Emotional Intelligence vs. mere simulation of a no-harm livingHow do we make sure cultivating EI competencies is not reduced to a next cargo cult? Building something that looks like an airplane, but does not actually fly.
Post hoc propter ergo hoc* (“after this, therefore because of this”) is a mistake easily made when dealing with a human mind. To remain in a trustworthy scientific domain, psychology is forced to draw cause-and-effect links exclusively between what is verifiable by an average Joe. Who is increasingly depressed, spiteful and suicidal, according to mental health statistics. People, often unaware of their underlying mental conditions, write long books on “how to thrive and be happy”.
Following conceptually convincing, but hollow copycats of “compassionate behavior” or “top 5 traits of resilient leaders” keeps us busy simulating symptoms. A preferred choice some of us unconsciously make to avoid the pain of dealing with actual issues that shutter our capacity for genuine compassion and resilience. Sitting in the same posture as HH The 14th Dalai Lama without a clear understanding of how meditation actually solves our current problems is useless. Ineffectiveness of instruments is easily verified by relapses of destructive emotions and repetitions of calamities.
Emotional Intelligence is an organic result of doing no harm
The complexity of achieving all of the glorified Emotional Intelligence competencies (and resulting outcomes) boils down to very simple and familiar “doing no harm“. But how do we define “harm”? Let alone act without causing it.
Each of us is equipped with our personal palpable indicators: feelings of psychological discomfort, pain, unhappiness, etc. The reason we experience them is we cause harm. Simple as that. Our pain is an indicator of our own violent/harmful mental activity aimed at other people, the world and ourselves.
We normally do not admit wishing ill based on our conceptual “a good person” model of ourselvessupported by the lack of self-awareness. However, doing good/not doing harm externally does not stop our subconsciousness from fighting to the death covertly each time our wishes are denied. Or diverting attacks to ourselves if controlling others is unsuccessful, eventually causing depression and illnesses. If aimed at our future — fear, and anxiety. If our mind attacks the things we do — burnout.
Doing no harm means we do not produce destructive mental activity [in a specific context, in relation to someone, linked to any action or its absence]. Well known anger, fear, jealousy, wishing ill, etc.
"Doing no harm is a non-production of destructive mental activity."
Happiness is a situational vector of non-violence and achievements
If something “feels” right, it basically means the choice, activity or context is not tainted by destructive emotions. The number of internal obstacles to the endeavor is minimal. The potential for achieving the goal and resources availability are at the highest levels. This feeling is similar to the joy, peace of mind and relief experienced when we forgive someone, let a physical pain or a burden go away.
Authentically happy leaders attract similar employees, clients, and investors. People around them feel the presence, tune in, get inspired, achieve goals and feel happier.
The future of getting things done
State of mind hijacking by toxic stakeholders
Our perception, state of mind, EQ (Emotional Intelligence), thoughts, decisions, and resulting actions are influenced by strong emotions of people interacting with us (co-workers, partners, management, investors, clients or even indirect stakeholders). E.g. a contagious fear/anxiety of a coworker can hijack susceptible team members state of mind. Especially, if people share similar emotional proclivities (e.g. prone to worrying, anger, depression, etc.).
We cannot hide from this influence behind physical barriers or digital communications. The solution is based on our own emotional hygiene, removing mutual proclivities and improving the mental well-being of others.
Mentally harming/controlling others stops us from getting what we want
Mental influence works both ways. Our even unintentional emotional pressure can undermine interactions with others. Push people we want to deal with away and damage relationships.
Example: a person with a strong attachment to money reacts to a new business deal opportunity by clinging to it, producing a stream of destructive emotions and controlling thoughts aimed at people involved. Fear of losing the deal launches ruminating and multiple preemptive mental punishments for deviations from the desired scenario, even wishing physical harm. No prospect wishes to be manipulated, interact with mentally violent counterparts. They feel the impact (sometimes without clearly recognizing its source), it skews their perception, — they simply do not like the deal “for no obvious reason”. People keep away from the relationships with someone who harms them.
Building relationships is compromised by psychological dependencies on their outcomes
We can demonstrate fake attention, kindness or compassion all we want, but even the best intentions or “positive” external actions are eroded by coinciding destructive emotions. Psychological dependence on outcomes of a relationship, fear of losing it, jealousy, — are the sources of violent mental impact that undermines relationships or stops them from happening.
If on the contrary, our goodwill is genuine and is untainted by destructive motivation, we attract like-minded individuals, people feel comfortable interacting with us, trust us.
The inevitability of destructive emotions, their “norm” is a myth
We got used to destructive emotions, ruminating, background agitations being an inevitable part of our lives. However, they are not organic attributes of dealing with things we do not like. Our natural responses to events do not have to be causing harm to us and others.
No harm living: worldview, awareness, practice
There is a diverse choice of secular and religious human development systems that can help us subdue destructive emotions effectively, so they no longer relapse for previously triggering events. Not by suppressing them using emotional symptoms band-aid, singled out mindfulness or meditation reduced to temporary calming down technique, but applying long-term solutions that withstand the test of meaningful real-life events.
About Val Verb
Valerii Verbovetskyi is the emotional intelligence author, practitioner, and consultant. CEO & principal consultant at Ingrain. IT entrepreneur.
Founder of EffectiveEmotionalEducation.com, the EQ and human development project.
on November 21, 2018 at 7:20 PM said:Fantastic article. Very well articulated Valerii. You have nailed the symptoms of the various games our minds & ego play with us. And unless we practice the 5 pillars of Right Living, Compassion will not result. I look forward to more articles from you on this very important and urgent issue of our times. Keep up the good work.