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Independence Day is tomorrow!

To honor this holiday I was looking for some cool quotes from the founding fathers. Well, it turns out I’m not as much into politics as I am emotional wellness and how it affects relationships, so this quote by Thomas Jefferson hit home:

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson

Ironically, studying the founding fathers of America will quickly lead you to the conclusion they too thought more about relationships and the emotional nature of humans than raw politics. Frankly, the Declaration of Independence , which was authored by Thomas Jefferson, and the Constitution are both written arguably for the sole purpose of defining and setting boundaries around the relationship between individuals and their government. Tomorrow, we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, Independence Day.

Why did they focus on this relationship?

One reason is that some people by nature want to lead and another is that there are a lot of hot and emotionally ruffled people in the world. The danger to the rest of us comes when the same person possess both of these qualities. Due to their innate instability, these people often seek to control others, be it people or animals. Worse yet, because they can’t “gain advantage” by means of their emotional health they satisfy their appetites for control in one of two undesirable ways, force or coercion. In general these people give off some pretty negative vibes. Jefferson had seen this type before.

Emotionally healthy leaders on the other hand, command respect through their behavior, drawing willing followers to them in a seemingly effortless fashion. You just simply feel good in their company. You trust them, no matter what the circumstances, to do the right and reasonable thing. They generally seek the good of others above themselves.

If you’re tuned in to emotion and body language you can easily identify both of these types of people from a distance. Without them saying a word, you can already know a great deal about them.

While I’m fairly sure Jefferson, the third President of the United States,  wasn’t thinking about his dog or horse when he put this concept to words, I wonder if he ever had some inclination of the power this state of mind can have on animals. If he ever had a dog or a horse, I’m quite sure he did. If you need some practice figuring out who these people are quickly, here’s some advice, start listening to a dog or a horse.

Mosie can see emotionally unhealthy people coming from a great distance. She is our rescued, “All American” mutt. She’s like a fine tuned emotional health people meter. If you’re one of those that manages to “remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances” she is generally pretty cool with you. If, on the other hand, you are not so cool, and heaven forbid a little emotionally ruffled, look out, she just may dismember you piece by piece. Mosie is afraid, observant, and smart. She knows that a person who is not emotionally sound is a threat to her and cannot be trusted. By noting her body language as well as those she opposes and accepts I have learned a great deal about people and their character.

short story about leadership, Indenpendence Day

Horses are born skeptics. They can also precisely calculate your emotional health to such a degree of detail we can safely call them mind readers. Pat Parelli, a natural horseman, is often heard saying, “Some people can drive any horse crazy.” You can guess which type of persons they are by now. Yep, you know them. The folks that step inside the pasture holding a rope, behind their back in a futile attempt to hide it, and all the horses run away. They too, like Mosie, know that this person cannot be trusted. They will not willingly follow such an emotionally fickle leader.

emotional wellness

 

Most, if not all tyrants are emotionally unstable.

Think of some of the biggest nut cases in history and they were probably tyrannical leaders of nations. These are folks that attempted to kill entire groups of people because of the way they looked or their nationality. Or maybe, at a whim, they executed individuals out of wrath, jealousy, envy, or even entertainment.

So Jefferson was really on to something. First, if you want to be a leader whose followers are willing, learn to control your emotions under all circumstances. Second, beware of emotionally unstable people, especially those attempting to lead, as they will seek to control and coerce. They cannot be trusted. Tomorrow, as a nation we celebrate Independence Day. Maintaining our independence as a nation as well as individuals depends on our ability to discern emotional stability in people. Third, work to stay cool, calm, and collected yourself. It’s attractive, offers an advantage, and it feels great! Here’s wishing you an emotionally healthy Independence Day!

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