From our Newsletter: The force of emotion underlies all of our behavior. Emotions are stronger than thought. They are overwhelmingly powerful, and you are full of them.
Emotional reactivity is the automatic, ‘knee-jerk,’ unconscious response to people and situations. Think of how love at first sight, spontaneously fills one with fascination and joyful energy.
But under stress, emotional reactivity is almost always negative and uncivil.
We are ultimately in charge. But not always in control over the impulse of emotional reactivity.
Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a skill that helps one triumph over the less intelligent impulse. It’s a more skillful response to stressful situations and people.
The Force of Emotion helps make the world better by applying high emotional intelligence
This played out recently on a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston.
The tight space and loud noises over stimulated a boy with autism on that flight. He wanted to sit in the aisle because feeling the vibration was comforting. The flight attendants and passengers could have made it a demoralizing experience forcing rules for rule’s sake. But emotional intelligence prevailed.
It started when the flight attendants made accommodations and allowed Braysen Gabriel to sit in the aisle when it was safe. The passengers picked up on the life-giving energy and did their part, giving Braysen high fives and supporting him right where he was.
Collective high emotional intelligence prevailed on this day. It could have gone another direction but a few highly emotional intelligent people got ahead of the potential problem.
They deescalated, reduced tension and built resonance.
This is civility in action, civility at work!
I know this intimately because my 22-year-old daughter has autism. She is sensitive to noise, shouting, tight spaces, bright lights, certain foods (mashed potatoes). But that’s a story for another day.
“Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does.”
— William James