We all live lives rich in relationships and punctuated with emotion. Lovers arrive, bringing gifts of passion and tenderness, and then exit, marking their passage with anger and sadness. Children flash into being, evoking previously unimaginable exhilaration and exhaustion. Friends and family members tread parallel paths, sharing our emotions, and then pass on, leaving grief and memories in their wake.
Across all our relationship experiences, what balances out our anger and grief is our joy. All human beings share the capacity to relish intense joy and the desire to maintain such happiness in an impermanent and ever-changing world. Also universal is the fact that our personal joy is determined by the quality of our interpersonal connections. When our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners are happy, we are happy, and when they’re not, we’re not.
Yet, joy doesn’t drop magically from the sky into our hearts and minds and stay there. We create joy – through every decision we make and every thought, word, and deed. When we manage our emotional experiences and communication poorly, the interpersonal sorrows we wreak on others reflect back on us in the form of personal unhappiness. When we steadfastly and skillfully manage our emotions, the positive relationship outcomes we create multiply, and with them, our happiness and the joy of those who surround us.
I encourage all of you to keep this thought in mind:
We create joy – through every decision we make and every thought, word, and deed.
There is no small act of courage. You can’t compare the courage it takes to battle cancer with the courage it takes to become a doctor.
Both are very brave acts. You can’t compare the courage it takes to become an Olympian with the courage it takes to raise a physically or mentally challenged child.
Both are incredible feats. You can’t compare a firefighter who saves a life to an eight year old child who consistently stands up to a bully. Both acts are heroic.
Most of us don’t think of ourselves as brave people. Yet that’s exactly who we are. If you reflect on your life, one decade at a time, and write down your bravery, I’m sure you’d be surprised.
I think every brave thing we do in life counts. It’s time we claim our bold and audacious selves.
It’s time to celebrate our fearlessness. As we do, we can begin to think of ourselves as bold people who are sometimes fearless instead of fear-filled people who try to be bold.
Everyday acts of courage to practice and celebrate:
It takes courage to admit when you are wrong. It’s a bold act to admit when you make a mistake. Apologizing takes you out of your comfort zone and enhances your relationships. That’s big.
Don’t imitate anyone. Take off your mask. Allow yourself to become vulnerable. Share your flaws with others. See perfection in your imperfections. Who you are is a gift to the world. Allow yourself to shine.
You are where you are in life because of the choices you make. If you don’t like what you see, change it. One question I ask myself often is, “Is this the life I want to create?” If you don’t exercise, make a change. If you need to get out of debt, spend less. Responsibility brings freedom.
Keep your commitments.
Write down everything you say you are going to do. Write down the promises you make to others. When you keep your promises, you build self-respect. Others respect you as well.
Rock the boat.
Speak up. Make a difference. Share your feelings when you witness an injustice. Practice sharing your opinion. Don’t allow someone to take advantage of you. Learn to say, “no.” Refuse to hold back when your gut says to move forward.
Let go of the past.
Stop wallowing over what could have been. Forgive yourself. Forgive your parents. Forgive everyone. What happened is over unless you keep it alive by reliving it in your mind. When we know better, we do better. It takes courage to move on.
Learn something new. Step into the unknown. Change the way you do things. It doesn’t matter if you get it the first time. Try again. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. Seize the opportunity. Growth brings new opportunities.
Listen to people who disagree with you. Listen to family members who think you are wrong. Listen to the elderly person in the coffee shop. Listen when you only want to speak and give advice. Listen and thank the other person for sharing.
Help someone who doesn’t help you. Help others when you don’t have the time. Help someone who can’t pay you back. Help someone when you are the one needing help. Learn to be of service. That’s why we’re here.
Turn the other cheek. Overlook annoyances. Be kind to each other. Be truthful. Accept differences. Love is a verb. Spend time together. Act like a loving person. You can love difficult people as well. Forgive them and wish them the best. Let them go with love.
Practice gratitude. Count your blessings. Tell the people in your life “thank you.” Be grateful for the people you love and for the people who love you.
Choose to be happy.
Make a decision that you will think happy thoughts, speak kind words, and spend time doing things that bring you joy. Have a good attitude. See the glass half full. Look at the bright side. Expect the best. Choose to focus on what’s good.
Learn from your mistakes.
Reflect on what went wrong and what you could have done better. Look for your lesson. Choose to grow forward. Be gentle with yourself. Make a new plan. Try again. Refuse to give up.
In our intense and fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out or being left behind. You do too much, work too much and miss the joy of everyday living. It’s bold to step back, take a break and relax.
Follow your dreams.
