So You Think That YOU are Emotionally Intelligent?
Last Update: Apr 7, 2020
Study as we may, we never become Masters of Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is a process that only the university of life can give you, and if you are lucky a great background growing up. It is an innate ability to understand humility, empathy and vulnerability, and yet command the ability to use it and get the best out of everyone else around you.
If I have to think of one person who had a Doctorate cum Laude of Emotional Intelligence, I would say, it would be Mother Theresa.
In my opinion, Mother Theresa was one of the best marketers on Earth. Her medium was emotional intelligence. The woman had a purpose, but she brought the world to see it through her eyes. This diminutive woman, who understood, the power of prayer, and the power of communication, knew all the qualities of emotional intelligence AND she was a great leader.
Is Emotional Intelligence Relevant in the Market Place?
Emotional Intelligence is not a skill you learn at school. Whilst you do learn emotional intelligence as you grow older there are a few things that elude us even as mature adults about EI.
What is it that makes us emotionally intelligent people and how can we use this in the market place?
There are a few errors that we repeat constantly as parents, as heads of departments, as entrepreneurs and even as CEO's that do not reflect only poverty of emotional intelligence, but proves vindication by feeding off other people's weaknesses. These are emotional habits that make us feel valid at the detriment of others.
Here are a few examples of vicious circles that we can easily fall victim of and which are things we do - rather than do not do - which reflect poor emotional intelligance
- If there is a person with a problem we are quick to find a reason for their problems and blame them for it.
- We fall in a vicious circle of anxiety and stress and blame the environment we live in for our inabiity to fish ourselves out of the tunnels of powerful suction as strong as the Bermuda Triangle.
- We auto critique ourselves, and are terribly exacting on others - the minute we see that we are making any progress.
These are nothing more than a collection of bad habits that come in our way from growing emotionally and flowering. If we really want to grow emotionally, here are a few bad habits we need to identify and avoid. This follows through not just in our personal lives but also in the market place.
Criticize Others Only in as Far As You Want to be Criticized Yourself
Criticism is more often than not, a defence mechanism that we use to make ourselves feel better.
It is true that often we are auto-critical and this can be a good thing as much as it is a bad thing.
But if we identify that criticism is a habit that we give a dose of very often, then we are probably narrow minded and blind to others around us - because we are totally focused on just ourselves.
The worst case scenario is when we criticize others - that they are dumb or naive or even about their fashion sense - so that we imply that we are smart, sophisticated, or that we have good taste - and that makes us feel great.
If criticism is constructive - it makes the recipient feel better. If criticism is harsh, it is usually dished to make the person delivering it feel better.
Criticism is a primariy nothing more than a self-defence mechanism. Emotionally intelligent people are strong enough to avoid harmful criticism - because they do not need to feel better about their own insecurities.
Are you Worrying Too Much About the Future?
I know that this is not the perfect timing to tell anyone not to worry about the future - because we are all very preoccupied with what is happening in our lives, living through a Pandemic. It is impossible not to worry about our health and our economic future. But even here, what are we primarily more occupied about? What is our priority preoccupation? Health or finance?
Under regular cirumstances, we are, as human beings, fixated with putting order in our lives and trying to remove uncertainty in the future - because certainty gives us better control. It is the way in which the brain is designed. Whenever it encounters uncertainty, it signals fear. Because of FEAR, we are better equipped to fight and become courageous. Our brain is programmed to protect us and because of this protection we survive longer. Fear is the auto-protect signal.
The flip side to this natural skill of survival, is worrying too much to the point that we obsess.
Here are some points that are true in life now and always and especially on the market place
- If you are thinking too hard about a problem - are you going to solve it? So are you looking at the problem in a productive or destructive manner?
- If you obsess about a problem, and think of it in all is variants and possible outcomes - will that make you better equipped to deal with the outcome?
- If worrying can solve the problem will you feel stronger about making a decision?
No matter how huge a problem is, and how much we worry about it - there will be a point in time, some time later, when the gravity of the situation, will look much paler and less intense than at the moment we are living it.
In retrospect all huge problems diminish in size. If you can solve a problem, it is ok to worry about it. If you cannot see an outcome from worrying, then a problem will only eat you up. Emotionally intelligent people worry a lot less.
Revisit Your Past Only to Learn From Your Mistakes
One of the many reasons why we revisit our past is usually to prove that we had control over a situation. For the emotionally bereft, revisiting the past means that we usually beat ourselves up over mistakes we did then. This will only leave us without any strength and very poorly equipped for the future.
Revisiting the past is also a favourite place where we can find someone else to blame for the predicament that we find ourselves in today.
Past mistakes evoke guilt, shame and regret. But the past cannot be recalled and nothing can change the past.
This is a situation that emotionally intelligent people have a good grip on. The past is there to learn from and move forward, not to use it as the beating stick - neither on ourselves nor on others. It only accentuates the real pain of being helpless.
Setting Expectations that Are too High for Ourselves and For Others
Setting goals and targets has become the norm. Having bench marks and trying to achieve them is part of life.
But what happens when we set our targets too high? I personally have a habit of doing this. I wake up and plan my day. If I am realistic, all that I target will require two days of human effort to achieve. Even if I am a high achiever, it still leaves me dealing with two very negative emotions. Disappointment and Anxiety.
If I keep constantly setting targets which are way out of my reach, my self esteem becomes lower - even if I end up doing far more than an average person in one day. This can even lead to depression if it becomes chronic.
Sadly the world around us does not help. Marketing, for example really sets our expectations of life, of ourselves, and as a result of the people who live with us, or work for us much higher than we can achieve in reality.
Because we do not achieve our far fetched expectations we end up with frustration and disappointment.
I referred to marketing and the expectation it raises of us. Marketing and the setting of successful happy people, who are all portrayed as perfection - is actually a lot more tragic in reality than we make it out to be. Not only does marketing raise the bar on the expectation of performance levels of ourselves, but it also raises the bar on the expectation of what we deserve.
When the shot falls short of the goal and everything we are promised in marketing does not materialize we feel disillusion.
Emotional Intelligence - Is This Part of Our DNA?
I am currently reading a book by Brene Brown - called " The Power of Vulnerability" and to be very frank with you this has been the inspiration from where I have drawn up this article about Emotional Intelligence. Brene Brown does not just have a Doctorate in Psychology, but in my opinion really has a great emotional intelligence and has a great handle on how to break down a diffcult subject in very simple terms.
Emotional Intelligence is explained as an ability to monitor your emotions and that of others.
It seems to me - that Emotional Intelligence is measured more by what you don't do rather than by what you do.
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