Would you like to get ahead more and struggle less? Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be able to get ahead in whatever they do yet others struggle? And have you ever noticed that is doesn’t matter how clever those people are as far as their school results or the usual intelligence test (IQ) scores?
The reason is that the truth to being successful and happy in life comes down to Emotional Intelligence (EQ), not IQ. I made reference to this in my article ‘Can You Bridge The Hardest Gap?’ In his excellent book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, Daniel Goleman calls this ‘The Master Aptitude’ and quotes huge amounts of evidence to support it. But what exactly is Emotional Intelligence? And more importantly, what else can you do to start being more emotionally intelligent that will translate into real world results? Stick with me and I’ll tell you, but first check this out.
A study was done on ‘delayed gratification’ in four year olds (stay with me, it is relevant to you as an adult!). The test was simple; put a marshmallow on a plate in front of some four year old kids, then pretend you have to run an errand but tell the kids this, “If you wait until I get back, you can have two marshmallows as a treat, if you can’t wait you only get one but you can have it now”. As you’d expect, some kids waited for the bigger reward (two marshmallows), others wanted their treat ‘now’! The long term results from this are very telling. When researchers tracked down these kids as they were about to graduate school as teenagers it was discovered that those who could delay gratification (wait and get two marshmallows at age four) were;
“…more socially competent; personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. They were less likely to go to pieces, freeze or regress when under stress, or become rattled or disorganised when pressured; they embraced challenges and pursued them instead of giving up even in the face of difficulties; they were self-reliant and confident, trustworthy and dependable and they took the initiative and plunged into projects. And more than a decade later, they were still able to delay gratification in pursuit of their goals.” (1)
So here’s the reason knowing this as adults is good news. Lots of things constitute the ability to hold off and delay gratification, foremost of these is emotional management. And any kind of emotional self-management can be learned! In fact, it can be learned at any age and so can literally turn a person’s life around for the better no matter what their situation. This kind of emotional resilience is core to my Self Leadership training. Much of what I do as a coach too, is to help a person become more in control of their emotional responses rather than acting rashly and emotionally.
As you’ll imagine, there’s a lot to gaining any skill, and emotional mastery is certainly no exception! For today though, here’s a tip. Core to self-management is being able to regulate your stress response. So start to stretch your comfort zone so that you recognise how you respond when under pressure; deliberately give yourself a tight deadline at work, say “yes” to that opportunity to talk in front of a group, take on a small extra responsibility that will need you to stay on your toes a bit more, etc. Pick something that’s a stretch, but not overwhelming. Something that will require you to think things through rather than just react. Doing this will sharpen your mind and build resilience over time.
If you’re serious about creating more success and mastering your life, don’t just stop at reading this. Drop me a line and find out what trainings I have coming up and how personal/executive coaching can give you better results in life.
- Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman