When emotions run wild it’s almost impossible to achieve anything of significance. High achievers experience a range of emotions like anyone else but have good emotional intelligence. They have a healthy perspective about themselves and life in general.
Let’s have a look at some of the things they know that enable them to flourish at a high level:
1. Understanding your emotions
Some people fail to acknowledge their emotions and treat them as unimportant. Every human being including you was created with the ability to feel or experience emotion. Our emotions are triggered by different things and each emotion is unique in its own way.
If you’re involved in a tight sporting contest and the game is tied emotions of anxiety tend to be there. They are an expression that you care about the outcome and want to win or at least not lose. Imagine you’re the one who scores the game winning shot at the last minute, how would you feel?
You’d likely feel like a hero and ecstatic, wouldn’t you? It’s a natural feeling that happens because of the positive thing you’ve done and it encourages you.
When you don’t acknowledge your emotions it can create problems that affect your behavioral patterns. Take for example that you lose a loved one in your life and it’s natural to feel loss and grieve. Grieving expresses that you loved the one you lost and acknowledge to yourself that you’re hurting as a result.
If for some reason you decide not to grieve it can have a negative psychological effect on you. Emotions need expression because keeping them in will fry your brain.
That’s why psychologists tend to ask their clients how they feel about issues they deal with when counselling them. Those emotions have to be let out and dealt with accordingly.
2. Mastery of emotions
Because emotions are fragile and change easily it’s important that you don’t allow them to control you. While expressing them is not a bad thing but the form of expression needs to be controlled. I’ve noticed how in basketball when a team is going through a bad phase the coach calls for a timeout.
The purpose of a timeout is stop the momentum of the other team and strategize a counter attack. Intelligent coaches do that to avoid letting their team completely fall apart. Life is much the same way so when things aren’t going your way it’s good to pause and recollect yourself.
When you pause to think about what’s happening you get to see the situation with more clarity. Have you ever noticed that when you’re emotional your clarity of thought goes down? That’s what happens when emotions run wild and the end result is making poor decisions that’ll cost you.
Being highly emotional can make you see things in the wrong light. You may be better placed than your opponent to win the battle but if you’re not thinking straight you’ll fail.
In sports you’ll often find players trash talking others to stir up their emotions to get them off guard. It’s more of a psychological battle than anything else.
3. Responsive vs. reactionary
What do you think is better – reacting to situations or responding to them? Reacting to things means you’re at the mercy of whatever triggers your reactions.
In other words you have no control over your emotions not because it was taken away from you. You chose to cede control of your emotions to things outside of you. Responding otherwise is a sign of emotional intelligence.
When you’re reactionary there’s a tendency of bad things happening to you one after another. For example, you get up in the morning to rush to the office for an early meeting; you look for an important file that you need for the meeting but can’t find it. As a result of your frustration, you snap at your wife for ‘misplacing it’ but you then find it.
As you leave the house, the car fails to start because you left the lights on. This compounds your misery and you start cursing. After jump starting it and leave home you suddenly get a flat tyre and your meeting starts in 20 minutes. Now you’re freaked out and I’m sure you can think of other possible outcomes of what could happen after that.
If you choose to respond appropriately it might not turn out as bad as in the other scenario. Stopping to pray and calm down will help you to think of positive solutions.
4. Understanding emotions don’t define you
When you’re going through a rough patch and you get discouraged it’s easy to think you’re a failure. Your life is not defined by what you feel but by who God says you are. If your emotions defined who you are you’d be a different person every day, and that would be crazy.
Emotionally intelligent people know who they are so they have self-awareness. A knowledge of self helps deflect negative situations and keep you grounded. So no matter what happens around them they know that they can use the situation for good.
I never quite understood this concept but now I do. The key to winning life’s battles is to know yourself and know the enemy you’re dealing with. That way you can develop the right strategies to defeat your enemy every time. The devil can set up situations to provoke an emotional response from you so knowing it ahead of time helps.
If you know your triggers and the enemy’s tactics you can make better decisions on how to overcome them. It’s more like a counter strategy before he even strikes. The devil’s ambition is to make you forget who you are in Christ and fill your head with lies instead.
Now that you know this the next time negative things happen around you just remember the enemy’s intention. You’ll be better prepared to counter against him.
5. Relating well with others with empathy
Empathizing with other people is a good sign of emotional intelligence knowing that people are creatures of emotion. It’s good to relate to other people on their different levels whether they’re hurting or rejoicing.
Connecting with other people happens at the heart level. John C Maxwell says leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. Before engaging others you need to show you care and aren’t just interested in what you can get from them. The same is not true of emotionally unintelligent people.
Placing blame on other people for what happens in your life is unintelligent. Again you fail to realize that when you don’t take responsibility you’re giving up your power. Even if someone is acting against you should be able to decipher what they’re really saying- that’s emotional intelligence.
In spite of what other people do to you the ability to control the outcome is in your hands. That’s why Jesus said love your enemies and do good to those that persecute as it can change their demeanor.
Having that skill is priceless as it can help you build powerful relationships you may not have thought were possible. Great leaders have a way of understanding the people they relate with and it pays dividends in the long term.