Optimal Emotional State for Maximum Performance – The Startup – Medium

Optimale emotionele staat voor maximale prestaties

Wanneer u persoonlijke ontwikkelingsexperts leest of beluistert, raakt u misschien in de war over de optimale emotionele toestand voor maximale prestaties.

De Law of Attraction-experts leren ons ons goed te voelen om aan te trekken wat we willen. Ze bevelen aan dat we ons voelen alsof de wens al vervuld is. Ze suggereren dat we het positieve vinden in elke situatie en dankbaarheid cultiveren.

Dan zijn er motiverende experts. Ze schreeuwen tegen ons als een brigadier. Ze willen dat we boos worden, nooit tevreden zijn met onze prestaties en het volgende doel voor ons aanvallen.

Alsof dat nog niet genoeg was, hebben we de Zen-experts. Ze leren ons om al onze emoties los te laten en aan onze taken te werken met mentale helderheid.

Ik weet niets over jou, maar dat verwarde me vroeger tot ik het grote plaatje zag.

The optimal emotional state for maximum performance changes from person to person and from situation to situation.

The trick here is to recognize which emotional state is necessary for you in a particular situation and then get into that state.

Every person is different. Therefore, I can’t come up with a simple formula that would work for everyone. I’m going to discuss what works for me in different situations to give you an idea. You can make a similar analysis for yourself.

The Ideation Phase

As I have explained in a previous post, I make a difference between two phases while working. The first phase is ideation.

In the ideation phase, I reflect on the problem at hand. I come up with possible solutions and analyze those solutions. I decide on one of them and draft an execution plan.

The optimal emotional state for the ideation phase is relaxation. It doesn’t matter whether my emotions are positive or negative at this stage. I want their intensity to be low. Not too low that I fall asleep, but sufficiently low, so that they don’t interfere with my thinking.

A low intensity emotional state is what the Zen experts are teaching us. It gives us a certain mental clarity to see the big picture and think in depth on a certain problem.

Michael A. Singer explains this mental state in his book Untethered Mind. He also documents his journey from being a yogi academician to becoming a successful businessman in his book The Surrender Experiment. Both books are highly recommended and show how a Zen mind helps you succeed in business and life.

The Execution Phase

When I decide on a solution and have my plan to execute it, that is the time to cultivate aggressiveness. Of course not aggressiveness towards people or property, but towards the work.

The angry drill sergeant motivation is useful during the execution phase. Again there’s an optimal point in the intensity of anger to perform well during the execution phase. If the intensity of anger exceeds that optimal point, it becomes counterproductive rather than being productive.

Anger is not the only intense emotions that would work in the execution phase. Enthusiasm, excitement, and to some extent fear and worry could also fuel your performance in the execution phase. But again, there is an optimal point in the intensity of each of these emotions.

The Resting Phase

Oscillating only between the ideation and execution phases and never resting is a recipe for burn-out. I need my rest time. Low intensity of emotions are ideal for the rest phase.

Some people use caffeine to fuel their execution phases. The problem with that approach is that caffeine tends to stay in the body longer than the execution phase and interferes with the resting phase. For that reason, using your own emotions to fuel the execution phase is better than relying on caffeine.

The Introspection Phase

“The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

If you want to follow Socrates’s advice, you might want to include some introspection in your weekly routine. The optimal emotional state for that is slight sadness and a quite environment, free of distraction.

Optimism vs Pessimism

Excluding the extreme cases, optimistic people perform better than pessimistic people. One aspect of optimism is the faith in your ability to grow if you put in the necessary time and effort.

People with growth mindset have a higher chance of success compared to people with fixed mindset. If you want to learn more about growth and fixed mindset, I recommend the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.


As I have mentioned above, this is a personal analysis of me, my work, and my life. It’s meant to give you an idea on how you can make a similar analysis of yourself, your work, and your life. Having that analysis is a good starting point, but it’s not enough.

You need to be able to go through the following steps to perform at a high level.

  1. 1Recognize the situation you are in.
  2. 2Recognize which emotional state is the optimal for that situation.
  3. 3Get into that situation.

These three steps require awareness and self-regulation. It is a skill that you can learn, if you pay attention and put in the time and effort.

Self-regulation is a part of emotional intelligence. If you want to learn more about emotional intelligence, I recommend the audiobook Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence by Prof. Jason M. Satterfield, available at audible.com.

Another part of emotional intelligence is recognizing those emotions in others and cultivating the necessary emotions in others. That might as well be the most important leadership skill.


De optimale emotionele toestand voor maximale prestaties hangt af van de situatie en van de persoon. Je moet de scenario's analyseren die je vaak tegenkomt en ontdekken welke emotionele toestand het beste werkt voor jou in die scenario's.

Als je eenmaal je emotionele speelboek hebt, is het aan jou om je emoties te reguleren volgens de situatie waarin je je bevindt.

Als je je leiderschapsvaardigheden wilt verbeteren, moet je de vaardigheid ontwikkelen om bepaalde emoties bij anderen te cultiveren, afhankelijk van de situatie waarin je team zich bevindt.