Daniel Goleman, the father of Emotional Intelligence, illustrates the above question with a
thought-provoking story of a cantankerous samurai. This samurai challenged a Zen master to explain the concept of heaven and hell. The monk scornfully replied that he does not waste time on people with such attitudes.
Feeling insulted the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling out his sword and yelled “I could kill you for your insolence.”
“That,” the monk calmly replied, “is hell.”
Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out, the samurai calmed down and bowed, thanking the monk for the insight.
“And that,” said the monk “is heaven.”
“The sudden awakening of the samurai to his own agitated state illustrates the crucial difference between being caught up in a feeling and becoming aware that you are being swept away by it. Socrates’s injunction “Know thyself” speaks to the keystone of emotional intelligence: awareness of one’s own feelings as they occur.” ― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
Today leadership development is focused on enhancing self-awareness. Google has a very successful program called ‘Search Inside Yourself’ and McKinsey Consulting is hot on Google’s heels with a program called ‘Personal Insights’. The corporate world has finally realized that change in their company can happen only one employee at a time.
Human beings think and feel. As the story above illustrates, our feelings supersede our thinking. Hence, the emotional maturity of a person improves when their life is not driven by their feelings. Feelings are only a result of ones thoughts about any situation. A hundred people could witness the same situation and each of them could experience different feelings.
When we intentionally shift our thoughts our feelings will change and vice versa.
Here is an example of shifting our feelings. If we are rushing to work in the morning and somebody cuts us off in traffic causing us to lose a green light on the signal, most of us would be irate at the person and display it in various ways. Now if I informed you that the person had a dying daughter and he was rushing her to the hospital, would you feel differently? Most of us would say yes.
Stay calm in all situations and know that you have the capability to choose your emotions. As leaders, our teams are constantly watching our behaviour. Role-model behaviour that will ensure your team’s success. The leadership training programs of MMM Training Solutions focuses on some of the time tested and proven techniques that help you to achieve this emotional maturity.