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EQ - Our feeling is more evolved than our thinking?

Posted Nov 12 2010 12:48pm
Alright... quite the epiphany, an "Ahah!" moment came upon me when diving into Emotional Intelligence.

This was all about the study of the 'gut feeling' otherwise known as intuition - the ability to feel our answer. What blew me away, was the simple distinction that there is an underlying constant in everything that we do!

The distinction is between our Minds and our Emotions. While our mind creates thoughts that cover infinite possibilities of how our actions, current projects, conversations, relationships, etc. can turn out - our emotions continue to provide us with a benchmark of how things are, based on the same emotional triggers... the best part is that our emotions don't live in the future or the past, they are right here, right now.... in the moment.

 As I mentioned in the last article... this is huge as the days of the rigid, hard-headed intellectual is over - to succeed in work, life and love - one of the primary steps is to become aware, in non-judgment, of the subtle undercurrent of thoughts and the emotions they create within you, in everything you do.

If you're looking for the scientific explanation - here's the specifics of how our brain handles experience and makes it into a gut feeling - courtesy of our good friends from Harvard University.
The brain areas involved in gut feelings are far more ancient than the thin layers of the neocortex, the centers for rational thought that enfold the very top of the brain. Hunches start much deeper than the brain.
... The amygdala is the site where the emotions an experience evokes are stored. As the repository for everything we feel about what we experience, the amygdala constantly signals us with information. Whenever we have a preference of any kind, whether for ordering the risotto rather than the sea bass, or a compelling sense that we should dump our shares in a stock, that is a message from the amygdala - this extends through a pathway into the viscera, creating a somatic response - literally, a "gut feeling" - to the choices we face.
from Working with Emotional Intelligence - by Daniel Golement

Yes this is intense, but very interesting - and the fascinating thing is that the more we experience the more powerful this gut feeling gets - the classic term for this guiding sensibility is a little thing you may have heard of before, wisdom.

So to get us on the track on how to make Emotional Intelligence work in our lives and start developing these powerful facets,below is a quick rundown of what Emotional Intelligence is and what it isn't.

What Emotional Intelligence isn't:
  • It does not mean "being nice" 
  • It does not mean giving free reign to feelings - "letting it all hang out"
  • This from a study on the top performers across many industries that I found very interesting - Woman are not "smarter" than Men when it comes to emotional intelligence
  • It isn't fixed genetically, nor does it develop only in early childhood

What Emotional Intelligence is
  • It is developing courage and understanding your strengths and weaknesses equally, so that in strategic moments that demand you not to "be nice", you can for example speak your voice and bluntly confront someone with an uncomfortable but consequential truth they've been avoiding
  • It is a self-awareness of your feelings, managing them so that you can express them appropriately and effectively, for example enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals
  • There are far more similarities than differences in both challenges and competencies in both Men and Women, it is an equal playing field - eliminate the stereotype
  • Unlike IQ, which changes little after our teen years, emotional intelligence is primarily learned, and it continues to develop as we go through life and learn from our experiences - our competence in it can and does keep growing
This sets us up to see the reality behind out emotions, and how Emotional Intelligence can really project you forward. Tomorrow I'll post a Weekly Meditation, a practice to bring you on the steps to developing your Emotional Intelligence!

I'm interested to know, do you think we should be rigid intellectuals? Or should we be open to our intuition and emotions?
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