In school, we all had to take tests. The main purpose of those tests was to see if we were learning anything or making any progress. Hopefully, we all learned a little bit, even if it was just by accident! We also had to take standardized IQ tests so that teachers could know our Intelligence Quotient. Even though all of us have heard of IQ, many of us are still learning about our EQ. Our Emotional Quotient has everything to do with our emotional intelligence. In other words, the issue is not how smart we are academically but rather how smart we are emotionally. There is a very simple test to discover your level of emotional intelligence. It is to answer one question, “How easily do you get angry?” Let’s discuss it.
I have found that a person’s anger level is directly related to their emotional intelligence. Your emotional intelligence is probably fairly low if you are easily upset and angered by the smallest things. On the other hand, if you are able to evaluate situations and respond appropriately rather than react inappropriately, your emotional intelligence is probably high. If it is easy for you to get angry, then it reveals a lack of stability on your part to calmly and rationally think things through. Not every issue or problem needs to be handled with anger or frustration. Further information or personal evaluation will often help you see a situation more clearly. Maybe a story will help.
Years ago, I had a friend who was a pastor. He was a very wise man and had a high emotional intelligence level. His first response to any problem was to look further into the situation to gain a better understanding or perspective to know the proper response.
His church supported many missionaries. At one of the board meetings, someone said he had heard that one of the missionaries had recently bought a Cadillac. The individual who brought it up seemed to be very angry that the missionary would take the church’s support to buy such an expensive car. He did not mind the missionary having a vehicle, but he just felt like it was inappropriate to buy a Cadillac. The pastor did not react but responded, “That does not sound like this missionary friend we are supporting. I will look into it a little more closely and get back to you. Before we cut off his support, why not let me do further investigation?” In other words, the pastor handled the situation in a calm manner, and he did not react. He simply asked a question that gave everyone some time to think. That demonstrated he had a high level of emotional intelligence.
The next day, he called his missionary friend, who was overseas and talked to him. As it turned out, there had been a miscommunication. The missionary had had some difficulty with his eyesight and had to have a cataract removed from one of his eyes. I will never forget the pastor saying, “There is a big difference between a Cadillac and a cataract!”
That is a simple story, but I have never forgotten it. The reason it means so much to me is because I want to be like that wise pastor who did not react because of the first news he heard but rather followed through and did a little further investigation before he made his decision on how to respond. I think the biggest mistake the average human being makes is reacting to a situation when we do not have all the facts. It is much better to respond to a situation after we have taken the time to do some research. It takes a little more time, effort, and energy, but it is well worth it.
Ask yourself a question, “Am I easily angered?” Or, “Am I a reactionary person?” If you are, it may be a direct result of your emotional intelligence level. You may read this Tip and say, “Well, I believe I have high emotional intelligence! I am a calm, rational, thoughtful, easy-going person.” And that may be true. However, you may want to ask some of those around you how they see you and your emotional intelligence. If you do not see things honestly, then there is no real way you can grow in this area of life.
One last thought: I have noticed that the people who are closest to me seem to be able to “push my buttons” easier than total strangers. If I have a misunderstanding with the guy at the local gas station, it is no big deal. But, when I have a harsh situation with one of my co-workers or family members, it seems to affect me emotionally in a deeper way. Therefore, I must be on my toes to exercise extra emotional intelligence around people who are closer to me. I work diligently to stay calm in every situation because I do not want my blood pressure to go up or have a heart attack unnecessarily. Most of the time, a little further investigation will offer a simple solution to whatever challenge I might be facing. Besides, my mother always told me, “Don’t be the north end of a southbound mule!”
I believe our emotional intelligence can rise higher each day if we practice keeping our anger level down. It is well worth the effort to do so.
Tip: You can measure your emotional intelligence.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm