It’s your boy with the most, back at it again. I gotta admit. This article was quite a strange one to write. Simply because I didn’t fully understand what exactly I was trying to write about until I was almost done. Don’t ask me how that is even possible. There’s plenty you don’t know about me :).
After my previous article, I thought it would be a good idea to expand on it in another article – This one. With the focus being the emotional/human aspect of both work satisfaction/dissatisfaction. As you well know, I enjoy writing these pieces in relation to things I have actually experienced or witnessed. This is to avoid sounding like an authority on personal or social issues. Because at the end of the day, I don’t know shit. But pretending to do helps :D.
So while I was carrying out further research, I remembered a conversation I had a while back. This was with my younger cousin who was studying for her Leaving Certificate exams. (The equivalent being any Final year High School exams in your respective countries). She was studying very hard and I figured I’ll annoy her a little. Since, you know, I had nothing better to do with my life in that moment.
You need better hobbies, Derrick. Seriously.
I know, I know. But hear me out first😂.
I kept asking her what she was studying until she responded by saying, ‘Home Economics and Emotional Intelligence.‘ Though with a slight hint of annoyance in her response. Who does she think she is?
But what stuck with me from that was the phrase, ‘Emotional Intelligence.’ I had never heard anything like that before. This sounded more like something that would be up for discussion in a psychology class in college. So I was pretty sure she was just making shit up because of all that exam preparation stress. I didn’t even know that this was being taught in secondary schools. And I started to ask myself how you could even begin to teach such an abstract and highly subjective topic in a classroom for very young people. But I was curious to find out about it so I went to Google.
What I found out was pretty interesting. To summarize very briefly, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions. As well as those of others.
Unless you are in solitary confinement, we all display an aspect of EI in our daily interpersonal or social interactions. I just didn’t know there was a technical term for it. And just like IQ tests do exist, structured tests for Emotional Intelligence do exist too – or EQ tests. I had no idea (as usual). But that’s besides the point.
Far more interesting to me was Daniel Goleman‘s concise breakdown of EI into both Personal and Social skills. Take a look at the snapshot below. Carefully.
Okay we good?
Obviously I won’t be discussing the whole table in detail. Otherwise I’d be doing a podcast instead. But I want to say that I realised something immediately after studying this table in greater detail. And what I realised was that suddenly, the rest of this article will have very little to do with my previous article, but more about myself. So mind you, I will use the table above as a reference throughout the rest of this article. And I’ll recommend that you study it further here.
Ok then. You reaaallly enjoy going on about yourself, don’t you Derrick?
Well, when you put it like that, it makes me feel weird😒. But that aside, I’ve been working diligently over the last few years to improve my self-confidence. As well as developing a keen interest in trying to understand various individuals and groups, and dealing with or getting along with them.
Although I understand that there is always room for learning and improvement, I feel really good about how much I’ve learned thus far. Today I feel far more confident in my personal skills, well over my social skills.
So imagine my genuine surprise when, after using the above table as my guide, I realised that I was lacking far more in personal skills than in social skills. This was also compounded by a fruitful meeting I had with an old friend recently. In which she exposed more about my own inaccurate self-assessment than I cared to admit. I’ve also always known just how much I fall short when it comes to self-motivation and commitment. But I’ve just never allowed myself to admit it. I could go on and on about my other flaws on the personal skills list. But this is supposed to be just an article, not a dissertation :D.
My lack of Commitment, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, could refer to both personal goals and romantic relationships. As far as basic personal goals go, let’s take this article for example. You guys have no idea how many times I stopped writing just to go downstairs and stare at my fridge. (Or log into Youtube, which I have an unhealthy addiction for). On a day when I feel driven or inspired, an article like this would take a maximum of four hours to complete. But if I’m not not driven, four hours could easily becomes four days. I really need to polish my focus.
My approach/commitment to romantic relationships on the other hand, deserves its own article. Mostly due to the fact that I like to’ have my cake and eat it’. And unashamedly so. This is the reason why I consider myself an unofficial Devil’s Advocate for open relationships. (Ps. let me know in the comments if you would like me to elaborate on this in another article😉).
