Food for Thought – Emotional Intelligence
The rabbit holes
The boss sends you an email. I want to see you in the office at 3pm. Do you imagine there is something wonderful about to happen? Is there a hint of caution? The messages we receive can evoke such powerful responses. A statement or an incident and then Bang! Without a map of emotional intelligence we are lost down a mind-field of rabbit holes of confusion and self-doubt.
When I google ‘thoughts’ the resulting search reveals that each of us has 45,000 a day, with 80% being negative. That’s an avalanche of mindless thoughts rife with image baits and emotional snares. The link between action – thought – reaction is a web of reflexes. Conditional responses that have been learned.
The centre of the universe
Reflex answers – is that why it’s easier to respond with negative opinions? If I am on the motorway and a Porsche cuts me off do I have the right to say they did that on purpose? Would that force retaliation? Consider this – I pull the car over only to find the driver upset because they had a distressing phone call and did not see me in the rear vision mirror. Would I still be angry or would I react differently?
How many times do we position ourselves as the catalyst to everything? The traffic jam when I was in a rush to get to work. The queue for tickets because they know I have no time to wait. The guy on the train station whose train is delayed by 30 minutes and turning to me says ‘well of course it is, they knew I had a deadline’. Does our reaction start from an unconscious belief that we are the centre of the universe? Are we that important?
Introducing – the Critic
The trap of so-called conventional wisdom, our default position a repertoire of ‘criticism’. If I present a new idea to 10 people why will 9 tell me why it won’t work? Is status in modern society becoming a master of critical opinion in your field of expertise? From Sport, Entertainment, Business and Politics, the title of Critic is a genuine profession. Maybe the way we influence others needs to be reconsidered?
Is it mis-communication?
Don’t believe me? Try this simple test. See if you can give a compliment without a suspicious look being thrown back. The simple reply should be an obvious ‘thank you’, instead of a ‘Yeah right, what do you want’ which makes you feel weak, needy… And if I point out a weakness (obvious or not) does that imply a sense of superiority? Am I suggesting that to point out the flaw I am the only one clever enough to see it? And if I state the error or mistake then how will others react to me?
When I was younger and attempting to learn guitar my dad would constantly remind me of how bad I sounded. Years later when I played a CD of my music he was rather impressed. I asked him why he never encouraged me? He looked shocked – but I did. I challenged you to do better every time you played. For a kid this can be confusing.
Let’s try this – together
We send messages between each other in a perpetual rain of innuendo and suggestion. Let’s get rid of the guesswork and aim for better messages. The email – John, good news, would like to meet you in the office at 3pm to discuss the Richter Account. The Porsche – hey is everything okay, you nearly hit me? Good old dad – Son, keep practising you can only get better. Communication skills are not about how much power I can claim from you, it’s how much power I can release in you. How about we try this together, after all we share the same small planet. And none of us are getting out alive.