When fresh information is presented to us that contradicts previously held beliefs, it can be hard to accept. This is why people experience “closed-mindedness” that can stand in the way of our personal and collective evolution. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility and ultimately character. We may need to learn to laugh at ourselves a little and delve into our emotions to make room for possibilities beyond our our currently held beliefs. Here’s some research that will inspire you to embrace emotional intelligence for your own well-being, and success!
Research in multiple fields of study show that curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy are skills that will redefine traditional beliefs about intelligence. According to Multiple Intelligences Theory, what we know might not be as important as understanding the ways that we learn. Emotional Intelligence Theory reminds us that possessing lots of knowledge may not lead to success if an individual does not have good interpersonal and social skills. Knowing how to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously is a prerequisite.
“Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology
A Lust for Learning
Emotions motivate or suppress our behaviors. The emotion of depression may make us stay in bed all day and not give a crap about anything, whereas curiosity may cause us to read ten books. By cultivating the needed emotional state for learning through exercise, good diet, meditation, or yoga you will increase your creative muscle. The ability to perceive, use, and manage emotions isn’t at the top of the academic list of priorities but these skills are crucial to working in groups towards problem-solving, collaboration, and other forms of success.
We are not Meant to Work Like Machines…
We are Meant to Live like Humans.
Our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us, but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence.
Mechanized inventions can do manual work for us which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to do other kinds of internal “work” and discovery. Our ancestors had very little time to explore what being human meant beyond survival. This is the invisible hand that not only shapes our thoughts and our culture, it is what gives us character.
Let’s build character!
Tiffany Shlain and Let it Ripple have a series of films that articulate this ongoing inquiry for Character Day which is an international campaign to tackle the human component of intelligence. Let It Ripple uses interactive films, discussion materials, as well as live and virtual events to engage people in conversations around complicated subjects like this. Crowd-sourcing ideas to make films (cloud-filmmaking) on topics that we can all relate to is a beautiful expression of inclusivity and collaboration. The Global Q & A utilizes Google where you can go and watch any number of experts explore what skills are needed to flourish in the 21st century.
Having an honest relationship, even a friendship with your full emotional spectrum is very important. Though we have social norms that require us to not show certain forms of anger, sorrow, jealousy and other shadow-emotions, it is still very important for us to express these in constructive ways. The ability to tune in to what another person is feeling and reflect that back to them with compassion is a very powerful and deep way to create connection. This can help you at work, and at home with your family.
Our emotional realms are complex and beautiful if we are willing to explore them in a safe space. We have the ability to create that safe space for ourselves and others by listening from the heart, not judging, and allowing stories to be told. This expression can also come in the form of art, music, poetry, it is a way to bring unconscious wounds out into the open. The end result is empowerment, healing, clarity, as well as increased creativity, compassion, and productivity.
What we know is always in flux, as we are constantly being re-informed and evolving. Personal resilience along with humor, compassion and humility will prove to be invaluable moving forward. Dig deep into your own character, embrace the emotional rainbow that is unique to your human condition and loosen up a little! Having an adaptable brain may be more important than having one that is full of knowledge…