How many of you know the difference between IQ and EQ?

How many truly know what EQ is?

Emotional Quotient (EQ) refers to a person’s emotional intelligence. It’s the ability to understand, utilise and manage the emotions we experience in everyday life. EQ is not about how we react to stimuli. Far from it. It’s actually about how we use our emotions to respond to situations, circumstances, and other people. And the higher our EQ, the better off we are.

Our inability to manage our circumstances means we are vulnerable to being controlled by them. How often have you heard someone say; “if not for so and so, I’d have a better life/more money/be happier” etc. That’s a person who has forfeited control of their life in preference to letting their circumstances dictate their happiness. And many people are guilty of doing it.

Human beings are for the most part governed by their emotions. There are standard cues for certain circumstances – see a shark when you’re in the ocean and naturally enough, most of us will experience fear. Lots of it in my case! See tragedy and we feel sorrow and empathy. I have taught myself that it isn’t so much the emotions themselves that I experience but rather, it’s the extent to which, and the duration of the emotions, that governs my response to stimuli.

When we simply react to something, we immediately forfeit a large degree of control, if not all of it, as we act “impulsively” or on instinct. The ‘fight or flight response is inherent in human DNA and it refers to the instinct of whether to run away from or stand and aggressively react to a perceived threat.

Acting impulsively often hijacks our better judgment and ability to discern between available courses of action. When someone breaks up with you, for example, it’s natural to feel hurt, let down, and cry. But for how long? Being depressed as a consequence of being ‘let go’ is natural, but it can be very damaging to react to this circumstance by allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity or worse still, get angry. It is better to respond. Take time to pause, reflect on what transpired and why, and then determine what the next best course of action is?

What can you learn from your relationship that will serve you positively as you move ahead with your life?  What can you work on to create the best version of you?

Reacting rather than responding takes away your ability to process a situation and more often than not causes us to say things we shouldn’t, and/or act in a harmful way – to others and ourselves.

The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said;

“To respond is positive, to react negative.”

The great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said;

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.”

I’m humbly in good company when I say that it’s far better to respond to circumstances rather than react because if you react, you allow circumstances to control you.

So when next you find yourself immediately reacting to a stimulus, whether it makes you hurt, angry, or frustrated, stop, hit the ‘pause button’, and step away from the circumstance without allowing your mind to think about it for five minutes.  Make a cuppa, do some deep breathing, take a short brisk walk, anything that takes your mind away from what happened, then calmly assess:

  • What exactly happened?
  • How does that make me feel?
  • What did I do to contribute to the situation?
  • What action(s) can I now take to minimise the situation and try to prevent it from occurring again?

This simple routine will quickly condition you to stop reacting and develop your EQ so that you are in control of your life…to the extent possible!

Stay positive, don’t react, and be kind to one another.