less risk-averse either way, there's a big influence there. It's not that you should or you shouldn't make decisions based on those emotions. It's being aware of what is the effect of these emotions on your own decision-making ability and understanding that will help you make better decisions for your own life because only you know how much you're affected by fear, frustrations, anger, and all that stuff.

And how much are you affected by excitement, enthusiasm, and all that stuff? It has different effects on different people. So what we're talking about is your understanding of your own system. So the part about the competency that's related to that is called emotional regulation. So in my experience and what I've seen is usually better decisions or decisions are made when we actually process the emotions. So what that means is that you give yourself the space to work through it.

Now, part of it is space. Part of it is do you have the tools? Because what ends up happening is if you make a decision, whether on the enthusiasm side or on the fear side, there is an extreme influence on you and you might not be able to engage the part of your brain that can make better decisions, which is our prefrontal cortex.

So that doesn't mean that emotions inherently are negative. Is that how the influence is showing up? So, what does emotional regulation mean? It means that, are you giving yourself time to feel whatever you're feeling. It could be a few minutes. It could be a few hours. It could be a whole day. That's why a lot of people, when you go into the finance world as you're managing your money, they'll tell you like, if you are about to spend, wait at least 24 hours.

And see what you feel the next day. A lot of people will spend because of their emotions, most people make decisions based on emotions, not based on logic. And, and this is very important for us to understand around that, this, how do you regulate your own emotions Now, do you have consistent practices for that?

We all can move off of our practices just like I did with my example. But consistently, do we have practices that help us regulate emotions? That means do we have the faith and do we have the tools such that could be more mindfulness stuff that could be walks in nature, that could be you breathing, that could be you just being aware of your body that could you exposing yourself.

Things that bring calm and peace. There could be a lot of tools you can explore, but do you have a system? And systems are usually better than once in a while dealing. This means that on a day-to-day basis, you have a system to deal with your own emotion because you can't control what happens in the bigger economy or with other people, or even with your spouse or children or anybody else, but you can control your own reaction to that.

Which means do you have a system for dealing with that? And if you don't, this might be a place to think about what are those tools. That tool could be exercise, it could be mindfulness stuff. It could be you being in nature. It could be time for journaling. Whatever you picked. There are so many tools you can pick from.

Now the other one I want to go into is the second part that I talk about. The second competency is around decision-making. Now. I want to create a distinction around that we actually technically use two different parts of our brain to do these things. So decision making and there's only one exception I would say if a decision making requires a life or death situation, that needs to be instantaneous.

For example, if a bus is coming towards you, you're not sitting there and analyzing the pros and cons. It actually, if a bus is coming towards your mind, is gonna engage your hindbrain, which actually connects the emotions, heightened emotions of fear. The negative spectrum gets you out of the way much more quickly versus you just thinking about it at that moment.

But what we're talking about is Business decisions, decisions to stay with somebody or not. Decisions to move your life in a certain direction. These things don't require quick decisions at the moment. It requires you to pause, slow down, and really feel and think through those decisions requires our prefrontal cortex as long as we understand, it's likely a combination of the two, but it engages.

You need to be much more engaged with the conscious part of your brain. Or your mind, however, you want to think about it. That is a skill set. That is a competency. Most people have a hard time thinking, not because they don't have the capacity to think, they just haven't put enough time to think it's a muscle.

That means that you're actually spending time working through problems. This is part of the reason why I think one thing that's really positive around understanding math and science in school is that it helps you think it's not more about solving a specific problem, it actually helps you, forces your mind to think, and develops that competency.

And so that's very important, which means have you exercised that part of your brain enough? Have you jumped into enough situations where you need to make decisions, and do you give yourself faith to do that? And that's where I would say there are two things in there One is intentionality and the other one is space.

To think intentionality means that whatever decision, whatever situation you're putting yourself into. For example, you're about to have a conversation with your spouse or your child, or with your boss or with your business partner. Do you understand the intention behind that conversation? Or did you hear something and you're jumping into that conversation, or you're like, okay, I need space to process this, and let me think about what is the purpose of this conversation?

What is the purpose of this time? And most people don't do that. It's something common sense, but most people don't think through like, what am I trying to achieve? What is the outcome of this? So most people Will jump into situations, for example, with their spouse.

They don't know the outcome. So instead of trying to create the space for both of them to resolve something and becomes a space for who wins the argument, who's right, and who's wrong. It's a completely different intention around that, but because we're not aware of it, we go in that direction.

And so what is the space to think? So our mind actually needs the space to think. In fact, there are people, some of the best influencers and thinkers, who will actually give themselves daily or weekly time to think. They'll give themselves 40 minutes an hour to just sit there and think about a specific problem.

This builds that part of their mind. And that's a practice. That's a system. So they don't just hope that they will have the ability to think. They give themselves the space to think. That means that for you, that could be journaling time. For you, that could be time away for a weekend and work through your vision, work through your plan.

It could be in different contexts, and will require different things, but do you actually have space to think in your calendar, like when you're looking at it, throughout the day? You literally have the space to sit down and work through some of the things. And I know that whenever I haven't had that space, I tend to make much more mistakes in business.

I tend to make much more mistakes in my personal life. I tend to be much more erratic and reactive. Just like I shared at the beginning of this call and I wanted to share that is cuz we all make those mistakes. So, that's the difference between being intentional versus reactive, that I have time to regulate my emotions, but I also have the space to actually think about this problem and come up with a solution and when you give yourself that space to feel and think, the next step might be is, Hey, maybe I need support with this thing, or the next step might mean that No, no, no, I need to make a decision around this to move forward.

But that comes out of those practices. So I wanna summarize this do emotions affect judgment? I would say certainly, definitely. And on whether you're on the positive or the negative side of the spectrum, if they influence you now it's our job to think how much does that influence success for different people?

It'll be different, but what's more important is, do you have the tools. And the time to regulate those emotions on a consistent basis. And do you give yourself the space to actually think and develop intentions around different major parts of your life? Because if you are not, I can bet you you're just reacting to other people's thoughts and emotions or your own past or whatever is happening in your life, and this is for you to think about.

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