Emotional intelligence is the capacity to blend thinking and feeling to make optimal decisions – which is key to having a successful relationship with yourself and others.
Many people know of emotional intelligence from Daniel Goleman’s book which brought EQ into mainstream thinking. Some other books you may want to check out – Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence, The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, among many others.
In a recent interview on Lightworker.com, Joshua Freedman spoke about emotional intelligence and the organization 6 Seconds EQ Network. An author and specialist in emotional intelligence, he worked with the EQ-focused “Self Science” curriculum at the Nueva Learning Centre in the early 90s.
Did you know emotions are chemicals in the body and brain? These chemicals which affect every living cell are “messengers for us to learn how to adapt and handle opportunities and threats.” These chemicals are in the bloodstream for six seconds, giving us a signal that something is happening – within us and outside of us and we can “learn to attend to them like an inner voice of wisdom.”
Joshua also acknowledges that emotions, like thoughts, are not always accurate and often paradoxical, like at once being irrationally angry at your spouse and completely in love with her. Emotions help us focus attention and motivate us. Learning to acknowledge and connect with our emotions is very important to our health, our relationships, and even for a better world.
Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
We are now more aware of the importance of emotions. Talking about feelings is more acceptable, more “normal” and desired. In the west is it okay for men to express how they feel.
We now know leaving out our emotions is not healthy and research in neuroscience is showing how emotions work, how they are essential in our decision-making, and how emotions reflect our survival needs, for example. It is clear in business that IQ alone is not enough and the corporate world is increasingly aware of the crucial role that EQ plays, through executive coaching and working with organizations such as 6Seconds.
Joshua wants to impress upon us the importance to observe ourselves, develop emotional literacy, be open to what else we feel, understand our experiences and emotions, just like a scientist does in an experiment, and then learn how to put those emotions into action.
So in 1997 the non-profit Six Seconds The Emotional Intelligence Network was founded by Anabel Jensen, Karen McCown, Marsha Rideout, and Joshua Freedman, administrators and teachers from Nueva School.
It now has offices in 25 countries and certified practitioners and people using these tools worldwide. Their vision is working toward one billion people practicing the skills of emotional intelligence by 2039.
EQ-in-Action are three pursuits – Know Yourself, Choose Yourself, and Give Yourself. These three make up a circle, a propeller that can help you navigate through rough waters and “waves of complexity” more smoothly.
|Know Yourself||becoming more aware, noticing what you do, clearly seeing what you feel, and using emotions as data.
This is the “what”
|enhance emotional literacy
|Choose Yourself||know you have options and be intentional in how you choose to respond – do what you mean to do – rather than be on autopilot.
This is the “how”
|apply consequential thinking
engage intrinsic motivation
|Give Yourself||knowing that it not only about today and that there is a larger story and putting your mission and vision into action.
This is the “why”
pursue noble goals
The 6 Seconds website gives many tools and suggestions on how to get good at this practice of EQ. Be creative. Be present. Take a deep breath (for six seconds) and see if you are passing judgement or taking offence. Instead pause and wonder, what are you feeling? What else are you feeling? Use concrete words, rather than broad strokes like “fine.” What could be going on for the other person? Observe, without labelling emotions as positive or negative. When we label something as positive or negative, we tend to extrapolate that to us being good or bad or others as good or bad.
Every emotion has a purpose, a message. How we feel may make us vulnerable and life messy. How we feel is also what makes us who we are, how we connect with ourselves and each other. Emotions are our GPS that something is “off” or “on.” It’s showing us there is a need. We also leak a lot of energy from the emotion domain, which can be remedied with greater awareness.
So let’s practice on our decoding skills!