Emotional Intelligence – The Seed You Sow For A Fantastic Life

In this blog post, I would like to help readers understand an important aspect of Emotional Intelligence – life is what you think it to be. Read on…

On May 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak at 29,000 feet. In his book, High Adventure, Hillary mentions that he had to grow into this success: In 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed.

A few weeks later, a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage amidst thunderous applause. The audience was acknowledging an attempt at greatness, but Hillary saw himself as a failure.

He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the Mount Everest and said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”

Such extreme achievements have a lot of physical, mental and emotional power involved. If Hillary would have given up, or relaxed after the first attempt, the world would not have known such a great mountaineer today; he is a man known for his sheer determination and grit – and I would like to see him as an individual who sowed the right seed that led to a great achievement.

This is an example of Emotional Intelligence that harbours many facets. Taking the right step is an important beginning that would chart out a better view of the challenges that you are faced with. So by thinking in the right way – optimistically – you pave the way for continued success in your life.

Emotional Intelligence – The Story Of Two Horses

Emotional Intelligence, today’s corporate buzzword, is a concept that is more concrete than abstract. When you open your eyes and start to think, there are a lot of instances, examples and anecdotes that will come to your mind with regards to it.
Here is an excerpt of a short story that I recently read that once again drives home the concept of Emotional Intelligence that is, or should be, at work in our life…

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting…

One of the horses is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It comes from a smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so that he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell..

– Author Unknown

The display of empathy and inspiration is common amongst animals as it is in man. Think of your personal and professional life up to date: there are a lot of instances where you don the role of the blind horse and other times when you become the horse with the bell.

The blind horse signifies the times when we needed to be inspired and motivated, just so that we realize and are reminded of our infinite potential and strength. Other times, we become the horse with the bell – that is, the source of inspiration and motivation to guide others so that they can find their way through, and achieve what they are capable of.

In a nutshell, what more can Emotional Intelligence mean, when applied to our lives?

Empathy In Emotional Intelligence

Here is a touching story on Empathy in Emotional Intelligence. It is the story of a little boy who saw things in a perspective that was different from many other young children of his age.

A farmer once painted a sign board advertising that he had puppies to sell. As he was driving the last nail into the board on the edge of his fence, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down to see a little boy, his eyes wide with expectancy and excitement.

Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy looked down for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

The farmer smiled. “Sure”, he said. And with that he let out a whistle, “Here, Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one was noticeably smaller. In a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up….

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the awkward puppy.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

Upon hearing this, the little boy looked into the eyes of the farmer and stepped back from the fence. He reached down and began rolling up the sleeve of one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg that was attached to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands him.”

This story of empathy, an important aspect of Emotional Intelligence, should set us thinking. The seemingly trivial act of the young boy was selfless and very understanding. If the story continued, it would have been on the lines of many happy days for the little boy and the puppy.

With a little bit of empathy, it is possible to relate to others, understand and help them out. This adds value to the meaning of life. We get so much in return, happiness being the greatest return.

Emotional Intelligence – Getting Into The Act

I was recently watching the Hollywood movie, Sister Act, (1992) starring Whoopi Goldberg. The movie is about how Deloris (played by Whoopi) impersonates a nun and unwillingly accepts the responsibility of managing the church choir – while she is in hiding under police protection. I would like to talk to you about a particular scene where I was reminded about Emotional Intelligence.

In the movie, Deloris is a lively pop singer. While she is there, she revamps the lifeless and archaic choir group and transforms them into passion-filled, lively singers who effortlessly captivate the audience. Deloris was fully aware that this would not garner the approval of Mother Superior but she did it anyway as she believed, with certainty, that this would be beneficial both for the audience as well as the singers. At the first performance, the Archbishop was overwhelmed by the passion of the singers and the involvement of the audience. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Archbishop praises Deloris for her efforts to bring change and depth into choir worship. Deloris, though taken aback, humbly tells the Archbishop that this whole effort for change was instigated by Mother Superior.

This may sound trivial, but this is a transformational and touching moment in the film. Deloris demonstrated that if we have passion for whatever we do then we will be able handle people and situations effectively. She wisely handled others’ emotions in a way that everyone basked in the glory of success in the end, thereby bringing happiness into the picture.

This is, essentially, what the core foundation of Emotional Intelligence lies upon – the ability to live in the moment. It is the sustained ability to always get into the act, and do what is required to augment group success and individual happiness.

Increasing Emotional Intelligence To Get The Best Out Of Life

Here is a story that helps to demonstrate the concept of Emotional Intelligence:

There was once a dog that unknowingly entered into a room full of mirrors. Since it did not know that it was looking at its own reflection, it started to bark loudly, running from one mirror to another. It was really angry because it thought that there were other dogs challenging him into a fight. The dog relentlessly kept barking. Eventually it died of exhaustion, trying to fight its mirrored ‘enemies’.

What is the learning point in this story?

What could the dog have done to gain from the situation that he was faced with?
If only the dog had wagged his tail once, he would have had all of ‘the others’ wagging their tails in friendship. This sums up emotional intelligence skills in many ways.
If the dog had practiced self regulation – self restraint and self control – it would have been able to think about its situation and acted appropriately.
If the dog was more self-aware, it would have understood that it can make friends with ‘the other dogs’, rather than get aggressive and make foes.
If the dog was positively motivated, it would have been optimistic about its challenge – i.e., ‘the other dogs’ – and hence be driven to make friends by choosing the right goal.
If the dog was empathetic, it would have been able to see ‘the other dogs’ point of view: that the ‘other dogs’ might have been interested in making friends with it.

