Is life getting better and more comfortable with each day? You should be becoming less fearful, less anxious, and less nervous. You want to be amassing the wisdom that gives you confidence, composure, and resolve; using each day to develop a relaxed “got it together” demeanor. Ideally, you are on your way to mastering, not just the workplace but, all of life. You are building your emotional intelligence muscle.
The key to mastering life is through mastering your emotions. The emotional brain or the limbic brain is what lets us love our family, work in groups, collaborate, and contribute to something larger than ourselves.
Feelings are your power base. Your ability to seize the reins, to temper your emotions and control your responses, not to come unhinged and lose yourself in the situation, this is what makes you the consummate professional. Emotions are why we rule the earth.
Emotions are overwhelmingly powerful, and you are full of them! But typically, people overlook them as an area for growth. In his book, Toward a Psychology of Being, Abraham Maslow said less than 1% of the adult population manages to develop enough emotionally to reach the top of the hierarchy—self-actualization.
Understanding the present will help you create a better future because (I hope it’s obvious) the reality you create is a reflection of how you feel. This leads us to the first and most foundation tenet of emotional intelligence, self-awareness.
Rather than heighten awareness, pay attention, pause and look inward, most people react (sometimes wildly) when some stimulus makes them feel uncomfortable. Emotions are the underlying foundation that informs everything else.
Just as the foundation of a house supports the entire structure, your emotional intelligence—how you use your higher intellect to manage emotions that result from life’s challenges, determines how you hold up during a “storm.”
The thing that everybody misses about emotional intelligence is that it is not as noticeable if you have it as when you don’t have it. So you could be adequately high emotional intelligence, but no one recognizes it. But they surely would notice if it wasn’t there.
A few months ago, celebrity Alec Baldwin was arrested for allegedly losing his temper and accosting someone over a parking space. He was described as aggressive, belligerent, notoriously tantrum-prone, a hothead. It was low emotional intelligence showing up.
Low emotional intelligence happens quickly; it’s dramatic and easy to observe. You can see it and mark it as it happened on this date. But high emotional intelligence is not as obvious. It occurs over a longer more protracted period. And practicing high emotional intelligence is not dramatic at all.
So let’s start this week. Begin by moving away from producing or feeding on drama. Pause and pay strenuous attention to your emotions, what is coming up. Use this heightened self-awareness to manage your feelings and moods before anyone else sees them.
You will be building the progress we are all called to build. That progress is also known as improving humanity!
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
See where Brian is speaking about Emotional Intelligence.