Emotions are part of being human. But emotions can clutter our reasoning. When emotions get out of control, situations suddenly turn black and white. We generalize from a few cases. We become more radical. It’s easier to fall prey to biases. It’s nearly impossible to ignore sunk costs.
Positive habits—also called virtues— help us make the better of our emotions by providing control and measure. For example, courage can help us face our fears and overcome them. Patience helps us endure difficult moments, or persevere when passion doesn’t answer our summons.
Just as we try to teach kids to deal with their emotions, we all can get better at this.