Many of the courageous heroes we have discussed have one thing in common: an ability to think rationally and control their feelings. Today, Connor and Brittany brainstorm some ways to help you learn how to control your emotions and think about the facts, not just your feelings.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Connor.
Connor: You know, we recently talked about John D. Rockefeller a few episodes ago, and one thing that really struck me was how closely his success as a businessman was tied to his ability to control his emotions. And this might seem like an easy thing to do, or maybe not for the younger listeners out there, and the parents who were struggling with, you know, emotional, energy, we’ll call it and, but you know, it’s one of the harder skills to learn. And, you know, I think Brittany, you once called it like a superpower.
Connor: The fact is that you know, many people use their feelings and not facts or logic when they make decisions. And many times, you know, those decisions impact laws, which is how we get so many problems in government, impacts our personal relationships, you know, impacts business decisions. but in a government space, you know, you have socialists who believe that everyone should have free access to food and healthcare and just about everything else. And all of this is based on feeling, right? We love other people. We don’t want them to suffer, therefore, we should, you know, force everyone to help them because they deserve it. And they’re human beings who need dignity and respect, you know, and who doesn’t wish prosperity on people, right? Like we all want that. The problem is that when you look at implementing those policies, it just doesn’t work. You can’t use feelings to pass laws to force other people to do things. So I wanted to talk a little bit with you, Brittany, about how our listeners, how we all can train ourselves to be better at thinking with our brain instead of relying on our emotions.
Brittany: Yeah, and I think you bring up a good point cuz not only does this help us, you know, in maybe political dealings, like maybe somebody wants to grow up and do what you do and work at a think tank and help their states pass laws, but also in personal lives, right? Sometimes we overreact and maybe we say things we don’t mean where we could have handled a situation better. So we had an episode just a couple us episodes ago. We talked about Stanislav Petrov, who kept his emotions in check, and he actually saved the world from nuclear war. and before we get into brainstorming, it’s worth noting, I wanted to quote, somebody who’s, he wrote a great book called, A Man’s Search For Meaning. His name was a Victor Frankl good book. And he, it’s a great book. He survived a concentration camp during World War II, and we have not actually really gotten into a discussion on World War II yet. We will, we’ll have probably more than one episode about that. But he had this really great quote, and it’s my favorite quote in the whole world. And it says, between stimulus and response, there is space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our growth and our freedom. I’m gonna break that down a little bit. So between stimulus and response means between that thing that makes you mad or that thing that makes you want to act, whether it’s, oh, I see somebody hungry, that means we need to pass a law for everyone to get food. Or maybe like, this person said something mean to me, oh, I wanna yell at them. So before that stimulus, the stimulus is that thing that causes you to want to react it, you know, it gives you those, those strong feelings. And then of course, your response is, is how you react to that. And what Frank will is saying is in between, you know, that thing that makes you mad and how you respond. There is this space, there is this room for you to decide how you’re going to respond. And it’s what you do with that room and what decision you make that really makes you kind of a mature thinker, a rational thinker. And so I always think of this when I think about using, you know, facts or feelings or controlling your emotions. So I wanted to kind of start the brainstorming off with that.
Connor: I like that quote because there’s actually some brain science behind this. And for our younger listeners, you’re just a little bit disadvantaged because your brains are still developing, and a specific part of the brain actually called the prefrontal cortex. And this develops into your early twenties or your mid-twenties. And so even teenagers aren’t fully developed even after puberty and all that.
Brittany: I think It’s like 27, right? Yeah. So a lot of adults aren’t even.
Connor: Yeah. maybe we should change the voting age because what the prefrontal cortex does, is it’s the part of your brain that processes logic. So when Britney here is talking about logic, in fact, and making rational decisions, this becomes of course, much easier when your prefrontal cortex is more developed because that is the part of your brain that has this focus. And, you know, what’s interesting about the brain is that when the pathways in your brain are not fully developed, your prefrontal cortex is not fully mature and fully developed. Then the other parts of your brain, the kind of emotional response, fight or flight, right? Like something bad is happening, so I’m either gonna resist or I’m gonna run away. And you know, that’s just how our brains have kind of developed. And so we have to be patient with younger people, of course, because they haven’t yet, developed the capacity to look at a problem, look at a stimulus, as you called it. Not those, stimulus checks that adults are getting from Congress. But, this, like, you know, I use the example of like a woman, and I’m stereotyping here, but how dare you but a woman seeing, like a mouse crawling on the ground, right? And I don’t know Britney, how you would act.
