Sunday, October 21, 2012

Immaturity v Emotional Intelligence

If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. 
 – Daniel Coleman

When we say someone is “immature,” we are usually evaluating how a person is managing his emotions, especially in challenging situations.

Is he responding (pro-active) or is he reacting (mindless, knee-jerk emotional outbursts)?

What are his mechanisms for coping, for maintaining his psychological equilibrium? (Positive and healthy? Negative and debilitating?)

When in difficult situations, is he able to think rationally and make reasonable decisions?

When we say, “he is immature,” we are giving him poor to failing marks on most or all of these questions.
Maturity is largely about managing our emotions. (Note: there is a huge difference between managing and repressing.)  Daniel Coleman calls such management, Emotional Intelligence. (“Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.”) The premise of Emotional Intelligence suggests that if we are to maximize our business competencies—managing, selling, teamwork, etc.—then we must manage our emotions. In case study after case study, this process of emotional-management has been shown to be twice as important to our success as our academic abilities and technical skills.

In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s philosophical enquiry into virtue, character and the good life, his challenge is to manage our emotional life with intelligence. Our passions, when well exercised, have wisdom; they guide our thinking, our values, our survival. But they can go awry, and do so all too often. As Aristotle saw, the problem is not with emotionality, but with the appropriateness of emotion and its expression. The question is, how can we bring intelligence to our emotions…-- D Coleman

Bringing “intelligence to our emotions” begins with a realistic and accurate assessment of who we are as individuals: this includes our temperaments, talents, behavioral patterns, capacities, and proclivities, as well as our weaknesses and potential blind spots. Such self-awareness opens up to us a whole new world of possibility in our choices regarding how we may more appropriately and expertly utilize our skills and behaviors in the marketplace.
“Intelligence to our emotions” requires we approach our selves and the world around us consciously. Living consciously is “seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our interests, actions, values, purposes, and goals…it is the quest to keep expanding our awareness and understanding, both of the world external to self and of the world within.” (Nathaniel Branden, The Art of Living Consciously.)
Our potential for success increases exponentially with our ability to accurately assess both our selves and those with whom we work. In other words, increased productivity begins with answering two questions:

“Who am I?”

“Who are you?”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012

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