As I was researching for our new Working With Emotions in Conflict online course, DeSteno’s name kept coming up in relation to the importance of emotions, and especially social emotions, for success. David DeSteno writes a lot on the concept of intertemporal choice (I wrote about this concept in conflict in one of my LinkedIn articles last month). In this book, he explains that self control in delaying immediate gratification is fundamental to success in life, but that we have been trying to do it wrong! Self control isn’t something we achieve using cognitive strategies like reason, deliberation and force of will. Rather, it’s only by harnessing our emotions that we can achieve challenging goals.
He argues that emotions are one of the most powerful and efficient mechanisms we have to guide good decisions. In particular, he considers how gratitude, compassion and pride can support self-control and resilience. He shows how you can harness those emotions for your own success, but also how you can support others to get similar benefits.
What I love about this book is how DeSteno demonstrates the way we can actively harness our emotions to achieve our goals. He also shows us that our emotions are under our control, and that we can develop good emotional habits that support us in our daily lives.
For example, gratitude can increase our willingness to wait for or persevere toward a greater, future rewards. Compassion can produce effortless self-control. Pride in your achievements can increase your motivation and perseverance to continue to improve. All of these things are very useful in engaging with conflict effectively.