Emotional Intelligence Sets us Apart From Technology

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.

(above) The Adaptable Mind by the Moxie Institute

Emotional Self-Awareness

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…

Parenting for A Peaceful World

“How we treat the child, the child will grow up to treat the world” -Pam Leo

My interest in creating a better future always has me thinking about children and the world they will inherit. A few years back I was fortunate enough to meet Robin Grille, Author of Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting, at a conference hosted by The Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health in Southern California.

I was at the conference promoting an interactive children’s production I had worked on called Funny Bone Logic. The DVD teaches exercises and games for kids 3-6 that are designed to open the heart while encouraging children to explore the wisdom that resides in their body, emotions, and imagination. I am always inspired to learn more about contemporary research on brain and emotional development along with ways to change the world through focusing on children. If your child likes the outdoors, then consider getting a jogging stroller to take them out on runs so they´re not connected to the tv all day and that way you get your workout in.

The people who need this information most are parents, yet many of them are busy working to raise their families and have little time to attend heady academic conferences. There must be a way to make the information bite-sized, accessible and easy to digest for the people who need it most — parents. Culture Collective was created in order to fuse art , media, and technology across disciplines to educate and inspire for a better world. Robin and I talked for hours during the conference and exchanged contact information with the hopes that we could create a collaboration in the future.

For weeks after the conference, I read his book and was overwhelmed with the importance of the information between the covers. One afternoon friends of mine asked if I could pick up their 10-year-old daughter, Aja, from school because they had an appointment. I agreed thinking that it was a good excuse to get an ice-cream cone and spend some time with her.

While we sat on a park bench I asked her about life, school and the usual things adults ask kids. I was amazed at how passionate she was about the things that concerned her and how opinionated she was about how things should be. This is where the idea for the video below was hatched.

I wrote Robin and asked him if he would write a distilled synopsis of the most vital and inviting portions of information from his book for a short web-video. I also asked Aja to read Robins words and record a voice-over, and I would collect images from the web and create a montage to help tell the story. All agreed, and were quite excited at the end result.

The video still remains an introduction to this subject matter, but will change the way you see the world. Understanding the history of child-rearing, combined with cutting edge brain research, you will see how culture can be shaped in a positive way through conscious parenting. It has been said, and there is much clinical research to support the notion that we could change the whole world in one generation with a concerted effort to raise stable, emotionally healthy children.

Share this with the parents in your life. Consider ways to tell important stories with images, words and the endless potential of social media. When parents feel loved and supported by the community around them, they are in a better place to nurture their children. Together we can birth a future with less violence and create a more peaceful and loving world for coming generations!

Check out the Good-News Blog by Robin Grille which he submitted as a guest blogger to this site. You can get involved by learning about The Children’s Well-Being Manifesto. The second photo in this video belongs to Food For The Poor, Inc. please visit their site to learn more about their work.

This article posted here first and later was published at Huffington Post on 3-19-2012