It’s Not a Meltdown, You’re Just Passionate

Two men giving a presentation.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Thanks to centuries of conditioning, we tend to see displays of emotion in the workplace as a sign of instability and/or weakness. So if your PowerPoint goes awry because there is a technological malfunction, reacting to that with distress can snowball and ruin everything. But when you truly stop to think about it, it sounds like a perfectly normal reaction considering you likely put a lot of time and effort into that presentation. But, as you know, we’re all expected to be unemotional robots.

Of course, that’s nonsense, which we’re all consciously aware of. But our subconscious may not be aware of it, which is where our decisions originate from. But a team of researchers from Cornell University has an interesting piece of advice: in the above scenario, if you reframe your reaction to be based on your passion for the project, you stand a much better chance of being taken seriously. Study respondents who viewed a coworker or applicant as “passionate” instead of “emotional” were more likely to want to work with that person in the future.

It adds to our understanding of “cognitive reappraisal” which refers to our ability to change how we think about a situation. Mentally reframing anxiety as excitement, for example, can make it easier to give a presentation in the first place. In fact, cognitive reappraisal is a tool that therapists use with clients all the time, often to good effect. So it stands to reason that it could work in the workplace as well.

Now we’re not talking about wishful thinking here. We’re talking about thoughts rooted in optimism that are backed up by rational thought. The anxiety to excitement example is a good one, as being nervous before a presentation is pretty common, and that presentation’s success could very well rest on how confident you are.

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About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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