FORGET THE POUND & THE DOLLAR: THE MOST POWERFUL CURRENCY IN THE WORLD IS ‘EMOTIONS’.
THIS IS WHAT DRIVES US; EACH AND EVERYONE OF US…
EI or emotional intelligence has been one of the most frequently words used in management and leadership jargon in the last few decades. It is a relatively newer concept (in contrast to IQ) and various models and means of measurement have been proposed and used. It got highlighted in the leadership arena especially because of the realisation that people despite high IQs and expert skills were not successful as leaders and were found to be deficient in EI.
There are lots of good books and websites on EI and there is no sense in me duplicating those here. However, I would like to focus on EI at a more personal level rather than for use in a management or leadership scenario.
In simple terms EI is about identifying, assessing and managing emotions to optimise your potential and of those around you.
I started off by thinking about us as chess players facing the world. Our ‘pieces’ are our emotions and we use these to move forward to achieve our goal (which may be as small as having an extra bit of chocolate or as huge as ‘saving mankind’). EI in this situation means that not only do you understand and plan and execute your moves, you are understanding the plan and moves of the opponent i.e. the emotions of the person facing you affect your emotions (moves) and vice versa. The only way to play this game well is to understand somebody else’s moves (emotions) and what they do to your plan and how you manage your moves (emotions) in response to that. I, however, soon got into trouble with this model. Primarily because in this model the bottom line is competition i.e. there is a winner and a loser. Moreover you are using EI to manipulate others for your own gain. This may be perceived as fine in your quest for getting a particular job or getting a promotion or so on. But this makes me quite uncomfortable on multiple counts. This isn’t what EI should be about.
As I was looking out of the window, pondering over this predicament, I saw a beautiful bird fly by. That got me thinking. Let ‘me’ be one wing of the bird and ‘you’ be the other wing of the bird and let the movements of the wings be our emotions. If only one wing moves, the bird can’t fly and will drop down. Even if somehow we managed to keep it up, movement from only one wing by laws of physics would make the bird go round and round. Lot of energy wasted! But why would the other wing not flap. The other wing could be STUPID and say ‘ You are the right wing and you are moving down so that the bird rotates to the right i.e. clockwise. When I move down the bird will move anticlockwise. Our aims are opposite and antagonistic. WE CAN’T WORK TOGETHER. WE WILL GET NOWHERE. You know very well how far from the truth this is but DO WE THINK AND ACT LIKE THAT STUPID WING? Well, well…
Moral of the story is that if we understand what others are thinking and feeling and what is driving others as well as what we are feeling and what is driving us and synchronise our emotions for the ‘greater good’ both (or all) will fly. But how do we do that?
You need 2 implements, relatively common ones. I am sure they are in your household. A THERMOMETER AND A MIRROR.
To have EI is to have always with you an EMOTIONAL THERMOMETER, that measures the emotional temperature or state of those around you and manages it with ‘listening’ and ‘understanding’. For your own self, apart from a THERMOMETER what you need is an EMOTIONAL MIRROR. A person with high EI regularly looks at this mirror, at himself, how he is feeling and why and then he smiles…
When you keep using the THERMOMETER and MIRROR you will gradually realise that most others are not very different from you, most of the time….
This develops compassion for others. You also realise your own ‘demons’ and will hopefully develop a compassion for yourself as well. Once you have total compassion for yourself and others, you don’t need anything else.