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Employ Resilience to Maintain Control of Your Emotions

How to make this process work for you

A target of one of my investigations in San Francisco was a foreign spy who hated the U.S. I’ll call him "Agent X," and he worked for a hostile intelligence service headquartered in Asia. Silicon Valley was a hotbed of foreign spies trying to steal classified and proprietary information.

He agreed to meet me for lunch. Agent X began our conversation with charges that capitalism leads to poor moral values and that Americans were too stupid to recognize a better way of life — communism. He talked with his mouth full and spat bits of food over the table as he said more than once that he supported the 9/11 terrorists.

I felt angry and knew this conversation would continue in a downward spiral unless I got a handle on my emotions. Yes, Agent X was a bigoted jerk, but I still needed to find a way to connect with him. I needed to manage my flow of thought if I wanted to control my emotions. First, I knew Agent X had been brainwashed by his government to dislike the West in general and the U.S., in particular. He was a product of his environment. Instead of arguing with Agent X, I asked him questions about the reasons for his beliefs. It turned out that many of the stereotypes he had about American culture came from reality TV shows. In which case, I might actually agree with him.

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