Building Emotional Intelligence


On Building Emotional Intelligence

When an aspect of our lives is not going well, we tend to do things such as overthink and overwork, which are counterproductive to our mental wellbeing. Nick Wignall writes, “improving your emotional intelligence is often about what you do less of, not more of.” Here are a few things you should actively do less of to improve your emotional intelligence. 1.  Criticizing others. When things are hard, we tend to blame others. While this is a natural response, we must realize that criticising others will not improve our long-term situation, and we should work on improving ourselves so we can improve the world around us. 2. Worrying about the future. As human beings we crave order and certainty. The pandemic has increased our share of worries. But worrying about the future will not make the future less uncertain. “Worry gives you the illusion of certainty. But in the end, all it does is fragilize you.” So, when you find yourself worrying about the future, try to bring your thoughts back to the present. 3. Ruminating on the past. This is easy to do and we all do it, especially when we feel that we have no control over the future. While it is healthy to learn from past mistakes, it can be unhealthy to fixate your thoughts on past events, however comforting they might feel. Instead, do something useful in the present, such as physical exercise to bring some endorphins to your brain. 4. Maintaining unrealistic expectations. “Unrealistic expectations are a misguided attempt to control other people.” Since we cannot control other people, even our loved ones, projecting expectations onto them often result in disappointment and frustration. Learn to only set goals and expectations for yourself, and simply be present for others in your life. Medium.

On Creating from Trauma

For centuries, people have looked to art and writing to express personal and generational trauma and pain. In this artfully curated piece, ten Black teenagers from around the country showcase their works of poetry, drawing inspiration from recent events. They also discuss their writing process and their hopes for the future. For 18-year-old Leila, “Thinking about the future is terrifying at this moment. I have lots of hopes and lots of dreams, but at this point I am allowing space for the world to change and then all of the things that I think about my future to also change.” Here are a few particularly powerful lines.

By 17-year-old Madison Petaway from Houston. “IV. To be a black girl I’ve heard / Is synonymous with beauty / With magic / But I feel anything but / A throat that spits flames seems more just / Than spitting poems / I say to be a black girl is to bring what you can to the fight / Hand on hip, / Pattin’ weave, / picking’ fro, / Jaw loose. / Is to be a black girl.”

By 18-year-old Samuel Getachew from Oakland. “I tried to write a poem for george. / and breonna. and tony. and elijah. / and none of them made it past a scribble / past a draft /  past the passing thought that i could leave the name and the detail blank / and this would be the same poem / that i’ve been writing since i was fourteen years old.” 

Read the rest at the New York Times.

On Creativity & Learning

I (Victor) recently shared some short reflections about education and how we can foster creativity even during virtual learning. Read The Chubby Kid here.