We wouldn’t dream of arriving at the airport for a flight without our ID. Or a Bears home game in December without a hat and gloves. And we surely wouldn’t head out for a 3-hour hike without packing water, something to munch on, and doing at least some light stretching. Personally, I wouldn’t think of pulling out of my driveway with out buckling up.
We do these basic things, and countless others, as a sort of preparation for what we know lies ahead. Each of us, at least to some extent, can imagine the future, determine what’s required, and prepare accordingly. Some of us may visualize mere hours or days ahead, while many will look weeks, months or several years into the future. And, based on what we see, we all do some sort of preparation. We ready ourselves for what we expect to encounter.
But how many of us dedicate this same preparation when it comes to our emotions? How many of us actually plan ahead, so as to avoid being caught off guard emotionally? Too few, it would seem. And me, too.
As Chet writes in today’s BBTL book entry, “Building our emotional intelligence means growing our capacity to think before we act.” You see, rather than spontaneously reacting to a situation, sudden event, or comment by another, we actually have the ability, thus the option, to “grow our capacity” (i.e. prepare) for these inevitable occurrences. And while we may not be able to predict the exact time and place our emotions will be triggered, you can be sure they will.
Chet offers some CCD advice to build our emotional intelligence skills. Here they are in a nutshell:
- Build emotional self-awareness – learn your body signals
- Know your triggers – specific people and circumstances
- Control your anger with productive ways to release the steam
- Care deeply – the most prized emotion of all is caring
This is far easier said than done — most things worth doing are. But think back on a time when you said or did something you deeply regret, because your rational brain was hijacked and your emotions were caught off guard.
What would you have done differently?
How could you have anticipated the situation?
How could you have pre-loaded a better response?
How can you pre-load now for the next time?