Brittany: I would scream and squeal and jump on a couch.
Connor: There you go. All right. I don’t have to stereotype you
Brittany: I get it to my skull.
Connor: Voluntarily. So Brittany is jumping, on a chair in response to a stimulus, the sight of a little mouse crawling around. And, now Brittany, let’s see if I can, and, you know, get you to admit this and push back if you want, but would you agree that like if the mouse is on the other side of your kitchen or your room or something like that you know, it’s not gonna like run and jump on you. It’s not gonna, like you jumping on a couch or a chair is not necessary or not totally logical, or what are your thoughts there?
Brittany: No, I don’t know what that mouse is capable of. I’m gonna jump on the chair. I’m gonna grab something blunt and open. It doesn’t come over.
Connor: You don’t wanna underestimate the cover of the mouse.
Brittany: No, I’m not underestimating that mouse, you know, but if I was thinking logically, you’re probably right, there’s probably some space to work with here,
Connor: Yeah, there’s time that it would take for the mouse to crawl over towards you, which would give you time to move further away or then get up if you needed. You know, there could be time for you to get a box or a Tupperware and like put it over the mouse to trap it. but so often in life, and I’m guilty of, you know, the same things. We all have these stimuli, the plural of stimulus. We all have these stimuli that when we see them, we emotionally react. We just lash out or we run away, or we fight back. And if we want to improve, what Victor Frankl is, is saying in that quote that you share, right? In that space in between is our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our growth and our freedom. I love that quote that you shared.
Brittany: It’s so great.
Connor: Because when we stop reacting to everything, right? When we just stop emotionally responding and lashing out and just, you know, being emotional about everything, we can pause and think and kind of maturely try and process what’s happening. If mom is asking us to do the dishes and don’t wanna do the dishes, I wanna go play with my toys or play with my friends, or go watch this show or whatever, right? The emotional response is that immediate pushback, right? It’s that it’s that backlash. It’s, I don’t wanna do that. I wanna do what I wanna do, right? And that’s kinda the emotional response for a child. My kids are struggling with the same thing. Like a lot of the listeners out there probably have that type of dynamic in their lives as well. Well, what Victor Frankl was saying is, instead of immediately reacting before, before you just lash out, just for a split second, even just for a few seconds, if you pause and think, okay, what is the better response here, right? What if I instead of lashing out, I have a calm response to mom, and I say, mom, I’d really love to watch this show. What if, right when the show’s done, I’ll do the dishes and I’ll even take the trash out? Mom, you know, for the mom’s listening, turn to your kids right now, right? Like, how would you respond? I know how I would respond if my child calmly negotiated, right? And kind of, we had a discussion about it and they asked for something different calmly and maturely. I would be totally on board. I would be impressed by their maturity in how they’re controlling their emotions. But of course, when, oh, I don’t wanna watch tv, then what happened? I talking to my kids about this a lot, so, hi Ethan, hi Lameya. You know, if they’re listening to this episode, you know, when they, push back immediately and have that emotional response that prompts me and my wife to then dig in our heels, right? And be like, well, no, you need to go do it. No, otherwise there’s gonna be a consequence and blah, blah, blah. And it puts us down this negative spiral. And so instead, if you can avoid that negative kind of back and forth and just start with a very controlled response and think, okay, what’s the right way to do with this? I want to do something different. You know, I don’t wanna do my homework. I don’t wanna listen to another, you know, and podcast of Connor and Brittany talking, or I don’t wanna do whatever, right? And instead, if you think like, Hey, how can I negotiate? How can I kind of talk about what I want instead and have a discussion with my mom? I mean, it’d be a game-changer for the kids out there.
