Saturday, September 22, 2012
Spotlight on the Foundation of Emotional Intelligence
Picture this: You are enjoying a summer walk in the woods at dusk – the mosquitos are everywhere. Before arriving home you are fully aware of all the bites and the annoying itching. Or think back of your childhood to one of the probably many times you fell and hurt yourself. I am sure it came naturally to notice those sensations. It’s not exactly like you have to make an effort to notice how bad your skin is itching.
I just wished it were the same later in life, with other sensations and feelings, and especially in the workplace. I wished the feelings of beginning nervousness in a conversation, of unease when reading a document, or of doubt about a decision were as poignant as the result of that mosquito bite or as the stinging sensation when you fall on your bare knees. But it isn't. We haven't really learned to pay close attention to our sensations. We've been taught, at least in Western culture, to focus and not be distracted. Luckily it has become somewhat more common this past decade to focus on intuition, to address inner processes and how they might alert you to some aspect you might otherwise neglect or that might go completely unnoticed. But even then, if we do notice our sensations and feelings, many of us do not know how to effectively address these feelings nor the underlying or resulting processes.
So your question to yourself can be: Am I present and aware, in the moment – in this moment? Am I using all my senses?
Am I distracted, am I chasing the many thoughts that enter my consciousness at any given time? Am I ignoring things rather than noticing them?
The following should be absolutely clear. It's not about condemning the distraction, your sensations, or your thoughts. It’s about noticing them, knowing how they impact you, and it’s about bringing yourself back to the here-and-now, wherever that is and whatever you’re doing.
If you search my blog for 'awareness' you'll find more articles on the topic - what it is, how it works, and how to increase your awareness.
In brief: take time to stop, notice, sense, and feel. Adjust your attitude, approach, and behavior accordingly. Or don’t adjust them, and just know how external distractions such as events in your environment and how internal distractions (often related to external events) such as worries, fear, and tiredness influence you.
Weekends are generally a good time to practice and enjoy your awareness, but aim to use it on je job, in meetings, when feeling tight, during presentations, while working on a report... You get the picture.
Just do it!