Take action daily toward your goals. Ask for help. Network. Research. Plan. Take more action. Adjust your plans as you go along. Be open to something even better. Never give up. Adjust. Push on.
Enjoy the small things.
Take time to revel in a flower blooming, the taste of a glass of cold water, the different shades of green, a child’s smile or an elderly person’s worn hands. Enjoy the smell of clean clothes and the taste of a fresh slice of bread. Enjoy a brisk walk, a quiet morning, or a star filled night.
Go the extra mile.
Allow someone to go in front of you in traffic or at the grocery store. Do more than what is required of you at work and at home. Hold a door open. Surprise someone. Don’t keep score. Leave a big tip and help someone believe the world is a generous place.
Ask for help. When you are stuck, addicted or unhappy, seek professional help. Hire a coach, a therapist or join a support group. When you are overwhelmed at work, ask for assistance. When you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.
Put family and friends before stuff.If you value your loved ones, make them a priority in your life. Work less and play more. Laugh. Create traditions and rituals. Find hobbies and activities that everyone enjoys. Have fun. Experiences bring more meaning than needless shopping.
Love Yourself. Accept your imperfections. Be your own best friend. Show yourself compassion, understanding and respect. This is the most courageous act of all.
After you look and/or listen to these songs, let us know what song(s) you would put on this list. Let me know if you agree/disagree, what song is missing that I didn’t put on the list. Have fun! And remember, don’t worry, be happy!!!
I want to know what you, my dear readers, think is going on here. What caption would you use to descibe this photo? Write a sentence or tell a brief story of what’s going on…be creative! I’ll post all of your replies!
There are many different kinds of intelligence, and it’s our job to discover what they are and how to integrate them into our lives. Sources of intelligence can be measured in quotients. Most of us are familiar with IQ, or the intelligence quotient, which is primarily associated with our ability to memorize, retrieve items from our memory, and our logical reasoning.
There’s also a new up and comer, CQ, or curiosity quotient, which refers to one’s ability to have a powerful motivation to learn a particular subject. What I spend much of my time in both research, and in working with clients and organizations on, is focusing on emotional intelligence.
The definition of emotional intelligence (as first advanced by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, but popularized by author Daniel Goleman in his seminal, eponymous book) is the ability to:
Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions.
Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.
In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions—both our own and others—especially when we are under pressure.
We are emotional creatures who often make decisions and respond to stimuli based on our emotions. As a result, our ability to grow in EQ has an enormous impact in all of our relationships, how we make decisions, and identify opportunities. EQ is enormously important. Through my work, I’ve identified 10 qualities that I believe comprise the emotionally intelligent person.
I hope you gain value from this and learn to understand the ways you can influence your mind, and the minds of others, by growing emotionally every day, in all that you do.
“Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”
There are two different types of empathy. This piece from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley beautifully depicts what they are:
“Affective empathy” refers to the sensations and feelings we get in response to others’ emotions; this can include mirroring what that person is feeling, or just feeling stressed when we detect another’s fear or anxiety. “Cognitive empathy,” sometimes called “perspective taking,” refers to our ability to identify and understand other peoples’ emotions.
We empathize based on the reaction to others. What I’d also say is that empathy can be cultivated and learned through experiences. Store away in your memory those feelings that you feel both in reaction, and as you put things in perspective. Write these thoughts out, analyze them and determine how you want to treat others in the same way you’d want to be treated.
Self-awareness is the art of understanding yourself, recognizing what stimuli you’re facing and then preparing for how to manage yourself both in a proactive and reactive manner. Self-awareness is how we see ourselves, and also how we perceive others to see us. The second, external aspect, is always the most difficult to properly assess.
Dr. Tasha Eurich says:
“Leaders who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness, who seek honest feedback from loving critics, and who ask what instead of why can learn to see themselves more clearly—and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers.”
For yourself, ask the introspective questions, yearn for knowledge and be curious. And for others, seek feedback in an honest, caring environment.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein
Show me a curious person who’s willing to learn and improve, and I’ll show you a success story waiting to happen. When you’re curious, you’re passionate, and when you’re passionate you are driven to want to be your best. Your “antennae” are up to things you love, to wanting to grow and learn more. This learning mindset positively affects other areas of your life—like relationships.
Tomas Chamorro-Premusic writes:
“First, individuals with higher CQ are generally more tolerant of ambiguity. This nuanced, sophisticated, subtle thinking style defines the very essence of complexity. Second, CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art.” Source: HBR
4. Analytical mind
The most emotionally intelligent and resolute people are deep-thinkers that analyze and process all new information that comes their way. They continue to analyze old information, habits and ways of doing things to see if they can extract ways to improve. We’re all “analysts” in the sense that we consciously think about all new information that comes our way.
