The beautiful lens of Emotional Intelligence
We are thrilled to share an article from our friend Damien Ryan of Excel Leadership Australia, titled: The beautiful lens of Emotional Intelligence
I once thought emotional intelligence was nothing but soft and squishy emotional stuff. I thought it was something to do with just being positive all the time and how to just be happy. But emotional intelligence is far more than just being nice and happy.
In fact, emotional intelligence is the most potent form of power you possess.
Emotional intelligence is not about being happy. It’s not about affirmations, positivity, and being all cuddly.
Emotional intelligence is about being in control of who you are and what you do and the results you achieve in life.
It’s about understanding what drives you and what decisions and choices we make in every moment.
It’s about knowing your triggers and being able to manage our responses in unexpected situations.
It’s about identifying what motivates you and the people around you and how to use that motivation to get the best out of everyone.
It’s about being aware of the impact we have on the people around us.
It’s about being aware of the impact our thoughts and emotions have on the influence, of the direction of our lives.
Every human being has a distinctive personality and each, our own set of traits, characteristics, and qualities, which create the unique lens we look through to create the expression of emotion. Handling these nuances effectively and efficiently requires emotional intelligence.
Science has shown that emotion precedes thought when we respond to a perceived threat. Our emotional memory is stored in the amygdala, the primitive part of our brain, and the part that contains our fight or flight response mechanism. The part of the brain that responds first when we perceive that threat.
When we are calm and not reacting to unexpected situations, we can hold 6 or 7 thoughts. It’s in this calm state where you can access your long-term memory, you can form complex thoughts, and you can see options and make calculated choices. This working memory is stored in our neocortex, the new brain as it’s sometimes called.
We must understand that we all feel before we think. Emotion comes before thought, we are all wired that way, you cannot escape that, you can only learn to manage it…
…and the management of these two symbiotic parts of the brain, is what I call emotional intelligence.
Your emotional intelligence can be significantly improved, firstly, by being self-aware. Being aware of when emotions arise and how they affect your actions. People who are self-aware can comprehend their emotions and keep their feelings in control while making important decisions and resourceful choices.
When emotions run high without the self-awareness of their consequences, they change the way our brains function and diminish our cognitive abilities, decision-making, and interpersonal skills.
Individuals who are self-aware are great at recognizing the importance of the relationship between the emotions they feel and the way they behave.
The next step towards emotional intelligence expertise is self-regulation. This is the practice of regulating and managing your emotions. It allows you to take responsibility for your actions, by expressing emotion appropriately.
Emotions are apart of all human life. Negative emotions and positive emotions. They come 50/50 and it is important to understand that negative emotion isn’t a bad thing, it means you’re human. It’s how you manage and regulate the expression of every emotion, that makes you emotionally intelligent.
The third characteristic of what makes up emotional intelligence is motivation. Individuals who use their emotional intelligence to control and create resourceful emotion in themselves will generate intrinsic motivation.
Those who are competent in this area can consciously choose to believe empowering thoughts, that create uplifting emotion, resulting in huge forward momentum swings in forwarding action. This then gives the individual clarity in seeking solutions to problems that will move them towards their goals. This intense motivation snowballs and empowers them to stay committed and take initiative.
Another vital element of emotional intelligence is Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling. It is also about understanding why someone feels and acts in a certain way and being able to communicate that understanding.
It also involves how you respond to people based on the emotions you read. The more you practice the skill of empathizing with others, the more you’re able to work through any negative emotion, build trust and remove yourself or the other person from what could be a negative, downward spiral.
The last piece of the emotional intelligence puzzle is social skills. The ability to interact effectively with the people around you, building trust, deep rapport, and leadership. True emotional intelligence is more than just understanding your emotions and those of others, it also requires putting that understanding into action.
Individuals with high emotional intelligence do not grow alone, rather they motivate others to develop, which establishes strong team-building skills and influence. In a professional environment, managers and leaders benefit from being able to develop their influence and rapport with colleagues, inspiring them to get the best results from everyone.
These 5 critical components of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills are what play the biggest role in success.
With the continual practice of these 5 components, you can indeed increase your level of emotional intelligence and ultimately give yourself a far higher chance of reaching huge goals and achieving success.
As humans, we are hard-wired to skip the thought process in threatening situations. The problem is, in today’s day and age, we rarely have situations in our lives that are life-threatening. Unless you’re jumping out of the way of a moving car or trying not to get eaten by a tiger, we really don’t have much to be fearful of in our modern world.
The brain is funny like that. Our primitive brain is still switched on and is what causes us to react in the face of danger and because we are so programmed and so practiced at reacting to situations, even when they are not threatening, that part of the brain is driven to a default behavior, a reaction without thought.
With emotional intelligence training, you can learn to manage these reactions. You can learn to catch yourself before you react and summon the power of thought, to create a resourceful emotion and corrective action.
The management of overriding these reactions is what makes emotionally intelligent people, so successful. They stay calm, they think clearer, they create better solutions, they generate momentum in their lives, and they make themselves, and everyone around them feels good.
Life flows. There’s very little push back as emotional intelligence creates clarity. It gives you a sense of direction and obstacles along the way seem less complex.
An emotionally intelligent person enjoys life a lot more. When we live life from a place of enjoyment, success comes more naturally, and you become the person you have always wanted to be.
Emotional intelligence is what creates a beautiful lens, of which to look through at life.
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