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How Emotionally Intelligent People Use the 24-Hour Rule to Maximize Success and Overcome Failure



You chased something. Hard. An enabling customer. A major contract. A seemingly impossible sales target. When all that time and effort pays off, you celebrate.

But the “celebration” lasts too long, and for some reason you’re not nearly as excited about what comes next. Servicing the customer. Fulfilling the contract. Building the infrastructure to support rapid growth. Basking in a past achievement is a lot more fun than embracing the time and effort required to accomplish whatever comes next. 

That’s happened to me. I was so tickled to sign a book deal with a major publisher that it took me longer than it should to actually start writing the book. I’ve been so thrilled to land certain speaking gigs that it sometimes took me longer than it should to start preparing to actually deliver those keynotes.

Or the opposite happens. You lose a major customer. You lose a bid. You don’t get accepted to grad school. You fail, and the feeling lingers — and instead of being a setback, comes to at least partly define you. 

That’s happened to me, too.

We all know the person at the office that hangs on to the past. They remind of us of the project they worked on 10 years ago that was a success. Or they let a temporary defeat turn into a permanent one. They are anchored to the past and it prevents them from seeing the future.

The 24-Hour Rule

Parrish calls it the 24-hour rule. Something great happens today? Feel the joy. Bask in the glow. Celebrate. Something terrible happens today? Feel the pain. Experience the regret. Stew.

Tomorrow? Put those feelings away; it’s a new day. A day to leverage a success, extend an opportunity, or consolidate a gain. Or, a day to take the first steps to overcome a failure, begin to rebuild after a collapse, or just start the (heck) over. 

Because can never control everything that happens, either because of or to you.

But you can always control how you respond.

The key is to experience and fully embrace your emotions… and also to refuse to allow those emotions to control your actions in a negative or harmful way.

You get to choose — because it is a choice — the kind of person you wish to be, and then, no matter what happens today, to be that kind of person tomorrow.

And the perfect way to start is by embracing the 24-hour rule. 

Celebrate today. Grieve today.

The next day, put those feelings away. Decide to make that day as productive and fulfilling as it can possibly be.

Because that’s another choice — and it is a choice — you get to make.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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