If you've been a part of this newsletter for a while, you know that I care about emotional intelligence (EI, henceforth). In fact, recently I've begun think of it as my responsibility to help raise the emotional intelligence of the world. It's on me. If not me, then who?
But teaching emotional intelligence (or anything, really) is not the same as learning it. And with EI, it's such a vague term, that it means everything and nothing at once. So one of my jobs has been to deconstruct what emotional intelligence means.
So far, I've taken two approaches to deconstruct EI.
- The 5 Levels of Emotional Intelligence: Based on the skills that constitute emotional intelligence. See above a picture of this I posted on my IG (@sankalpvg)
(If you would like me to walk you through this chart, you can watch my YouTube video here)
2. The Fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence: Based on the core concepts that underpin all of emotional intelligence, no matter what "level" you are talking about. I've recorded a 7-week course on this which will be launched in a few months.
When we educate ourselves, we expect that we will feel better, and we will understand the world better. But more often than not, we don't as good as we expected.
For example, when me and my friends started Ashoka (my undergraduate college), we all thought we would have more command of the world, and therefore would be happier. But in fact, we felt worse. It is not uncommon for undergraduate institutions of have poor emotional health.
In retrospect, I realise that's because I was only working on "one level". I was cultivating my ability to think critically and pursue arguments. In other words, I was hyper focused on developing thoughts and beliefs. I had zero understanding of social skills, especially how to have and set boundaries (the problem of nicenesss).
As a result, I was unhappy. Over time, when I learned the skill of understanding my needs and setting boundaries (the not nice skillset), I instantly fixed a missing piece, and started feeling happier. Then I eliminated my social anxiety and I started thriving.
Moral of the story: we need to work on all the levels of emotional intelligence. You cannot ignore the social side of happiness and just do CBT ("I'm just an introvert"). On the other hand, you cannot just attend parties and never journal ("Books are not for me"). If we want a shot at happiness, we need to master *all* the levels of EI.
So, let me leave you with this question: which area of emotional intelligence are you strongest at? And which one needs the most work?