Brittany: There’s also a bigger lesson too. We mentioned politics also. So when something happens, when a stimulus happens, so, let’s or stimuli, I guess, so let’s think about, we’ve talked about nine 11 before, you know, a big event happened where our, you know, planes flew into the towers, people died. And the immediate reaction was TSA was, you know, let’s go bomb all these countries. You have the same thing happening in government. Cause people don’t know how to control their emotions. So these little things you can learn now as a kid will also help you later on. Because again, maybe some of you will grow up and be politicians. There’s a big problem when we act not only without thinking but before we have all the information, which is usually what happens when we act quickly, right? Because we don’t have time to, like you said, think about a negotiation or maybe even think about what the real problem is, what’s going on. And so a lot of times in government, politicians get so eager to act because they wanna show that they’re doing something about a problem, that they don’t stop and think, how is this hurting the overall goal? Like talk about, you actually mentioned the stimulus checks. So, you know, we had the government recently send out a bunch of stimulus checks to a lot of people who didn’t need them because it was just income based. So if you made a certain amount of money, you got the check. And a lot of these people didn’t lose their jobs. They weren’t suffering because of COVID-19. But now how much, do you know how much total we spent on the stimulus?
Connor: I’ve lost track. It’s, you know, trillions, now.
Brittany: Trillions. So because people wanted to help people immediately during this covid crisis and president, former President Trump also gave out 1,201 and then $601 before he left office. We acted quickly and we did this thing that felt like the right thing to do because we wanted to help people not realizing that now our children and our grandchildren and their children and their grandchildren are now gonna be paying for this because we keep spending money. So it’s not just in our personal lives, right? It’s both. We need to learn to control our emotions because otherwise we pass policies or make decisions that hurt not just us, but a lot of other people.
Connor: Yeah, I think that’s right. You know, it’s such a challenge for people because when you think of big scary things happening in the public, current events, wars, economy, all these challenges that can happen, some of the stuff can be really scary. You know you don’t know what’s gonna happen. you know, the next day you don’t know. you know, what might happen to your bank account? You don’t know if you’ll have your job. And in fact, we should do an episode soon just on this, our recent book that just came out. So our 12th children’s book, the Tuttle Twins and, Leviathan Crisis is all about this exact topic, you guys. It’s about how we get scared and we kind of emotionally respond. We want a savior, we want someone to fix our problems. And so the government comes in and they say, you know, I’ll save you. I’ll protect you, right? Just, just gimme some of your freedoms. Like you point out the TSA, right? The kids who’ve flown on planes never have known anything other than having to like, take everything outta your bag, take your belt off, take your shoes off, you know, take your jacket off, walk through this scanner that’s looking at your body. Like, that’s just how flying is, except for those of us who are older, like flying used to not be like that at all. Yeah. You know, and we used to have more freedoms, but because people got scared and they turned to the government said, okay, fine, we’re gonna do all these things. And now they’ve created all these jobs for all these TSA workers who, you know, that’s a topic for another day. But what’s called security theater, it makes us feel more safe than, you know, actually keeping us safe. And so it’s a challenge because time and again, people get scared and then they turn to the government to help. And so government grows and it grows and it grows. And so that’s what we talk about in this book where this is Leviathan. It’s the government is growing in size because we keep feeding it our freedoms and it grows as a result. And so, make sure that you’ve got that latest book. You can head to Tuttletwins.com/products and see that book along with all the other ones that we’ve recently put out. Brittany, as we wrap up, here, I want to ask maybe a final question to you. And that is, you know, can we stop this trend? it feels like, people being scared, voters asking for, you know, help people responding emotionally to what’s happening. Like we’ve talked a little bit about how the kids and even us adults like we can work within that space of time. We can, you know, control our response, then we can really improve. And so in our personal lives, I, think there’s a lot of room for improvement of things that we can do. But it seems like when we look at the world around us and society, that we just always fall into this problem where people are emotionally reacting. Do you see that ever not happening?
Brittany: Well, that’s why I think this podcast is so important, if I may say so myself, because it starts with the next generation, right? There might not be a whole lot we can do for older people who are set in their ways and who don’t wanna think differently, but with kids, they’ve got their whole life ahead of them. Like you, really do control what happens in the future. So just imagine how much better that will be if you know everybody listening took a real, like maybe this week. That’s what you do. You make a real effort to really see if you can control your emotions and notice it in everything you’re doing. So maybe we can’t stop the older people from doing it, but I think kids today have, you know, they’re gonna play a huge role in being able to make the world better because of this later on.
Connor: Well said, guys. Tuttletwins.com/podcast where you can find the show notes. Thanks as always for being subscribed. Share the podcast with another family that you think would benefit. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.