|Tapping into the power of emotional intelligence|
Saturday, 16 June 2012 00:00Written by Andrea Theisson
Smart Can Be Dumb.
The subtitle of Daniel Goldman’s pivotal book about the importance of Emotional Intelligence is; Why it can matter more than IQ. Even back in 1995, when the book came out and the phrase was coined, there were breakthroughs in the different types of intelligence…it started with maybe 4-7 on the list, then soared to over 37 types, perhaps more at this writing. Yet, the primary link between intelligence and emotions is most important. Many of us have worked and studied to understand how this manifests, for ourselves and for society.
Candace Pert’s studies about the molecules of emotion, and how our bodies register perceptions and react on the cellular level became famous around the same time. Both are still changing how we treat and educate our children, our communal groups and institutions. We all knew that something was missing from our modern approaches to the roots of society’s problems, and the key is a basic psychology that will work with families, the base of society.
Self-control, self-motivation, persistence and enthusiasm are skills that can be taught at an early age. The variety of temperaments is the challenge, yet understanding and prioritizing early conditioning, or later therapy, can make each individual a happier, more positive member of society. Even the loners can benefit from understanding themselves and their genetic tendencies to maintain a working relationship with civilization.
Aristotle’s ethics and philosophy echo heavily in this application of Emotional Intelligence. His premise that the emotions are a form of wisdom, when well-managed and acknowledged appropriately, is still a valid guide to communal wellness. “Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.”
Teaching by being, especially during those short windows of opportunity in early childhood and adolescence, is another key to instilling and encouraging emotional intelligence. Associations such as metaphors and the arts, and myths, have always played a role historically in teaching the young. We have lost some of that today, yet we can regain it if we remind ourselves to seek balance in our relationships and to define our feelings, understand others’ emotions. It can only lead to success in all dealings.
Self-awareness leads to insights which helps assertiveness and communication which lead to cooperation and conflict resolution. Group dynamics must be managed from within each individual. Academic success does not mean one is emotionally adept. Smart can be dumb.
An ethical approach to life can be reasoned, but is far better and genuine when felt. We have this potential for considerate and warm relationships on all levels – personal, business, extended community, internationally. If only everyone were trained to recognize our feelings and those of others. And to remember to chose the right course of action. If only we would let ourselves trust our emotions, and act carefully, thoughtfully.