How does the Balance Wheel work?

by Fred

I’ve fielded a few questions about the Balance Wheel on the Forum this week, so I think it’s time to do a little explaining there.

Very simply, the Balance Wheel is a tool that helps me select the most effective emotion to process a given stimulus. Why do I need that? Because I very often react to a stimulus with an ineffective emotion. Depression is probably the most common. Depression is an all-too-common response to a vast array of stimuli. Your boss yells at you. You get depressed. Your wife is distant. You get depressed. You win tickets to Monday Night RAW. You get depressed. At least I would. Anyway, depression is never an effective way to process any stimulus. Depression is a predator and should be defeated at every turn.

One way to avoid depression is to use the Balance Wheel. Your boss yells at you. First, avoid responding with anything that leads to depression, namely, fear or anxiety. Never respond to your boss yelling at you with fear or anxiety. In fact, you must forcefully deny yourself the response of fear or anxiety because fear and anxiety are innate (inborn) responses. That is exactly why depression is so common. We allow the innate responses to take over. You must respond consciously with positive action.

Here are two positive responses to your boss yelling at you. First, use compassion (not anger or Contempt). Compassion actually lies in the Love pie piece of the Balance Wheel. Compassion teaches you to see the situation from the boss’s point of view. He’s on a tight budget, and you were responsible for getting the project done. Sure some a-hole on your team dropped the ball, but you have to take the ass-chewing because you have to. Also, the boss is just blowing off steam. He shouldn’t do it, and he might even feel bad later. Second, use Disgust. This is the conscious and controlled version of fear or anxiety. By responding with Disgust (not anger or Contempt) you can address the deficiencies that helped cause the boss to blow up. You can even confront the clown who dropped the ball without yelling at him the way the boss yelled at you.

It seems simplistic once it’s explained, but remember this. Getting yelled at by the boss very often leads to anger, contempt, and depression. Why? Because we don’t follow the most effective route for our emotions. We follow the easiest route, the innate route. And we defeat ourselves. Remember, the innate response (fear) is what the snake depends on to help confuse the rat.

How do you respond to your wife being distant? It’s depressing. But you must use compassion. That’s very difficult, because a compassionate response would involve two contradictory actions on your part. You have to be attentive and give her space at the same time. How the hell do you do that? It takes skill. All the Balance Wheel will tell you is that you’re on the right track. It won’t tell you how to do the impossible. That’s what being a husband is all about.

As for winning tickets to Monday Night RAW or any other similar event such as a drag race or a tractor pull, my innate response would be to scalp them. But a better course of action would be to use compassion. Just give them away.

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