Having your own cake and eating it requires clear communication and tact. That is, if you want to enjoy its full benefits without putting your peace of mind at risk. Sometimes, it can be hard for me to admit my weaknesses and limits. Hell, it took me a chance conversation for me to admit this out loud. But for the sake of EI, I realise just how important it is for me to acknowledge my own weaknesses. If I’m not honest with myself first, then how can I be honest with someone else?
I have spent enough time acknowledging my personal weaknesses. (That is in relation to Goleman’s table above). But once it comes to self-confidence, that is an area I’ve improved greatly over time. It is for that reason that I rarely rely on another person’s valuation of me to determine my own self-worth. I know it. I feel it. I live it. And this is something I’ve decided to keep improving for the rest of my life.
It is no surprise that people with strong self-awareness find it easier to live happier and productive lives. Examples of this include people who don’t stay in jobs that they find unfulfilling. Or in relationships in which they are unhappy. That is how I am trying to carry on with my life. But I get a lot of free food in my place of work. So it doesn’t matter what I say here, I know deep down that I’ll stay there for just a little longer. Lord help me😯.
We are all social creatures, so we are able to empathise. Empathizing requires us to perceive and understand things from the other person’s perspective. On paper, it would seem that empathy should come naturally to everyone. But I KNOW, according to experience, that theory and practice are two different ball games. Personal factors such as self-preservation, ego, ignorance, prejudice and fear sometimes prevent me from fully understanding another person’s emotions, opinions or pain.
In a time when we consider ourselves ‘progressive’ (whatever that means), it is surprising that a lot of us still discriminate according to skin colour, status and background. This is due to very high misinformation feeding off people’s fears and ignorance. Let’s be honest. There is also an unwillingness for people to find out things for themselves. And it is such a pity that those that actually try to learn for themselves, are faced with an even bigger problem. Which is – Too much readily available information. For every piece of valuable information that exists, there exist five times the amount of false info that surrounds it. Such is the dilemma I’m usually faced with.
However, there is always an influx of people moving to countries where English is spoken as a first language. This gives me a chance to learn in person whatever may be skewed on the internet. As a result, Ireland is made up of people from every corner of the globe. I know because I’m one of these people :).
Working and living in Dublin has taught me a lot about the importance of empathy. And also how to leverage diversity. (To leverage diversity means to tailor the way you interact with others according to their needs and feelings). All these people come with varying beliefs, values and backgrounds. The workplace, as well as the pub, which encourages far more meaningful interaction than a nightclub setting, are both really effective ways to meet and learn about other people from all over the world. As such, I have learned to understand and appreciate the values of people from different backgrounds. I wouldn’t be able to learn all this if my parents hadn’t sacrificed so much for me to be able to live here.
This is good and all. But are you gonna wrap this up soon? Or are you just gonna keep going on?
Oh hold on. I still have something to say about Emotional Intelligence in relation to leadership, building rapport, persuasion and collaboration. If you think hard, you’ll notice that every skill I’ve listed above requires both good communication skills as well as charm/charisma.
I got both so I’m good. That’s all😂.
Based on the amount of articles and research I did for this article, I was very surprised that the leading authorities on EI today are mostly men. I find that quite ironic, simply because women, in my experience, display far greater levels of empathy and self-awareness. But that’s just a personal observation. You can wrestle this out in the comments 🙂.
But like every other skill out there, I believe Emotional Intelligence can be cultivated and learned through practice. This skill is especially relevant today since cultural diversity is commonplace. And the need for us to understand, respect and appreciate our various differences is far greater today than ever before.
Allow me to add Compassion as another important aspect of social EI. Cultivating this innate human quality is especially important today where 1000 Facebook friends is simply a veil to cover the deepest recesses of loneliness and depression. Where social media likes and algorithms are a direct measure of self-worth for most people. Where people are increasingly becoming homeless. (Just take to the streets of Dublin to see why). And where the clueless common guy remains the victim of both religious and corporate greed and irresponsibility.
As usual, I always have a lot I would like to say once I start writing. But let’s leave it here.🙃.
Let me know what your take on the topic of Emotional Intelligence is, and where you think you rank on Goleman’s table. Feel free to discuss whatever you think felt right and what you didn’t approve of. Remember, we’re all about helping and learning from each other, so let’s keep it civil and constructive :).
Thank you XX