As human beings, all of us possess tremendous potential. We just do not make full use of our immense capabilities. Everybody has the ability to develop successful relationships, build a successful business, become the best in their field, make a million dollars etc… All it takes is learning the right strategies and taking massive action.

So, what stops most people from taking action and using their full potential? Whenever I ask this question, the same reasons seem to come up. Many people will admit that what stops them from taking action is ‘fear’, ‘uncertainty’, ‘doubt’, ‘depression’, ‘frustration’, ‘anger’, ‘laziness’ or ‘feelings of helplessness’. Many salespeople don’t succeed because they have the fear of getting rejected. Many people who have the desire to start a business never do so because of their self-doubt and fear of failure. Many people who experience adversity do not take the necessary actions to turn their life around because they feel too depressed or frustrated. In other words, NEGATIVE EMOTIONS are the main reason why people do not take action and realize their full potential.

Negative Emotions Serve a Positive Purpose. They are Signals that We Need to Change Something.

So, if negative emotions are so ‘bad’, why do we have them? Why do they exist? ! I believe that our creator did not give us negative emotions to limit us or to punish us. In fact, negative emotions serve a positive purpose. They are signals that tell us that we need to change something. They are giving us the message that we need to either change our perceptions or our actions!

The Positive Message of Fear
Throughout our lives, our minds will create the emotion of fear whenever we face something new or challenging. The salesperson experiences the fear of being rejected. The presenter experiences fear before going on stage. So, why does our mind create this feeling of fear? Fear is an emotion that signals to us that we need to ‘get better prepared’. This feeling is giving us a message that in order to deal with the challenge ahead, we need to gain more knowledge, skills and resources to succeed. That is a useful message, isn’t it?

Many people are surprised to know that I still feel fear before I go on stage to give a talk, despite having been a professional speaker for the last 15 years.

In fact, 3-4 days before any speaking engagement, I start feeling the fear that hundreds of people will be listening to me and judging me. I have the fear that I may not live up to their expectations. This fear signals to me that I have to get prepared. It motives me to plan way ahead. I spend hours doing research on my topic, writing a powerful speech and crafting my slides. This fear drives me to rehearse my speech in my mind over and over again until I know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it. The moment I am fully prepared to give my absolute best, my fear is at a minimal. I have made use of my fear to help me constantly deliver my best each and every time. I can imagine that if I had no fear, I would not have bothered to have prepared so hard and would probably have given a lousy speech.

So, it is perfectly normal to feel fear. Everybody gets scared, both ordinary and extraordinary people. The difference lies in how they deal with it. Unfortunately, most people allow their fears to limit them from taking action. They get the fear of public speaking so they avoid it completely. They will never dare to speak in public.

Frustration Signals to Us that We Have to Change Our Strategy
Another common negative emotion that many of us may experience is ‘frustration’. Frustration is an emotion we feel when we are not able to get the result we want despite repeated attempts. Most people allow the feeling of frustration to overwhelm them so much that they get angry and quit ever attempting it again. Haven’t you been so frustrated at something or someone and said to yourself, ‘whatever!’, threw your hands up in surrender and walk off?

Once again, Frustration is there to give us a message. It serves a useful purpose. When we feel frustrated, the signal is telling us that we have to change our strategy. We have to do something different, to get the results we want. One of my students is an insurance advisor (specializing in corporate insurance) that was getting so frustrated with her job that she felt like quitting after three months. She was getting frustrated that despite making hundreds of calls to prospects, she couldn’t even secure an appointment. She kept getting rejection after rejection.

When she attended my ‘Patterns of Excellence’ programme, I told her that as long as she did not listen to the message of her frustration, she would never reach her sales targets. Her frustration was a clear signal that she had to change her strategy in the way she engaged her prospects.

Upon reflection, she realized that whenever she said that she was offering ‘corporate insurance evaluation’, people closed their minds and immediately said that they weren’t interested. She decided to use a different strategy. She would call her prospects (bosses of companies) and say, ‘I am a corporate strategy advisor. Do you have the intention to list your company on the stock exchange?’ That statement immediately got their attention.

If their answer was no, she would say, ‘do you realize that if something happens to you, the shares you own in your company may become worthless? Your loved ones may not be able to sell the shares to extract its value. Could you spare a few minutes to learn how to assign a market value to your company so that it can be easily sold in the future?’ By using this unique approach, her appointment rate shot up and she increased her sales by 400% in just 6 months.

So, you can see that ‘negative emotions’ like fear, frustration, anger, depression and disappointment are not really bad at all. They can really help us to become much more successful. We just have to ensure that they serve us and not immobilize us from taking action. So, whenever you experience a negative emotion, listen to the message and act on it. Once you have heard the message, breakout of the negative emotion so you no longer feel bad about it.

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘Winning the Game of Life!’ Watch out for it!