Keeping Your Emotions from Hurting You Financially

How much does confident optimism matter in the marketplace—for job hunters, salespeople, entrepreneurs, and investors? 

That’s the subject we began exploring last week. We said that every person has a built-in emotional thermometer that measures how they’re feeling from one situation to the next. 

Some “run” a higher emotional temperature. That is, they’re usually “up” and tend to be optimistic. Others, whose hearts sink at the first hint of bad news, could be said to have a “lower” emotional temperature.

But here’s the thing: we also have an emotional thermostat. Everyone knows what a thermostat is. It’s that doo-hickey on the wall (or app on your phone) you use to regulate your heater. Your emotional thermostat—i.e., your mindset, your outlook—works the same way. It enables you to control your emotional temperature. 

Here’s why this is so important. If you become thermometer-obsessed (or feelings focused), you’ll live at the mercy of your external circumstances. 

But when you remember you have an internal thermostat, you realize you’re not a powerless victim. Your low emotions don’t have to control you.

So, how do you go about changing the setting on your emotional thermostat? Here are four suggestions:

  • Acknowledge your emotions

When you don’t get the job, fail to close the sale, or watch your nest egg plunge in value, you naturally feel disappointed, frustrated, or scared. All those feelings are real. You need to face them and feel them. Ignoring (or denying) them isn’t healthy.

  • Adjust your perceptions

The more you focus on a negative situation, the more negative you’ll feel. So, refuse to go down the “worst-case scenario trail.” Instead, play the “best-case scenario game.” By imagining positive outcomes, you can reset your internal emotional thermostat. This technique is neither instant or magic—it takes practice. But all successful leaders, champion athletes, and overcomers have learned to focus on the positive outcome they seek, not the negative circumstance they’re currently in.

  • Access your agency

Giving up and doing nothing is a common reaction when we face setbacks in our financial or work lives. It’s easier to blame someone else! Except…this doesn’t do anything to help you or change your situation!

The good news? You have agency. You can ALWAYS take action. So, make one more call. Try one more time. Attempt one more thing. The great Michael Jordan said it best, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

  • Appreciate your progress. 

Perfection isn’t the goal, progress is! So, appreciate (and celebrate) each positive step.

Now, let’s see how all this works in a real-life situation:

You’ve just been turned down for a job…again. What do you do?

First, acknowledge your emotions. “I pretty much feel like…well, fertilizer right now…”

Understandable. But don’t stop there. Now adjust your perceptions. “Okay, that one didn’t work out. But there IS a job out there that’s just right for me. And I will keep applying until I find it.”

Now access the power of your agency. “I’m going to call those other three employers this afternoon, write a follow-up note of thanks and send my resume to each of them.” Remember, success at this stage is trying, not achieving.

Afterwards, celebrate your progress. Give yourself a pat on the back for staying in the fight and not quitting. “The old me would have given up by now. The new me doesn’t quit!” you tell yourself.

If it sounds like I’m suggesting you talk to yourself, you’re starting to get it.

The fact is, you already DO talk to yourself. So, make sure that talk is positive. This resets your emotional thermostat and increases your confidence. Consequently, it helps you move ever closer to the outcome you want.

Speaking of desirable outcomes, if you’re looking for a smart way to turn your retirement assets into regular retirement income for the rest of your life email me ( for our free 5-minutes quiz. It can help you figure out—based on your unique “financial personality” the best plan for you.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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