There’s a story by Mark Manson (Best Selling Author of “The subtle art of not giving a fuck”) that clearly explains the need for emotional intelligence and I would be borrowing it to show you how important it is.
An astronaut is probably the most difficult job to land on the planet. Of tens of thousands of applications, NASA selects roughly half a dozen each decade. The application process is rigorous and highly demanding.You have to be a total badass to qualify.
You have to have deep expertise in science and engineering. You need at least 1,000 hours of piloting experience. You have to be physically fit and strong. And, most of all, you have to be smart as hell .
Lisa Nowak was all of these things. She had an MSc. in aeronautical engineering and had studied postgraduate astrophysics at the U.S. Naval Academy. She flew air missions for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific for over five years. And in 1996, she was one of the fortunate few to be selected to become an astronaut.
But in 2007, after discovering that her lover was seeing another woman, Lisa drove 15 hours straight, in a diaper, from Houston to Orlando, in order to confront her boyfriend’s new squeeze in an airport parking lot.
Simply put, A lack of Emotional intelligence explains why intelligent people like Lisa often do really, really stupid things.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is a term created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book Working With Emotional Intelligence,.
Emotional Intelligence is your ability to recognise, process and manage emotions—both others’ and your own—and come to sound decisions.
In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive your behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions — both your own and others — especially when under pressure.
In his book, Daniel Goleman cites the Harvard Business School research that determined that EQ counts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be Successful.
Infact, Other Psychologists have backed claims that Emotional intelligence is more important than Intelligent Quotient. ( IQ)
Research has found that the part of the brain responsible for Emotional Intelligence is found in the same regions of our brains that triggers flight or fight to danger or the feeling that we are under attack.
This part of the brain also overrides our sense of reason ( Intelligence Quotient ) – The basic logic that allows us to make sound decisions.
Lisa packed zip ties, pepper spray, and large garbage bags and had some vague-but-not-really-thought-through plan to kidnap the woman. But before she could even get the woman out of her car, Lisa had an emotional breakdown, resulting in her quickly being arrested.
This means that you have an Emotional response first which overrides your IQ when under pressure.
Emotional Intelligence explains why even the smartest people amongst us do dumb shit! – Dumb Unexplainable Sh*t!
Understanding this would explain some cringe behaviours you see everyday online.
You must have met one or two Lisa’s in your life – Worse still You might have been Lisa at one point in time in your life.
One More Reason For Emotional Intelligence?…
According to Forbes, This study by Johnson & Johnson showed that the highest performers in the workforce were also those that displayed a higher emotional intelligence.
And according to Talent Smart, 90% of high performers in the workplace possess high EQ, while 80% of low performers have low EQ. Simply put, your emotional intelligence matters.
Simply put – You are very likely to be more successful at work if you have a higher Emotional Intelligence.
This does not mean there are no highly successful people with Low Emotional Intelligence – but your chances of success are higher on this other side ( higher Emotional Intelligence )
Thankfully, While IQ is harder to change, EQ is something you can work on and develop over time.
This is good as no matter how smart or dumb you are – you have no excuse to remain a “shitty person” or be like lisa to “get even”.
5 Ways To Develop Emotional Your Emotional Intelligence
1 Learn to Manage Your Negative Emotions Better :
When you are angry, in the heat of the moment – you are most likely to make the wrong judgement call.
While it is easier said than done – giving yourself time to cool off before you react or jump to a conclusion can help you look at things with a saner mind – Allowing logic to prevail.
Most times we go off on someone in the heat of the moment and later when we are calm, we realise we maybe took it a bit too far.
Allowing yourself not to be easily riled up is one key to having a better grasp on your emotional intelligence.
2 Practice empathy.
Empathy is defined as the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference.
This piece from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley beautifully depicts two different types of empathy:
Simply put, empathy means focusing on others and seeing things from other people’s perspective.
Being empathetic does not mean you excuse bad behaviour, You are just able to react better to other people’s emotions.
You are able to realise that everyone has their own private battles and most outbursts are as a result of these battles and troubles and nothing to do with you.
You do this better by putting yourself in their shoes.
3. Know Your Stressors
Knowing what stresses you and the “triggers” that get you off balance is a great way to develop better emotional intelligence.
Finding the things and people that stress you out, helps you identify and limit them in your life.
Not just in your surroundings but online. – Your mind works with what you feed it.
If you feel stressed by the news – limit the amount of news you consume daily.
If checking your work email at night would get you all worked up – leave it till morning.
You know the things and people that trigger negative emotional outbursts from you.
Learn to identify and limit the impact they have in your life.
4 How You Bounce back from adversity
Everyone has uphill battles. Everybody has some sort of challenge they are going through and that’s life.
Your ability to bounce back from a challenge would help develop your emotional intelligence.
How do you deal with setbacks? –
Do you learn from them and grow? or you complain a lot and have a view that nothing good ever happens to you?
With the former – you begin to develop a mindset that any difficulty can be overcomed or learned from, while the latter gives you more stress and does not solve your problem.
Life is all about challenges – how you cope and deal with them can make or break you.
The choice is yours really.
5 Practice Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and without judgment.
Mindfulness helps you shift your preoccupation with thoughts toward an appreciation of the moment. Mindfulness calms and focuses you, making you more self-aware in the process.
Mindfulness means you’re not worrying about what’s going to happen in the future or what has happened in the past.
This shift enables you to take a step back and make better decisions. It also enhances creativity, focus, and productivity.
One way to practice Mindfulness is to sit with your own thoughts and learn.
The major goal of an Emotional Intelligent person is the ability to look at things objectively so you don’t get riled up as easily.
These 5 steps can help you start working on your Emotional Intelligence.
Not sure about your Emotional Intelligence? Take this Quiz
Having a high level of emotional intelligence will serve you well in your relationships in the workplace and in all areas of your life.
You want that – Don’t You?