Why Being ‘People Smart’ Matters

When Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger get together, which one will take over? How we process our emotions and relate to others is engagingly acted out in Pixar’s blockbuster animated film, “Inside Out.”

The protagonist, 11-year-old Riley, is trying to adjust to her family’s move from Minnesota to San Francisco. She endures the full gamut of emotions as the five different aspects of her feelings take turns at the “control panel” of her brain.

Her new room is tiny, and the moving van with all the family’s belongings gets sidetracked and won’t arrive for days. She misses her old friends, and her self-confidence skids out of reach in the hockey rink. Her sense of humor, her connection to her family, even her values of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ become hopelessly tangled, leaving her feeling isolated, angry and frightened.

While she struggles to gain the Emotional Intelligence quotient (EQ) needed to cope with the mushrooming challenges she faces, her loving parents likewise need to amp up their own EQ skills along the way, for Riley’s sake, and their own.

It is only when a near tragedy strikes that the three of them can connect effectively on all cylinders, and begin to recognize, respect and honor each other’s true feelings. This interplay is the essence of Emotional Intelligence.

In 1995, psychologist Daniel Goleman introduced the key role our emotions play in our lives in his groundbreaking book, Emotional Intelligence . His research revealed that while technical skills and IQ are important, it was a leader’s ability to be self-aware, and proficient at building rapport, that was twice as important for success and happiness in all aspects of our lives.

He broke Emotional Intelligence down into five components:

  1. Self-Awareness: Recognizing your own moods and emotions, and their impact on others.
  2. Self-Regulation: Being able to think before acting, and controlling your moods.
  3. Motivation: The persistence to pursue important goals.
  4. Empathy: Understanding others’ emotions and treating them with compassion.
  5. Social Skill: Establishing rapport and building relationships

The good news is, these attributes can be taught to people lacking in any or all of these areas. “Maturity” is equated with Emotional Intelligence – just accumulating more life experiences is a great way to develop self-awareness and compassion for others. Also, motivation, practice and feedback will boost your EQ, empowering you to make wise decisions while working well with others.

Keep in mind, too, that tuning into non-verbal communication, your own and those with whom you interact, is essential for honing your Emotional Intelligence. As much as 93% of what is exchanged is done through non-verbal cues. Crossed arms and lack of eye contact, for instance, indicate an inability or lack of desire to connect.

Face the person to whom you’re talking. Pointing your body away from them indicates you don’t like or respect them. A jutting chin is a danger sign – the person is angry, or they don’t like the person with whom they’re communicating. Tensions are running high.

Get in touch with your Emotional Intelligence in the nurturing space of the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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