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How is Emotional Intelligence Like a GPS?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023


From the moment you awake each morning until the moment you close your eyes to sleep each night, you are busy navigating situations and decisions that make up your day. Many of the decisions you make will be largely automatic—showering and brushing your teeth, commuting to work, and taking a lunch break as examples. Those are easy decisions and may not involve your emotions much at all.


Another set of decisions calls for a bit more thought and may evoke a variety of emotions. Will you have the fruit cup or the donut for breakfast? Will you climb the stairs or take the elevator? What task on your to-do list will you tackle first? You may feel the stirring of some emotions as these decisions come up.


And then there are the decisions that take more mental energy—those that involve overcoming challenges and issues that arise as you interact with people throughout the day. For these decisions, your emotions will be called into play. How can I give constructive feedback to an employee who has been performing poorly? How can I best support my spouse/partner in seeking a new job? How will I talk to my son about his math grade? How will I support a friend who is suffering from depression? These are decisions that call for Emotional Intelligence.


The skills of Emotional Intelligence can help you navigate the challenges and interactions of your day. For those of you who like a metaphor or an analogy to help you understand and remember an abstract concept, the GPS (global positioning system) has some interesting parallels to Emotional Intelligence. Once a high-tech system for the military and satellites, the GPS is now in common use to help people navigate in the wilderness as well as in cities and small towns all over the globe.


No analogy or metaphor is perfect, but see if this comparison helps you understand the importance of building strong Emotional Intelligence skills:


GPS:

Helps you identify your current position

Emotional Intelligence:

Helps you identify emotions as they arise


GPS:

Prompts you to identify your destination

Emotional Intelligence:

Helps you consider options and decide on the desired outcome in a given situation


GPS:

Recognizes obstacles in the environment or errors on the part of the user.

Emotional Intelligence:

Helps you learn lessons from mistakes or “failure” as you work to resolve an issue


GPS:

Recalculates new routes to your destination without drama, blame, or guilt

Emotional Intelligence:

Helps you quickly get back on a course that will bring satisfaction and success

without drama, blame, or guilt


GPS:

Helps you reach your intended destination despite obstacles, an altered environment,

or errors

Emotional Intelligence:

Helps you to accept the inevitable changes in the environment and to cope with

them with grace and equanimity—and to achieve your desired outcome


Emotional intelligence can serve as your inner GPS helping you navigate through the complex of emotions in yourself and in your daily interactions with family members, friends, colleagues, and customers.


If you are interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence and how you or your team can enhance your skills, I invite you to enroll in the online, anytime, self-study course, Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World. LEARN MORE



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