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18 April 2009

How to Build Emotional Intelligence?

You might have seen how a short tempered and ill tempered behave with lot of emotions. Irrespective of whether your emotional intelligence is high or low, everyone's reaction to a situation will be spontaneous and natural. If you happen to possess low emotional intelligence you will certainly overdo things at an emotional level and hence you may be perceived as "immature" guy. If you look the scenario and how your brain processes these behaviors, you will agree that you cannot be look emotionally good if you aren't really emotionally good. If you do, then your action will not be natural and people will see that you are acting. This perception is quite dangerous than perceived as ill-tempered guy. For others, it is absolutely essential that you appear as authentic guy (again, it is not hard and fast rule that you should appear authentic. Anyway, the world is willing to deal only with authentic. You decide). So acting like a good tempered guy is not the way how you should improve your emotional intelligence. How can you improve? Here is my personal experience on how I am improving my emotional intelligence.

Our brain, which weight roughly three pounds has thousands of miles of cells and still the scientists are figuring out from where the decision is coming from exactly. For each thing that comes out of you, need to be approved by the gatekeeper – the brain. The scientists are moderately successful in studying brain cells and also as components. But the research is still on to study brain as neural circuitry. The study will reveal how, we, the human beings process the information. I am looking for some research results about emotional intelligence. However, I do not want to wait until the results are published and want to do the experiment on my own which is generally the hard way. For the first time, I want to be a monkey or rat in my own lab to improve my emotional intelligence.

One of the things that I found recently is that one cannot improve emotional intelligence by going opposite to your emotions. For example, when you are hungry you just need the food. When you are angry, you need to vent it out, when you are happy, you got to hug your friend. So, I do not believe in the concept of counting numbers or biting nails or whatever. When you do that, your emotions simply takes another form. But my point about emotional intelligence is ability to stand on your opinion and yet considering the perspective of others without taking any sidelines.

The emotions are building blocks of human relationship and certainly when you overdo certain emotions, it becomes an issue. As long as you are not stepping out and overdoing things, it is not a problem. But, in case, you are overdoing it, you need to be little careful in getting your thoughts across and check with others how you interacted with them. This can simply be done by making a third person (your friend or well wisher) to watch you when you react and give you feedback. In worst case, you can record your reaction in a video/audio and analyze yourself. This is the first step – capturing the data. This data should show you some evidence whether you need reconstruction.

The next step is to accept your current state and work on improving yourself. The first step, identifying your emotional intelligence, will be easier. But accepting it is very difficult as you have to convince your ego that you are not good and needs improvement. There is a difference between someone telling you that you are bad and you thinking that you are bad. If someone tells you that "you are bad", it is not end of world. But when you start to think that you are bad, you may end in getting inferiority complex and eaten up by low confidence. So, it is highly important that you do not lose "SELF" but yet work on it. So, always think about so many good things you have and work on those traits that need improvement. This is where your friend or well wisher can help you to sail through by giving those crucial feedbacks and also appreciate and cheer you up. If you can work on improving your emotions to other's emotions, it will be great not only in professional career but also at personal life.

If you are thinking that you can improve your emotional intelligence by not reacting to others, it is wrong. You cannot improve emotional intelligence by looking at others or by just reading books. It has to be an experience because you need train your brain and the neurons in the brain when you want the change to be ever lasting. It is like archery, swimming and life. You got to live and learn with it. But if you are satisfied with temporary solution, you can tell your brain to do “the acting” (which again is not good for you). It is the time and efforts that will help you to improve your emotional intelligence, not books, not case studies, not training. I have tried this approach and it works very slowly. I believe that this is the only way how one can build emotional intelligence and any other short cuts do not work at all. It might be slow, but it is effective and ever lasting.

So, sounds good? Have any thoughts?

Other posts on Emotional Intelligence can be accessed via this link

PS: If you want to here from a subject matter expert about Emotional Intelligence, refer the works of Daniel Goleman. He is authority in EI.

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