January is always a good month for behavioral economics: Few things illustrate self-control as vividly as New Year's resolutions. February is even better, though, because it lets us study why so many of those resolutions are broken.
From time to time, life as a leader can look hopeless. To help you, consider a man who lived through this: Failed in business at age 31. Defeated for the legislature at 32. Again failed in business at 34. Sweetheart died at 35. Had a nervous breakdown at 36. Defeated in election at 38. Defeated for Congress at 43. Defeated for Congress at 46. Defeated for Congress at 48. Defeated for Senate at 55. Defeated for Vice President at 56. Defeated for Senate at 58. Elected President at age 60. This man was Abraham Lincoln.
If you are bitten by a snake, what's the best thing to do? Remain calm, separate the poison from the rest of your body, suck the poison out. Worst thing to do: get upset, chase and kill snake. Same when someone strikes out at you verbally. Remain calm, don't try to strike back at the other person. Don't let the poison spread throughout your system.