If you can delay your actions for just a few minutes, hold off your come back until the next break, take a couple of deep breaths, put the computer aside late in the afternoon and sleep on the issue.

Then you will find yourself focusing on the content rather than the emotion.

And when you do that, you will realize that people respond to content remarks much better than to emotional outbursts.

Someone has modified your work without letting you know. Emotional outburst: that is unacceptable. Content remark: I like this and that, I preferred the previous version here and there.

A colleague has sent you a demanding email that overwhelms you with requests. Emotional outburst: I am busy, I cannot do any of this. Content remark: I am working on a project, and I can help with this and that.

Your manager has mentioned your role is going to change focus in the coming months. Emotional outburst: here we go again, it seems every time I get good at something you raise the bar for me. Content remark: I see why this happens, and I am confident I can do this and that, while perhaps we might want to hire somebody to take care of the other aspect.

Emotions are important. They tell us what we care about, what triggers us, what makes us uncomfortable, what we can and cannot accept. Where we draw the line.

Yet, when we act out of emotions, we lose opportunities to make the change we want to see.

Focusing on content is something we can all get better at.

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