'It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.' - Epictetus
In today’s blog, I am going to whizz through the key points around Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that will help you go from zero to hero. Hold on tight.
1) What are emotions and why we have them
2) The three pillars of EQ
3) The benefits of strong EQ
4) Working out which EQ quadrant you are in
5) How to improve your EQ
1. What are emotions and why do we have them?
Emotions make us 'feel' something. They alert us mentally and prepare our physically for possible action. The result is that emotions help us survive and respond to changing environments.
Emotions play a crucial role in our lives, alerting us to the significance of events and helping us make decisions. They are a blend of nature and nurture, shaped by personal experiences. Emotions influence our perception of different situations. Two people might experience the same event completely differently.
Events with high emotional significance are more memorable. E.g. the birth of your child or remembering what they were doing when they first heard about a plane going into the twin towers.
While emotions can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of decision-making by allowing us to draw on past experiences and quickly assess options, they can also lead to misfires. In extreme cases they can lead to phobias or panic attacks. While emotions provide us with an imperative to act, it is important to evaluate and sense-check them to ensure they align with the reality of the situation at hand.
The EQ tripod
1) Self-awareness is a process of trying to understand what you feel and why you might feel it. You try and observe how you feel and relate it to the situation at hand. Self-awareness is better than suppressing your thoughts. Suppressing thoughts only stores up problems for later.
Below is a four-step practice to ace self-awareness
2) Self-control is when you respond appropriately to the situation in front of you. Self-control in practice means neither overreacting or underreacting. One example of self-control is resisting an urge when you feel your reaction would be damaging. Another example would be providing the necessary energy to a situation (e.g. praise or concern) when you feel a bit flat.
3) Practicing empathy is sensing the emotions of others and imagining what someone else is feeling. In practice this is a mosaic of cues and background or spoken information. Empathy is a powerful way to get someone's perspective.
The benefits of Emotional Intelligence
By building on the three pillars a number of positive traits emerge.
Which EQ Quadrant are you in?
Awareness - ability to understand the feelings of yourself and others
Control - your ability to control your own feelings and influence those of others.
Which of awareness, control or empathy do you need to focus on?
How to improve your EQ
So those are the nuggets from the last two months. I hope you enjoyed the Emotional Intelligence series. Next week - 'Why I meditate'. Don't forget to sign up to the subscription list.
Other blogs in the emotional intelligence series