Emotional stability is a crucial factor for intentional continuous progress towards our goals. If the goals are ambitious and challenging enough, we really cannot afford to have emotional hijacks detracting us from the main track. Even small detractions accumulate in a tremendous detour from the goal.
What is an emotional hijack? (I thought I made this term but apparently it is a thing in psych)
Firstly, to hijack is "to unlawfully seize a vehicle (an aircraft, ship, or vehicle) in transit and force it to go to a different destination or use it for one's own purposes."
Our emotions, which perhaps account for a larger portion of our decisions than we either wished or think they do, are easily hijacked by external factors. If I imagine myself as a plane moving towards a certain destination, a hijack in a form of negative emotions, distraction, addiction, depression, lack of direction, uncoordinated scattered efforts, unprofitable but comfortable actions, wrong priorities, lack of confidence is putting my ability to arrive at the destination as a huge risk.
The nature of a hijack is that it's extremely unexpected. The plane and its passengers are caught completely off-guard. So we end up having no control over the situation.
Imagine one of those days when your innocent self wakes up into a day never expecting how hijacked you will be with some unexpected and often small thing.
Anything that appeals to your emotions and where you use your emotion to resolve it is an emotional hijack. Anything where you are reactive in your actions rather than producing action from a place of reason and logical thought.
Someone calls you and you get angry/sad for the rest of the day. You see some X (a piece of content, picture) that makes you feel a certain way. You check your email and get sucked into completing an urgent task that offsets your previous plans.
Moreover, it is often very irrational. Jeremiah had an example to prove this. Try telling yourself "You are stupid".
See, how it immediately produces an emotional response? Those chemicals in the brain immediately fired up in defense of my extreme intelligence.
Even small things count as hijacks. Like an emotional YouTube ad. You were about to watch something good for you and then this external hijack cut through and not for long but stole your attention and emotional stability from you.
Our emotions in a form of attention are really up for grabs: negative thoughts, the warp of social media, the internet on the whole. Attention has become a new currency that all sorts of things are competing for. For a brand to even be able to present an imaginary sales pitch, it needs to grab the attention of a potential customer to itself, away from a bazillion other attention-grabbing parasites. This trend can be observed in many other realms: movies, films, options for doing something. Looks like its getting pretty intense out there...
Although my attention is what all those "savages" are competing for, my best interest is definitely not in their plans. "They" are often a system designed to profit in some way from my attention.
Unhealthy foods, Netflix, TikTok, certain societal norms are designed to get my ass to get what they were engineered for.
As an individual, I have to be extremely careful about those hijacks.
Because our inner worlds have become so exposed through the internet, I need to design a damn good system for myself to keep the bad stuff out. I need to train myself to be emotionally stable and withstand or prevent the invasion of emotional hijacks.
Mr.Anderson, my high school biology teacher, would respond with a "Thank you, same as always" to the standard "How are you?". He later reflected on how his wife, the school director, was prone to constant ups and downs, being very happy and then being very sad depending on what happens in her life, while he preserved a somewhat normalized inner emotional state. That appeared cold and masculine to me at the time, but I see tremendous benefits of this "straight line" instead of "squiggly zig-zag" now. I won't even go into the necessity to stay emotionally stable.
Since January, I have watched myself extremely closely for emotional hijacks which caused the following to happen:
I became aware of the scary multitude of emotional hijacks at different levels of my life happening daily affecting many small and big decisions.
I continuously noticed myself still giving in to the same hijacks
Becoming aware and thus "measuring" my hijacks got me pretty fucking scared about how vulnerable I actually am.
I am perhaps more of an outlier because of how impressionable I am. Show me a good social ad and I will cry in a second.
As it always goes in this blog, "it was so bad that I had to figure out a way".
I designed a methodology for dealing with emotional hijacks.
I wanted to get us all aware of the often silent but impactful presence of hijacks in our lives. What if I tell you for a fact that right now in your plane a couple of seats are taken by "hijackers" who mean no good. We really have to prepare our plane.
I will provide my actual system in tomorrow's post.
See you tomorrow,