Composure…“Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.”
— Horace 65-68 BC
What image does “keeping an even mind” bring? For some it may bring calmness: the ability to reassure and lead when a disaster strikes. It may convey assurance: the ability to help people understand the complexity of a situation and move forward. Or it may offer patience: the ability to manage others in a fair and conscientious fashion.
These are uncertain times for all of us. There are external pressures and internal fears, which lead to disillusionment, discouragement, uncertainty. They lead to situations that you cannot change, or changes that you did not ask for—even other people’s decisions that you must enforce.
- Have you experienced some degree of tension when facing challenging situations in the past six months?
- Are you able not only to handle your own pressures, but stay composed enough to help others achieve their very best, whether it’s at home or at work?
In this day and age, these pressures exemplify why you need to develop composure. When you learn to employ it, you will be able to better keep your bearings and help others during ever-changing times and emotionally challenging situations.
Composure, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “calmness or repose especially of mind, bearing or appearance.” My own interpretation is “an absence of confusion in critical situations or decisions, and the ability to respond without the negative, limiting and sometimes self-sabotaging reactions that often are a natural first response for some of us.”
Composure can also be defined as calmness, emotional maturity, tranquility, peace, serenity, unperturbedness, placidness, and the state of being composed.
Interestingly, related to the word composure is the word repose (Latin for pause). Victor Frankl speaks of “the pause we should take between stimulus and response,” or the moment of choice as it were. The ability to truly pause both mentally and physically is critical to the development of control and ultimately composure. Throughout your day, watch people who are composed; when they speak or are faced with tough decisions, they usually have developed the habit of pausing before responding.
What will developing composure look like?
- As you work toward developing composure, you will begin to have greater control over your emotions and to function with greater effectiveness in stressful situations.
- You will develop the capacity to deal with stress in a calm, objective manner.
- You will learn not to allow your feelings to negatively affect performance and will not easily be discouraged or frustrated by problems.
- You will learn not to become upset over mistakes or misfortune, but to continue forward using your inner strength to uphold and guide you along the way.
If you do not naturally possess a tendency toward composure, take heart. Behaviors are not set in stone! By using personal awareness and accountability as tools to help you reach your goals, composure will be a way of acting, or reacting, that you can learn and develop.
*** Be sure to check out the Winslow Behavioral Assessment as Composure is one of the influential Self Control traits we measure!