Tiago Forte recently tweeted that “The key to ultimate productivity is being completely driven by your emotions.” A few years ago I’d have vehemently disagreed. But nowadays, I think that Tiago’s idea is an understatement. See, I think the foundation of all great human achievement is found in emotion.Those great discoveries that we typically attribute to reason? What was the driving force behind them? The great structures, the great inventions, the reality-altering modes of thinking and doing? What compelled the person who found them to look and keep looking? Emotion, emotion, emotion.
The claim that our ability to use reason to check emotion is what separates us from our ape ancestors is, thus, off the mark. What separates us from our descendants, what has enabled humanity’s ascendance, is the use of emotion to empower our reasoning. We are only able to fly so high—and stoop so low—because emotion amplifies our thought to the most incredible degree. Emotion—be it positive or negative—is what enables us to endure, to create, to speculate, to challenge, and ultimately, to care.