22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
When our hearts are hardened, we become irrational. We lose the ability to think clearly, and we consequently make poor decisions. That is why we sometimes fail to benefit from corrective feedback–because our emotional response overwhelms our reason, causing us to reject the guidance which we would otherwise have easily accepted and followed (1 Nephi 16:2-3).
That is also why only Nephi was able to “think outside the box” and innovate under stressful circumstances. While his brothers and his father were reduced to complaining and murmuring, he was able to recognize that he had the materials necessary to build tools to solve their immediate problem. When our hearts are hardened through fear, anger, or discouragement, we artificially limit the scope of our thoughts, which prevents us from taking the very actions that would have improved our situation. It becomes a vicious cycle: discouragement leads to inaction, which makes things worse, leading to further discouragement.
Today, I will intentionally keep my emotions in check, so that they do not impair my ability to think clearly and to creatively solve the problems I face.