The Real Source of Emotional Intelligence

A lot of companies are looking at Emotional Intelligence or EQ (meaning Emotional Quotient), as a yardstick for employability and career success, but there is a real misunderstanding about this much quoted ‘skill’ and how you can develop it.

Emotional intelligence according to Psychology Today is ‘the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others’. So here’s why the whole EQ scene is barking up the wrong tree.

All humans think. We are thinking beings from the day we are born until the day we die. Thoughts simply carry neutral information to our awareness (consciousness) which is the human sorting office of emotion. A thought with angry information will get turned into anger and a thought with loving information will get turned into love. But here’s the thing about consciousness. Depending on who’s manning the controls that day depends on the outcome of the thought/feeling process. Some days, an angry thought will get identified as anger but won’t be turned into anger. Some days it will be filed under humility instead. In other words, consciousness is actually the real source of our experience, not the thoughts themselves. So what’s controlling this consciousness then and who gets to decide on our levels of it? The simple answer is ‘not you’.

So if you’re not in charge and we don’t actually know who or what is, then how do we get to decide what happens with our thinking. What levels of control do we actually have at our disposal? Put simply, not much. But as with any process, when we get to see how it actually works, we get a chance, a split second to see an alternative outcome and maybe, just maybe, our own consciousness gets an internal memorandum to help it filter the thoughts in a more useful way!

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Viktor E. Frankl

In other words, our thinking is not the problem. It’s our thinking and actions about our thinking which gets us into trouble. We are thinking, feeling, human beings, being human. We get to feel anger, hate, sadness, depression, humility, love, joy, pain, fear, wonder and every other emotion on the spectrum from zero to infinity. That’s the system doing its thing, right there. The feelings are not the problem – it means we’re alive to feel them – our expectations (more thought) about those feelings, this is good, this is bad etc, are the ‘problem’, not the feelings themselves.

“Tis nothing wither good not bad but thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare

Our thoughts brought to life by our consciousness and felt by our essence, our humanity, give us an experience of life from nirvana to hell and that experience is nothing more than an internal representation, but not a direct reflection, of life.

How incredible to know that we are merely feeling shadows of exterior existence. Life – the true representation of reality – is the process itself but we miss it in the confusion of the experience because we think it’s the reflection. That ability to feel thought is the real reality. That conscious awareness of the representation is life, and when we can truly accept and see the wonder of this process, we can get to go into it and be with it, liberated from the misunderstanding that it is telling us about anything other than our own human potential, our own aliveness in that moment:

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their own experience, that alone would change the world.” – Syd Banks

This is the real source of emotional intelligence. Seeing how and what emotions really are, a shadow of our own moment by moment awareness, our own conscious experience of diving intelligence flowing through this vessel of a body second by second. And if we know this, then we remember it and realise it, that’s when we get a new experience, a new thought, a new feeling, because we’ve not been stuck with the misinformation and the misunderstanding – we get to experience the truth of it.

That… is the real source of emotional intelligence, knowing that the system is working perfectly, no matter what or who is at the controls from moment to moment and no matter what we are producing as our experience of life, as a result.