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The self control quotient
The self control quotient
The self control quotient
The self control quotient
The self control quotient
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The self control quotient

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  • 1. The Self Control Quotient By Chelse Benham "Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power." Seneca, Roman philosopher in the 1st century AD In the early 1990s, Dr. John Mayer and Dr. Peter Salovey, behavioral psychologists, introduced the term "emotional intelligence" (EI) in the Journal of Personality Assessment. They used this term to describe a person's ability to understand his or her own emotions and the emotions of others and to act appropriately based on this understanding. In 1995, psychologist Daniel Goleman popularized this term with his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goldman reported, "In navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies, our rages and depressions, our worries and anxieties that steer us day to day. Even the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being undone by unruly emotions. The price we pay for emotional illiteracy is in failed marriages and troubled families, in stunted social and work lives, in deteriorating physical health and mental anguish and, as a society, in tragedies such as killings." Therefore, it is critical to understand EI and how it affects our ability to interact with people and situations and its impact on career success. “Emotions are clearly constructed by our perceptions and our interpretations, although some events are powerful enough to elicit very similar interpretations and emotional responses from many people (such as traumas),” said Dr. Kristin Croyle, assistant professor in the Psychology and Anthropology Department at The University of Texas-Pan American. “People often don’t realize the emotion they assign to people and events as illustrated in everyday terminology. The terminology reinforces the idea that things act upon and cause our emotional response. ‘He made me so mad.’ ‘She really brings me down.’ Both are examples of displacing ownership or control and further validate our indulgence to express our emotions instead of controlling them.” Exactly what is Emotional Intelligence or self-control quotient? According to Rutgers University’s The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, the term encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities: 1. Self-awareness – knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they occur and discriminating between them 2. Mood management – handling feelings so they are relevant to the current situation to allow you to react appropriately 3. Self-motivation – "gathering up" your feelings and directing yourself towards a goal, despite self-doubt, inertia and impulsiveness
  • 2. 4. Empathy – recognizing feelings in others and tuning into their verbal and nonverbal cues 5. Managing relationships – handling interpersonal interaction, conflict resolution, and negotiations Research in brain-based learning suggests that emotional health is fundamental to effective learning. According to a report from the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs, found in the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, the most critical element for a student's success in school is an understanding of how to learn. The key ingredients for this understanding are: • Being self-assured • Being interested in activities • Knowing the expected behavior for a given situation • Declining the impulse to misbehave • Patience • Being able to follow directions • Turning to authority for help • Good communication skills • Good social skills Such behavioral determinants are necessary at all ages in life. Assigning some causality, in a person’s disposition, to genetics is essential to understanding how to become more self-actualized and aware of your own behavior. Dr. Jerome Kagan, director of the Mind/Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative and developmental psychologist at Harvard University, posits that there are four basic temperaments; timid, bold, upbeat and melancholy. Each one obtains its difference from diverse brain patterns in the frontal lobe. For example, Dr. Richard Davidson, psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, reported that people with greater activity in the left frontal lobe, compared to the right, “are by temperament cheerful; they typically take delight in people and in what life presents them.” Although brain activity has an impact on temperament, a person can tame their “amygdala” – the area of the brain that triggers emotion – by training the brain in new responses to emotional stimuli. According to Kagan, scientists and people think of abstract processes – like intelligence or fear – as measurable entities or “fixed.” Thinking about emotions as fixed, ignores the power of context and the great variability of emotional response among individuals to similar situations. Among the many myths perpetuated about human temperament, "infant determinism" is widespread and a dearly held conviction that Kagan contests. He
