Scott’s Thoughts: Emotions are Predictions

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

-Dale Carnegie, American writer and lecturer, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Hand holding a clock emerging from a hole.Every single Realtor knows that buying or selling a home is an experience fraught with emotion. It also just happens to be one of the biggest financial transactions one can undertake. It can be a real recipe for disaster, and there isn’t a practicing agent out there today without at least one story of how a buyer or seller shot themselves in the foot by letting their emotions run amok during a deal.

But what are emotions? Where do they come from? Are we really at the mercy of our feelings? Scientist Lisa Feldman Barrett says “no.” According to Barrett, emotions are guesses. They are predictions. We manufacture them, and when we realize we are both subject to and the source of our emotions, we have powerful tools at hand to change.

In Barrett’s TEDTalk, “You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them,” she makes a compelling case about how old ideas about emotions prevents us from taking greater responsibility. I found her analysis of emotions and their relationship to the brain’s function as a “predictor” particularly fascinating.

“You are not at the mercy of mythical emotion circuits which are buried deep inside some ancient part of your brain,” Barrett says. “You have more control over your emotions than you think you do. I don’t mean that you can just snap your fingers and change how you feel the way that you would change your clothes, but your brain is wired so that if you change the ingredients that your brain uses to make emotion, then you can transform your emotional life.”

If you have 15 minutes during lunch today, have a listen to this take on emotions. Reflect on it in the context of how emotions may be reframed in the high-stakes experience of buying and selling homes.

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