Don't promise when you're happy, don't respond when you're angry, don't decide when you're sad.
The concept of tilt originally appeared in the middle of poker, is an emotional or mental state that can be caused by stress, anxiety, nervousness, frustration, or all kinds of emotions that make us lose control and make us underperform.
Tilt doesn't just apply to poker, but to our lives in general.
We all have our bad days when it feels like nothing is working despite all our goodwill.
- A client leaves us when we go out of our way for him.
- We spend time creating a quality product and simultaneously a competitor releases a similar product.
- We save for several months to invest, and our car fails us, which forces us to take in our savings.
All of these situations produce tilts. They trigger in us all kinds of destabilizing emotions that alter the way we function.
If we do not know how to respond effectively, we can quickly find ourselves stuck in a spiral where our performance decreases and our quality of life too.
We must then learn to break this cycle to regain our performance.
So how do you get out of this spiral? How to limit the tilt? Even better, how to anticipate the tilt so that it does not harm us?
Be aware of the existence of emotional cycles
Our best defense against tilt is to be aware that we are all influenced by our emotional cycles. We all go through phases of optimism, boredom, pessimism, anger, depression, relief...
Our life is punctuated by these emotions.
When we really become aware of them, we can reduce the influence they have on us.
- If we are in a depressive phase, we can tell ourselves that moments of joy are bound to await us in the future. That's how cycles work, after all.
- If we feel enthusiastic about the coming year, we can expect to experience difficulties that will inevitably discourage us sooner or later.
- If we are excited by a new project, we know that we will inevitably experience phases of boredom during its execution.
Approaching our emotions in this way allows us to develop a form of equanimity and thus reduce the effects of tilt on our lives.
Recognize your emotions quickly to act productively
Tilt is destructive when we let our emotions take over and act inappropriately when they are most intense.
Typically, we have just had a long and heated conversation with a client. We come to a meeting late and upset, and we get angry at our colleagues for no good reason.
To avoid this kind of unproductive behavior, we must be aware of our emotions as soon as they arise and respond to them productively and quickly.
If we are nervous, for example, it is better to walk outside for a few minutes to release our tensions, as evidenced by the study conducted by Jeff Miller and Zlatan Krizan on the benefits of walking.
If you are anxious, there is no point in obsessing over a task that requires intense concentration. Anxiety already takes a good part of our energy.
It is, therefore, best to do some stretching and breathing exercises or do some physical activity if possible. This will allow us to regain our attention and be in an optimal state of concentration.
It's all about getting to know each other to identify what triggers our emotions and knowing how to best respond to them.
The importance of breaks
When our emotions are at their peak, that's when tilt is most destructive. We then do or say things that we regret, we underperform, and we self-sabotage.
It is, therefore, best to take a more or less long break to regain an optimal emotional state. You can take a 10-minute break to go for a walk, take a 2-week vacation, or even take a sabbatical if necessary. It really all depends on the emotion you're responding to.
We all have those moments when we underperform in our lives. Tilts are one of the reasons. Learning to better manage our emotions can then prove to be of great help.