It’s widely known that building a startup is like a wild emotional roller-coaster ride. One moment, you’re in the depths of despair and the other, you’re on top of the world; and in between, you’re hopefully enjoying an adrenaline filled journey.
It can even happen that you’re at the peak of positive emotions and at the very bottom a few times in a single day.
You get a new client. Excellent. One of your biggest clients starts complaining about your service. Yikes. You release a successful update for your product. Hooray. Someone in your team has a bad day and nags and spreads doubts. Sucks. You just got a new order. Yes. And so on.
But starting your own business isn’t the only thing that can be represented by an emotional roller-coaster ride. Actually, all the things we consider important in life are more or less nothing but wild roller-coaster rides.
You have a baby. You’re super happy and it changes your life forever. Pure emotional peak and happiness. But then you don’t sleep and it demands an extraordinary amount of energy and attention. Maybe even more than you expected. But then your baby smiles. And you forget everything. Roller-coaster ride.
You fall in love. You go crazy. It’s like being on drugs. And then the first fight comes. How could that happen? But then also the make-up sex. And then your loved one has to travel somewhere. An abstinence crisis occurs. But then you see and hug your love again. Roller-coaster ride.
You decide to take care of your health more. You go jogging and you feel wonderful. Then you want more and faster results. You see more results and you’re on top. Yes! Then you injure yourself. And you go straight to the bottom. You have to rest, but you want to train. And then you heal. And you start training again. You feel great.
Now you take it slowly, all the way until you overtrain again and injure yourself. And this time, you also decided to improve your diet. And you just ate a cookie. And you’re mad and you can’t train. But it’s okay because you know that tomorrow is a new beginning. The next day, you do much better and you’re proud of yourself. Roller-coaster ride.
You start investing your money. You’re super excited. You’re going to be an investor. You make your first investment. And you lose money. You go buy a few books and invest in your knowledge. You get motivated again. You make an investment. You lose money again. You’re disappointed and it hurts. You feel stupid, but you don’t give up.
You have the last thousand dollars to invest. Then you make a small ROI. Hope gets stronger. But after that, you make a really good investment. Doors to heaven open up. And then you get cocky. And you bet everything on an investment that’s a total disaster. You can’t believe you did that. You start again, this time in a more mature way, even when you make ROI. Roller-coaster ride.
Let’s stay with investing for one more second. The first and the most important rule of investing is “don’t lose money”. As important of a rule as that is, don’t let emotions get out of your control. Always manage your emotions, especially in extremes. Bears make money, bulls make money, pigs get slaughtered. Pigs are greedy investors who stop managing their emotions and get greedy.
Don’t let emotions get out of your control. Always manage your emotions, especially in extremes.
The picture is pretty much the same in all other important areas of life. You ride the emotional roller-coaster. Wealth, health, relationships. If you want to successfully finish the ride, you have to learn how to manage your emotions. All in order to not get lost in depression and self-pity, and to not believe that any of your successes are a predictor of future successes. You have to stay Zen, Stoic, cool and calm.
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with feeling severe negative emotions when you fail. There’s nothing wrong with being super excited and proud of yourself. But you have to manage your emotions to the point of staying down to Earth when you’re making your next move. You have to make sure that emotions don’t distort your subjective reality to the point where you don’t see things as clearly as you should and where you start making bad decisions.
You have to make sure that emotions don’t distort your subjective reality to the point where you don’t see things as clearly as you should and where you start making bad decisions.
You start emotionally abusing your kid, because they demand so much energy and attention; or you’re so mesmerized by their smile or feel so guilty when they cry that you don’t set any boundaries.
You exaggerate with training to the point of really hurting yourself. Or you stop training at all when the first pitfall occurs.
You’re so confident in your investment that you put all eggs in one basket. Or you get completely depressed when you lose some money.
It’s completely natural to have severe feelings after successes or failures, but you have to first deal with your emotions by calming yourself down and making sure that they don’t cloud your rational judgment.
Whatever your goal in life is, if it’s an important and big one, you’ll experience highs and you’ll experience lows. The more the goals matter to you, the more you care, the more you want something, the more intense the extremes are.
The more intense extreme situation in life mean nothing but better knowing how to handle your emotions.
No matter how extreme the situation you are in, never see the world as black and white. There is no pure success and pure failure.
Besides never seeing the world only as black and white, by far the best solution for managing your emotions is to take a scientific approach to everything. You see life as nothing but a bunch of experiments, tests and experiences where some things work for you as an individual and for your relationships, and others don’t.
You stop doing what doesn’t work, keep in your life what does work, and regularly adjust to the changes in your environment.
The point of life is to experience the whole emotional palette, from the most negative to the most positive emotions. You just have to be careful to not get stuck anywhere on the palette.
The things that work for you, you have to preserve in your life and be grateful without getting your judgment clouded by too positive emotions. And you must know that nothing lasts forever.
For things that bring you sorrow, you either have to pivot to a different fit, change your perspective, level up your game, deal with cognitive distortions, innovate your way out or something else. There is always a move you can make.
And again, nothing lasts forever, neither the positive nor the negative. Just don’t get stuck. If you’re going to wait for the negative to pass without fighting, you may wait all the way until the end. Because life wants you to fight.
Well, it’s time for you to go after the best that life can offer. The first step is to embark on the roller-coaster called life. It may be a bit turbulent and uncomfortable at the beginning, but when you learn how to manage your emotions and become more skillful at it, the ride can truly become unforgettable.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. So enjoy the wild emotional roller-coaster ride.
You can fly high only if you care. But it can also hurts the most, when you care.