Savvy EQ individuals are problem-solvers and everyday philosophers who contemplate the “why” of existence, the “why” of why we do what we do, and who care passionately about living a virtuous life. Having an analytical mind means having a healthy appetite for a continuously improving mindset geared at bettering yourself and always remaining open to new ideas.
A major component of maintaining emotional self-control is using the power of faith to believe in yourself both in the present and in the future. It’s believing that the people and things in your life are there for a reason, and that everything will ultimately work out for good.
Faith alone will not help you. It takes action, of course. But when you combine faith with powerful values like hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude, you have formed the foundation of a champion. Every great leader and thinking uses faith, either in a practical context, emotionally and certainly spiritually.
Spend time in meditation. Think about the way you believe in yourself. Engender a greater faith toward the person you are and who you want to become. And trust and believe that the pieces in your life will come together in a way that will help you live boldly and joyfully.
6. Needs and wants
The emotionally intelligent mind is able to discern between things that they need versus things that would be “nice to have” that classify more aptly as wants. A need, particularly in the context of Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” is the basic level stuff like safety, survival and sustenance. Once those things are met, then we can progress to other needs and of course, wants.
A “want” is a big house, nice car, and even the brand new iPhone. We do not need those things to survive, but rather we want them based on our own personal desires or what we perceive to matter to society. Become well-versed in knowing what you truly need to live, to accomplish goals and to support yourself and loved ones. Make sure you draw a very clear distinction between what it is you need, and what it is you want.
Emotionally intelligent people know the difference between these two things, and always establish needs prior to fulfilling wants.
Inspired leadership and love for what you do is born from having a passion for a subject or people. People with a high EQ use their passion and purpose to ignite the engine that drives them to do what they do. This passionate is infectious and contagious—it permeates all areas of their lives and rubs off on the people around them.
Passion is sort of that je ne sais quoi that when you feel it, or even when you see it in others, you simply know. Passion is the natural desire, instinct, drive, ambition and motivated love for a subject or someone. Passion brings positive energy that helps sustain us and inspire us to want to keep going. And there’s no secret that emotionally intelligent people who are passionate are also willing to persevere and power forward no matter their circumstances.
If you want to increase your opportunities, improve your relationships and think clearly and constructively, you’re best positioned to maintain a positive attitude. Of all the things that we try to control and influence, our attitude is the primary thing that is always within our control. We can choose to live each day by being positive. It’s that simple.
“When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.” — Shawn Achor
“Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Emotionally intelligent people recognize when to continue their course, and when it’s time for a change. This vitally import recognition and ability to make crisp, swift decisions in your best interest is called adaptability. You must determine when to stay the course, or when to keep moving forward in another direction.
Similarly, when one strategy is not working, try evaluating and determining if something else will work. From the way you treat yourself, to how you treat others, to your daily routine, always stay open-minded and be willing to adapt and introduce new elements to how you think and what you do.
Throughout your life, you’ll need to change course and make assessments on whether you’ll be happy and successful if you choose one path or another. Recognize that you can always change. You can always start over. It may not always be the most prudent or wise decision, but only you will truly know in your heart what is or what isn’t. Start with leaving the option on the table.
10. Desire to help others succeed and succeed for yourself
Last but not least, an emotionally intelligent person is interested in overall success and achievement—not just for themselves, but for their peers. Their inspired leadership and passion, combined with their optimism, drives them to want to do best for themselves and others.
Too often, we get so self-absorbed and concerned only with “What’s in it for me?” We have to be concerned about this. It’s a must, so don’t let anyone ever convince you otherwise. But in the same way that we should be focused on our self-interest, we should also maintain a spirit of desire and hope for wanting to see the people around us succeed.
Not only is this a brilliant safeguard against envy and greed, it also revitalizes our passion and drives us toward achieving our next goal. It helps us gain allies and builds powerful relationships that come back to help us in reciprocal fashion.
There once was a seed that lived for a long time just being a seed. It knew no other way of being, no other way doing, no other way of experiencing, just a seed never changing. It had many things done to it, many insults to its existence as a seed. The seed was unaware of living any other way. The seed was not alone, as it was amongst many other seeds. They were placed in confined spaces with just enough resources to survive as the seeds they were. The seeds were all bounced around from one confinement to another…packaged, boxed. Not going forward or backwards in life as there didn’t seem to be any other way of living; after all, being a seed is all they knew. Continue reading Hope, I have found you at last!