According to Wikipedia, equanimity is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.
Can you see how crucial equanimity is for high performance and success?
Hardship Is a Part of Life
Imagine, you’re a salesperson visiting a prospect for a critical sales call. You got stuck in a traffic jam for a couple of hours. You had to deal with other drivers honking at each other and cutting each other off. You’re an hour late for the meeting. And your prospect makes sarcastic remarks when they see you arrive.
Imagine, you had to bring a loved one to a hospital before you go to work. When you arrived at work, your boss yells at you because of an unsatisfied customer. And on top of all of that, your computer crashes.
Those scenarios might sound exaggerated, but ask anyone who had a long enough career, and they’ll confirm the existence of such days.
How would you feel in such scenarios? Would you throw in the towel and quit? Would you take it on someone else, like a coworker, a family member, or a complete stranger? Or would you take it on the chin and move on? If you can choose the last option, congratulations, you have equanimity.
Equanimity in Daily Life
Equanimity is not only useful in disaster scenarios. Working toward a worthy goal can often involve frustrating episodes. Then, there are the disappointments, desperations, and boredom of our daily lives.
Even excessive happiness can feel uncomfortable at times and keep you from concentrating on the job at hand. Equanimity is the antidote to all of those common scenarios.
How to Cultivate Equanimity
You might think that acting out your intense emotions would calm you down. The real effect of acting out your emotions is actually reinforcing them. You might feel wound down when you act out, but the next time the same emotion hits you, it will feel more intense. So, expressing your emotions won’t help you with equanimity.
How about suppressing them? Avoiding them, or treating them with drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, binge eating, sex, internet surfing, or with another distraction? Suppressing intense emotions won’t contribute to your equanimity either.
A reliable way to build equanimity is to stay with your emotions without expressing, suppressing, or trying to change them in any other way. David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., calls this practice the letting go method, and he has a book with the same name, which is one of my 12 recommended personal development books.
In some cases, your emotions might be so overwhelming that you might not be able to stay with them. In such cases, Hawkins recommends using expression or suppression consciously. You let go as much as you can, and you express or suppress the rest in a safe and sound way.
The Rewards of Equanimity
Letting go is hard work, but it’s worth its rewards. You reach equanimity and mental clarity. Both help you with taking rational decisions and behaving reasonably, which increase your performance and lead to success.
Moreover, in the absence of intense emotions, you reach a state of bliss. For many, this state of bliss is a greater reward than the material gains.
Whether your goal is to reach material success or spiritual rewards, you can take your practice to the next level by actively engaging in experiences that make you feel intense emotions and apply the letting go method. In other words, go toward the eye of the storm to reach equanimity faster.
Equanimity is the ability to stay calm and collected even in the face of the most disturbing experiences.
You can cultivate equanimity by staying with intense emotions without expressing or suppressing them, or trying to change them in any other way.
When you reach equanimity, your rewards will not only be mental clarity, high performance, and material success, but also spiritual bliss.