Emotional Intelligence for Beginners

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and control emotions, without impulsively acting upon them.

I also think of “emotional intelligence” as the ability to detach from the ego and your immediate, impulsive responses and choose a logical, kind or practical way to act:

The Terminator – choosing a reply. Height of E.Q.

Opinions & Emotional Intelligence

  • When something or someone contradicts a pre-conceived belief – your body kicks out a stress response with cortisol and adrenaline

  • When you force your opinion on someone, your body gives you a ‘dopamine reward’

If you take nothing else away from this post, please read those two bullet points above again!

Be aware of the stress response next time you get into a debate

For example, if you have any elderly parents or grandparents (just as an example from my own experience), who have always been told that being homosexual is “wrong”, they’ll usually complain or just be unable to watch the gay couples in Strictly Come Dancing.

If you question why they have a problem, they’ll rarely come up with a logical answer. They’ve been taught that being gay is wrong, so they’re body is producing stress hormones – which makes them feel pissed off for no logical reason.

If you don’t like someone or something, and you can’t explain why, chances are you’re being a dick!

This stress response can be heightened if your opinion is tied to your identity, or your group identity.

For example, if someone is a devout Tory, they’ll use “motivated reasoning” and any possible confirmation bias possible to defend Boris.

More info here – https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/how-risky-is-it-really/201007/why-changing-somebody-s-mind-or-yours-is-hard-do

This physiological reaction can also be roused when a global belief is threatened – for example, that the world is safe or ethical.

Tell people for example, that Nazi scientists were responsible for putting the first man on the moon and you may get some funny looks or reactions.

Inconvenient truths or questions can be another one. Tell people that lead water pipes are still around in the UK or that there’s a decent amount of evidence that fluoride in water is bad for the brain and nervous system – and there’s a decent chance people will get angry or ridicule you.

Recent study on fluoride here – https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-09765-4

You sometimes see a similar reaction when someone lower down in a hierarchy, be it an official one or a unwritten one, makes a suggest to someone higher up- its often met with a kind of frustrated dismissal.

Confirmation Bias

More of a logical fallacy – but it also crosses over into emotional intelligence.
People will for example, decide to behave in a certain way, and then later justify it by ignoring any information that contradicts theirbehaviour, whilst cherry picking any information that supports it.

For example – although I appreciate there’s now definitely a valid argument to ignore lockdown rules, people who choose to ignore lockdown in 2020, justified it because Sweden didn’t have one.

People who wanted to adhere to lockdown on the other hand – would point to the terrible situation that happened in Italy, and India.

Who is right – is up for debate I guess.

got kind of weird when my left wing mates started sharing Daily Mail articles though.

Confabulation

We’re all in different movies!

Confabulation is the creation of false memories, without intending to deceive or lie. Subconsciously, people’s egos or minds will create a false account of an event, that makes them look more favourable.

Being aware that you’ll do this on a subconscious level – can make you more conscious of bull sh!tting and making stuff up. Sometimes it’s like people are in different realities – if the event was on TV – they’d be completely different movies or TV shows!

You see a similar skewing of reality in real-time too. Arrogant people will skew reality to make out others are stupid or are at fault.

What Your Criticise Represents Your Own Insecurities

Similar to the stress response created when a pre-existing belief is threatened, if your own lifestyle choice is contradicted by someone, that can also create a stress response.

For example, I always get ear ache around Christmas for sticking to a strict diet (I’ve got IBD).

Sticking to a strict diet, makes other people feel bad about eating unhealthy food, and to compensate they’ll often mock or ridicule me.

In a similar fashion, I’ve been called obsessed with myself and all sorts, by people who don’t exercise, because I used to go to the gym in work every lunch time. (sorry, this section is turning into a bit of a personal vent/rant, ironically).

Being aware of this phenomenon, can help you to acknowledge your stress response to a threat, without acting upon it

Meditation is said to be one of the best way to build emotional intelligence. If you can learn to observe and detach from your thoughts, then you can choose not to act on them.

There are some good books that can help to, such as the Chimp Paradox or Dan Harris’ book – 10% Happier. If I remember rightly, he originally wanted to call the book – “The Voice in my head is an Ass Hole”.

The Wisest Man Knows how Little he knows

The Dunning Kruger effect – relates to ill informed or incompetent people, thinking they’re great at something and being over confident. Like people who’ve never done MMA thinking they’d be great at it.

don’t be that guy:

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