Entrepreneurs: the Enigma of Emotion

Entrepreneurs: the Enigma of Emotion

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

It’s incredible how much emotion can completely boost or derail absolutely everything at work and in life. It completely changes the color and tenor of any discussion or experience, though actual reality remains unchanged. In fact, I’m coming to believe that almost everything is emotionally driven in human experience – history, sociology, culture, psychology, biology, health, etc.

Emotion is that elusive, inexplicable thing that gives or takes away will and energy, determines perception and choice and, to a large extent, outcomes in life. Yet we know almost nothing about it—or at least I don’t. I know how it feels and what it does, but not where it comes from, what causes it and, most importantly, how to optimize it.

I do know that hormones and whether I am rested, hungry, etc., influence my emotions. However, I am reflecting on how easily I see exactly the same thing as positive or negative depending on how I feel. How strongly emotions determine my ability to deal well or badly with large, or even the smallest, matters.

Building a company is about creating an emotional drive in a group of people to accomplish something together. I’ve noticed that whenever I’m convincing people to join or am working out problems it is not just a conversation or intellectual work, but a significant outlay of emotional energy.

It’s as if my emotions are a vibration at a certain frequency that has the ability to cause vibration in others as well, as if emotions are sound or music. If we take a comparison to physics:

“If you were to take a guitar string and stretch it to a given length and a given tightness and have a friend pluck it, you would hear a noise; but the noise would not even be close in comparison to the loudness produced by an acoustic guitar. On the other hand, if the string is attached to the sound box of the guitar, the vibrating string is capable of forcing the sound box into vibrating at that same natural frequency. The sound box in turn forces air particles inside the box into vibrational motion at the same natural frequency as the string. The entire system (string, guitar, and enclosed air) begins vibrating and forces surrounding air particles into vibrational motion.

The tendency of one object to force another adjoining or interconnected object into vibrational motion is referred to as a forced vibration. In the case of the guitar string mounted to the sound box, the fact that the surface area of the sound box is greater than the surface area of the string means that more surrounding air particles will be forced into vibration. This causes an increase in the amplitude and thus loudness of the sound.”

This is exactly how you build an organization—as the entrepreneur and founder, it starts with my emotional vibration and transferring that emotional vibration to other competent people who can help me build my vision. And a large part of doing that is to accept that this vision is no longer mine, but that it’s now the vision of the people to whom I transferred the emotional vibration.

That means, building an organization is like creating the sound box in the above example—it amplifies the effect of the emotional drive towards goals.

I recently spoke with my father about the fact that everything in my life and the world seemingly being emotion-based; that emotion is what provides us with the energy to have a vision within ourselves and the force to transfer it to others while maintaining it within.

He said that the transference happens in a variety of ways—facial expression, gestures, word choice, etc.—and that the mix of these and other tools can enhance or detract from the vibration.

In other words, we need to actively think about emotional transference and the tools we can use to promote it. What can we learn from the physics of vibration?

Beyond physics there’s biology. If I know that I am deeply affected in my emotional states and my dealings with people by hormones (such as oxytocin) and pheromones, as well as rest, nutrition and other factors, then to what extent I can control this? Clearly it is necessary to maintain good physical condition, which includes rest, exercise and proper nutrition. My father believes we can determine the hormone levels in our bodies by thought and training; perhaps this is what the practice of Buddhist mediation is all about—the end to suffering through changing our perception of reality.

Ultimately our emotions determine our perception of reality, so a slight change in chemical balance will enable us to achieve great things or completely derail what we’re attempting to accomplish.

Some try to use chemistry (pharmaceuticals & drugs) to optimize this, but unfortunately the tools and substances used by psychologists and psychiatrists are woefully crude and we are just in the beginning phases of understanding how this can function.

Emotion is a central aspect of elite athleticism. We obviously can optimize like athletes, so why don’t we? They start by influencing the natural factors that they actually can control, i.e. nutrition, rest, positive environment and focused exercise.

Shouldn’t optimizing our biology be just as primary a task for entrepreneurs as it is for athletes in order to enhance our ability to execute?

Why are so many of us neglecting to utilize this tool to help us achieve our goals?

Note: KG Charles-Harris is CEO of Quarrio (former CEO of Emanio). KG’s company was recently awarded SIIA’s (Software & Information Industry Association) NextGen Awards in 2 of 3 categories – “Best Overall” and “Most Disruptive.” Quarrio won from a pool of several hundred applicants. The runner-up was Junyo, co-founded by Steve Schoettler, co-founder of Zynga, and funded by Mitch Kapor, Learn Capital and others.

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