I have often been asked, “Is it okay to wear your emotions on your sleeve?”
And, what do you think the answer is?
Some may say, “It shows your weakness if your emotions are visible for what they are!”; while others may say, “It shows the “true” you and that’s the only way to express yourself.”
Well, let me just say that there is no one right answer!
Different people have different perspectives on that. However, the easiest way to live and breathe free is to be who you really are. Simple!
If you have to pretend who you are not, it’s a burden to bear for you and, a bit unreal for those you interact with. Your true self is hidden and you have to be constantly cognizant of that. As a result, you never live out freely. You are only putting up an act, one mask at a time.
Our emotions are there for a reason, for us to express without any apprehensions! We feel elated when something goes right and feel frustrated or angry upon coming across an injustice being meted out. We may want to react and help correct the situation. Of course, we need to act based on our emotions and our moral compass but first, we need to learn to be in control of our emotions too. Understand the root of where your emotions lie. Where is that anger or happiness coming from and what is the constructive act it can support? Answering that question will allow for the rightful impact of your activity on your own behavior and those of others.
Any emotion should be okay to have; be it anger, confusion, sadness, worry, happiness, elation or any other. In order to be in control of such emotions and to do something useful with it, understand the “why” of your emotion first.
This is where the concept of Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient comes into play. Emotional Intelligence or EI is defined as our ability to monitor, not just our own emotions but, those of others around as well. It’s the ability to make an effort to understand them, differentiate between these emotions, and react to them appropriately based on our understanding. Emotional Quotient or EQ, on the other hand, although used interchangeably with Emotional Intelligence, is a testing measurement of such ability to understand and apply our emotions through our thinking and actions.
One of the most wonderful abilities us, humans are blessed with is our ability to think, communicate, and interpret. There is no issue in the world that cannot be resolved through dialog!
Emotional Intelligence helps us interact in an effective and efficient manner, but most importantly, it allows us the ability to navigate our own emotions better. Emotional Intelligence allows for the development of self-awareness, giving us the clarity we seek about ourselves and our interactions with the world around us. Next, it helps us read and understand others better, their body language; physical and mental cues so that we learn to interact effectively with them.
It provides us with the learned restraint that we need, to have mindful interactions. It teaches us to listen before we speak, to understand before we react, and finally, to think from the standpoint of not just ourselves but for others as well.
It teaches us the humility to hold a perspective but be open to change based on input received. We do not have to be rigid in our thinking but allow for new information to shape our perspectives.
All of this plays a big role, not just in our personal lives but in business too. Leaders are expected to be of high Emotional Intelligence. And, that’s more true now than ever! We live in an interwoven society and an interconnected world. We are dependent on each other to foster and flourish. And, showing you care for each other, beyond profit and beyond your own success goes a long way in building stronger bonds and allowing for all of us to benefit, grow, and flourish together. Currently, that is the biggest calling of our leaders around the world in every scenario.
Soft skills highlight the nuances of such care and respect for each other. How we speak, greet, and behave is vital to smooth interactions, and these are based highly on our Emotional Intelligence. They can make a stellar difference in your personality, your interactions as well as how people come to accept you. It’s the cornerstone for cooperation, coordination, and making progress, together.
Personal accountability is also high in those that have a high Emotional Quotient. It comes with the skill of self-awareness. Self-aware people reflect on well-rounded reasoning for their success and failures and do not just look to the outside to find who to blame. Self-awareness and personal accountability, together can foster cultures of cooperation, innovation, camaraderie, and as a result, growth.
The other lesson that Emotional Intelligence teaches us is to refrain from shortcuts and instant gratification. Perseverance is a huge aspect of this. It’s better to win big in due time than small, but early. To do well in business, you need to outperform the competition while also retaining your performance edge and quality. And, that comes with perseverance fueled by passion.
And, where there is a potent combination of Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient, intuition sharpens.
The million-dollar question is whether your emotions can fool you? Yes, they can!
There is a possibility that people may believe what they very much desire than the reality that is glaring down at them. And, the reason for that is what they try to use as answers to substantiate their own thinking instead of accepting reality for what it is. Emotional Intelligence, as we discussed is about identifying your own and others’ emotions to recognize their effects on actions and to use that information to guide behavior. The last aspect of this, the ability to use the information to guide behavior is different in various people and can mean the difference in recognizing and managing to reality versus going with your preconceived ideas despite the reality. Emotional Quotient, which is a measurement of EI, tends to lack here in terms of measuring applicability of EI, though it can evaluate the strength of your EI. What really matters is not what you know but, how you apply it.
Yes, Emotional Intelligence can do a lot of good. But, it can do an equal amount of bad, if exploited for negative results. After all, it’s an understanding of not just your own, but others’ emotions as well. Those that want to service their own selfish needs can be manipulative with it. It’s an ability that has practical applications and implications.
The development of Emotional Intelligence is a continuous process that only improves over time. In order to benefit from it, be humble, and be a life long learner. Continue to be inquisitive, observational, exploratory, and most important of all, synthesize what you learn and, get good at applying it for the greater good. You will not just be Emotionally Intelligent but get better over time!
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