When we are in stressful situations, it seems like we have a hard time controlling our emotions.  Sometimes we say things that we wish we could take back.  It’s tough to manage our emotions.

The key to managing emotions and responding appropriately is to monitor the stages of listening.

First, all information simply comes through our senses.  It’s raw data.  No meaning has been applied to it.  It’s what we see.  It’s what we hear.

The second stage is interpretation.  Interpretation is the intellectual question “Why?”  Why would a person do that?  Why would a person say that?

Then, based upon our interpretation, we have a feeling.  If we have the ability to develop a number of possible interpretations, called cognitive complexity, we can construct a variety of different frameworks for viewing an issue.

This is critical, because once we are trapped in an emotional state; it limits our options, in what we would say or what we would do when we feel like that.

Finally, hopefully, we can pay attention to our thoughts, feelings, and options, and express our best option.

It is critical to unleash the power of cognitive complexity and consider a number of possible interpretations.  Recognize how we feel and consider the options.  Then express the best option.  Slow down the process and we can minimize the mistakes.