Dancing with emotion

When his opponents played dirty across the chess board or in a martial arts competition, Josh Waitzkin often riled with anger.

At first, this anger used to cause him to lose focus and derail his strategy. So he tried to suppress it and continue stone-faced with the battle. With time and practice, he learnt instead to channel this anger right back into his game and use it to increase the intensity of his focus. He learnt to make his anger work for him rather than against him.

During tense moments, Michael Jordan was known to provoke his opponents. This often caused an inexperienced opponent or two to taunt him back and incite his anger. Jordan would then channeled his anger into performance and destroy his opposition. Seasoned players in the NBA knew better than to get Michael Jordan worked up.

At times of adversity, emotions are our constant companions. As several world class performers have demonstrated, it is more helpful to dance with those emotions and channel them back into our performance rather than suppress and deny them.

Inspiration: The Art of Learning

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