In many ways, life is like an echo – we get back whatever we put out. So let us make it a point to improve our emotional intelligence skills, so that we can put out optimism and get back the same multifold. In this way, we can get the most out of life and happiness increases, thereby improving quality of life.

Emotional Intelligence – The Ingredient For Great Leadership

In my previous blogs, I briefly introduced emotional intelligence and its importance in today’s world. This week I would like to quote a few examples from history to prove that you too can make it to the heights of achievement by emphasizing on emotional intelligence in every aspect of your life.

Firstly, let us take the instance of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. He is undoubtedly one of the most charismatic leaders that the world has seen. He became a model for the Republicans not only because he was able to strike a chord with them, but also because he understood them and their emotions aptly. Ronald Reagan had a very high emotional intelligence, as did many other great leaders of his nation. He knew his strengths, had the ability to empathize, inspire and motivate and was a social favorite amongst the majority of his countrymen.

Sardar Vallabhai Patel, India’s ‘Man of Steel’ was another amazing leader in the true sense. He played a crucial role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into an integrated and united nation. He was a man of remarkable foresight and strong emotional intelligence. His faithful allegiance to Gandhi saw him make clear and well thought decisions in order that India may be benefited. History is filled with literature of this wise man, who held the mantle from the back seat and ensured that the country reaped the benefits.

To conclude this blog, I would like to emphasize that each one of us can work on our emotional intelligence by introspection and consciously making the right choice when it comes to displaying our emotions. Let me end with a quote,

“Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.” ~ Erich Fromm (German social psychologist)

Emotional Intelligence Leadership – The Key to Success

Assuming that Emotional Intelligence is directly linked to leadership, there are three questions that need to be answered:
• What is Emotional Intelligence?
• Why is it important?
• How can Emotional Intelligence Quotient be increased?

We looked at the answer to the first question in my previous article titled, What Is Emotional Intelligence? Let us now look at the answer to the second question.

Emotional Intelligence is a soft skill, and the good thing about it is that it can be increased with consistent effort. This is more the reason that it needs to be worked upon. Since it is not a fixed trait, we can continue to develop it as we learn from what we experience in all areas of life.

Take, for example, a group of senior managers applying for a top position. They might all have MBAs but what characteristic will make them stand apart as the most successful leader? It has been established that the following kind of people – those who display high EQ – make it to the top:
• Ability to create resonance with others
• Display of empathy
• Ability to inspire
• Awareness of one’s abilities and shortfalls and confidently managing these to their best ability

Research undertaken by eminent scientists and psychologists, Hay/McBer and Goleman, concluded that the two main reasons for executive failure are:
• Rigidity (unable to adapt or take on board feedback and learn)
• Poor relationships (alienating others)

This re-instates the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the present world. Further discussions on the subject would continue in my next blog update, where I would discuss the third question. Do visit next week for tips on how your Emotional Intelligence Quotient can be improved.

Integrity – The Stronghold of Successful Living

As a Soft Skills Trainer and Executive Coach, I believe that training would be starkly incomplete without touching upon the importance of Integrity in one’s life. It is the foremost value essential to success in all that we undertake. The essence of integrity is beautifully summed up in the quote by Don Galer, “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” All of us at some point in life would have come across individuals with unswerving integrity, from whom we feel inspired to act according to the code of ethics and conduct. Peter Scotese once said, and I quote, “Integrity is not a 90% thing, not a 95% thing; either you have it or you don’t.” It is better to be known doing right, rather than be known for having done something wrong. Always remember that you judge and rate yourselves by what you are capable of doing and achieving; but the world judges you by what you have already done. So it is a lot better to live an honest life with integrity. For starters, it would be useful to follow a thumb rule: the test of real character lies in what you would do if you would never be found out. Success comes more easily to the person who treads upon the path of righteousness and goodness. It gives a sense of peace and spreads good-will all around. It needs to be inculcated very consciously into one’s life. Whenever you are at crossroads and in doubt about how to proceed in a particular situation, think about the following 3 questions: 1. What do you say? 2. What do you do? 3. What do you say you do? If the answer to these 3 questions are all the same, then you are one giant step closer to the success you are aspiring to achieve.

When The Going Gets Tough…

Stress has been known to cause serious impediments in our body and mind. The only way to resolve it is through self awareness. It helps to know your natural reactions to stress. This will help you be better prepared in the face of a crisis.

Stress Management techniques teach participants to channel negative stressful energy into a more positive tone. Through my years of experience as a Soft Skills Trainer and Executive Coach, I have seen that the audience imbibes what is taught with regards to stress in a brilliant manner. This goes on to show how important it is to expose ideas such as stress management tips to employees in the organization.

Many times, the under-current of despair and hopelessness get ignored during the monotonous struggle of daily organizational tasks. The management needs to bring this to light, recognize it and be proactive so that the culture of the organization is not affected.

Due the above substantiation, we have made Stress Management Training an important element of our Soft Skills Training program. We aim at providing the participant with long-term and easy-to-use methods that would help them not only in their profession, but in their personal life as well. We firmly believe that a happy employee means a happy organization. And happy organizations definitely means a happier world to live in.

As an ending note, I would like to bring to light the instance of the carrot and the egg. When both a raw carrot and an uncooked egg are dropped into a pot of boiling water, what happens after a while?
The raw carrot which was initially hard now becomes soft, and the egg which was soft within, now becomes hard.

Now ask yourself, under stress, which is equated here through the pot of boiling water, what are you like – the carrot or the egg?