EQ is the Future

It has been another tough week. For the world. Awful truths are emerging. With the summer equinox around the corner and some lightening of social restrictions enacted months ago to save lives, we should be feeling some freedom. Instead, a much larger social problem has been hiding in plain sight. No longer. The top has been blown off and nothing is going back to normal. Large scale changes are on the wind that will effect every corner of society.

More than wearing masks to protect each other from a virus, we need to open our eyes and hearts to see each other. When one sense is dulled, another can become stronger. But, in order to do that we must not turn away from what is happening in the world. People with power over others are channeling their emotions towards deadly actions, something we all hoped had long since stopped. Thanks to modern media, everyone is aware of the brutality and the misuse of privilege, power and authority. The only question is, how will we respond?

There’s only one way to respond.

Watch. Read. Listen. Learn. Let it chill you.

Do not respond instinctively, but do not turn away.

It’s not about you, but you must be here to experience it.

You’re not the martyr, nor an innocent, nor the hero, nor the teacher.

You’re a witness. It’s not about you, but you must be present.

Do not respond like you always have. Not yet. Absorb it. Let it change you.

-From KATYKATIKATE posted May 26, 2020 – 5 Racist Anti-Racism Responses “Good” White Women Give to Viral Posts

My go to action is learning. This is a warm comfy blanket for me in these uncertain times. I am sensitive to feeling chilled and what is going on the world right now makes me shiver and weep. I just got over feeling afraid to leave my home from the threat of the virus. Now I am rooted in spot once more, watching the images unfold. The defiance and rage on the faces of a row of police officers standing over a crowd of protesters, makes me want to dig down into hiding even further. Even still, I wonder what emotions are driving this behaviour?

Maybe one day there will be answers. Through the study of neuroscience, the link between emotions and racism are beginning to be understood. Research in the area of neuroplasticity may highlight practices which can be used to modify emotional responses. Possibly people who suffer from low emotional intelligence will be able to learn better ways of operating in the world.

Why we talk about emotions and racism?
It would be important instead for the general well-being of society and to counteract the growing phenomenon of racism and invisible racism, that the culture of an emotional education was formed, to make people able to identify which are the emotions and which is their function, which of them are dangerous for us and for the others, how to recognise them, how to evaluate them and how to manage them. Excerpt from ‘Why to talk about emotions, when counteracting racism?

Instead of waiting for large scale solutions, it is time to employ an empathic response. While this may not be our first thought, we can learn to implement empathy to counteract emotions like fear which instinctively rise to the surface. Like the spread of a virus, it is possible to use our connected world for good and to really ‘see each other’.

“When two people interact face-to-face, contagion spreads via multiple neural circuits operating in parallel within each person’s brain. These systems for emotional contagion control the entire range of feeling, from sadness and anxiety to joy. Moments of contagion represent a remarkable neural event: the formation between two brains of a functional link, a feedback loop that crosses the skin-and-skull barrier between bodies. In systems terms, during this linkup brains “couple”, with the output of one becoming input to drive the workings of the other, for the time being forming what amounts to an interbrain circuit. When two entities are connected in a feedback loop, as the first changes, so does the second” (p.39-40) [2]. Excerpt from ‘Commitment to Emotional Intelligence‘.

Emotional intelligence is the future. No more can we rest on the laurels of standard testing which is designed to empower a few and push down the rest. This is not a zero sum game with one winner, as Simon Sinek says, ‘this is an infinite game‘. We must check our assumptions at the door and move into the future as equals, all people, plants and animals – every living thing on the earth, we are in this together. We depend on each other for survival, happiness and fulfillment.

I like to look for connections which are not obvious at first glance. In the The Link Between Creativity and Emotional Intelligence there is evidence to suggest that people who experience and regulate their emotions, are also more creative. There it is again, managing our emotions for positive life outcomes.

Emotional Intelligence Leads to Good Moods and Workplace Creativity looks at research which can have organizational impacts. I’m not sure what we need studies to convince us of what seems like common sense. Possibly greater creative output is more nuanced than simply putting people in a good mood, which more study on the topic of emotional intelligence will help to tease out.

Emotionally Intelligent Bosses Can Bring Out Your Creativity and provide support in a myriad of other ways. This is the future of work. No longer is it acceptable for command and control leadership styles to be the norm. Those organizational styles are going to wane in the future as it becomes clear how much better our work lives can be.

We each play a role in how the future will look. It is time to be part of designing a new way of working together. In 7 Ways to Create Emotionally Intelligent Teams, there are practical solutions to move forward. Being part of a group like this makes the place where many of us spend so much time, all the more rewarding.

Creativity and Emotional Intelligence shows how badly we need this in order to help solve problems we face everyday. Creativity is not for artists and emotional intelligence is not reserved for intellectuals. These are both the kinds of skills each one of us need to have in our toolbox. No longer can we skate by on the status quo. There is change in the air and we all have a part to play. The question is only, will we rise to the challenge?

The work involved to build emotional intelligence is not necessarily difficult. Most people have the capacity to pause and consider the  best response to stimuli. On the surface it appears to be an easy task to become better at managing negative emotions. When life is calm it can feel as if there is no need to explore deeper or learn anything new. Yet, it is the ones who implement new ideas into a regular practice who will rise to the call of a challenging life situation. Just like training our muscles to respond instinctively, we must honour our emotions with the same care. It is when we have this kind of purpose in daily life that we may enjoy the ability to be extraordinary once in a while.

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

Excerpt from ‘The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents’, by William Martin

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