  • 3. believes this theory – with its claim that early relationships determine lifelong patterns – underestimates human resiliency and adaptability, both emotional and cognitive and fails to account for the happy products of miserable childhoods and vice versa. Broken down in its basic terms, infant determinism, according to Kagan, misleadingly postulates that, once your formative years (one to seven years of age) have happened, you are ultimately at the mercy of that past to the exclusion of “free will” for your future. Therefore, based on this theory, if you were neglected and/or abused you are destined to repeat the abuse and also, more likely to make poor choices that lead to negative consequences. Fortunately, things are not black and white. A grey area does exist. According to Kagan, there is good news. You can change the way you perceive life and your reactions without being ensnared by behavioral precursors created by previous life experiences. In other words, life isn’t determined solely by your formative years. The old cliché “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” just doesn’t hold up. Taking charge of your emotions is possible, but not always easy. How emotionally in tune are you? Emotional intelligence has a number of components. Goleman outlines these components in his chapter “The Self Science Curriculum.” In it, he identifies areas a person should improve for self- control over one’s emotions. They include the following: • Self-awareness: observing yourself and recognizing your feelings; building a vocabulary to articulate how you feel and understanding the relationship between thoughts, feelings and reactions • Personal decision making: examining your actions and knowing their consequences; knowing if a feeling is ruling a decision; applying these insights to issues in real life situations • Managing feelings: monitoring “self-talk” to catch negative messages such as internal put-downs; realizing what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger and sadness • Handling stress: learning the value of exercise, guided imagery and relaxation methods • Empathy: understanding other’s feelings and concerns; appreciating the differences in how people feel • Communication: talking about feelings effectively; becoming a good listener; distinguishing between what someone does or says and your own reactions or judgments about it • Self-disclosure: valuing openness and building trust in a relationship; knowing when it is safe to risk talking about your private feelings • Insight: identifying patterns in your emotional life and identifying reasons for them and recognizing similar patterns in others
  • 4. • Self-acceptance: feeling pride and seeing yourself in a positive light; recognizing your strengths and weaknesses; being able to laugh at yourself • Personal responsibility: taking responsibility; recognizing the consequences of your decisions and actions, accepting your feelings and moods, following through on commitments • Assertiveness: stating your concerns and feelings without anger or passivity • Group dynamics: cooperation; knowing when and how to lead, when to follow • Conflict resolution: learning how to negotiate with others Upon reading this list, how well do you handle the fore mentioned areas? Any significant improvement, in emotional intelligence, requires continuous effort with intensive individual coaching, reliable feedback and a strong desire for personal development. In the end however, the effort is well worth it. Research, developed by such experts as Daniel Goleman, Jack Mayer, Peter Salovey and David Caruso, supports the idea that people with a high level of emotional intelligence can solve complex problems, make effective and wise decisions, manage their time, manage crises and adapt their behavior to their benefit providing them with greater success. If you are beginning the journey of self improvement, there are strategies that help develop strong emotional constitutions. The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, at Rutgers University, suggests visualizing your “ideal self” and creating positive self talk. In the last twenty years, research literature has proven the power of positive visioning and its effects in sports psychology, meditation, biofeedback and other psycho-physiological research. According to Goleman, the potency of focusing one's thoughts on the desired result is supported by emotional areas of the brain, thus making more real the desired result and eventual outcome. Along with visualization, you must have a sense of what you value and want to keep as part of yourself. Likewise, to consider what you want to preserve about yourself involves admitting aspects of yourself that you wish to change or adapt in some manner. Insight into your “ideal self” can come from performing exercises such as: • making explicit goals for self improvement. • talking with close friends or mentors about your goals. • working with a personal improvement coach or consultant. • taking personality tests for self evaluation. • thinking about your “desired self.”
  • 5. • surrounding yourself with positive and productive people that reflect your values and support your goals. EI is based on research in personality and social psychology. These areas of study have helped people reevaluate the significance of a person’s EI or EQ (emotional quotient) and its correlation to professional success. EQ has proven to be a better predictor for “success” than traditional measures of cognitive intelligence or the intelligence quotient (IQ) once used. Fortunately, for many of us, the workplace provides many opportunities to improve our EI. It is an ideal environment for people to develop their social and emotional skills when interacting with others. Individuals motivated to develop their EI, in pursuit of professional heights, will make greater strides than someone who simply relies on “gut reaction” to maneuver through the complex business world. "What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!" – Goethe

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