20 ways to increase your emotional intelligence in Nigeria
There are many definitions that occur to the minds of people when emotional intelligence is being discussed. However, as with all other things there can only be one correct definition that stands as the right one out of the many that have been hitherto put forward. Emotional intelligence can be said to be the ability for a person to have control over his or her emotions, to display empathy and also to handle relationships properly. Emotional intelligence is that quality of a person that allows him or her not only to have self-control, but to also display empathy towards others while at the same time acting in the right way and manner towards all the people that such a person may come in contact. Emotionally intelligent individuals do not display any bias or preference for one set of persons over another, though that may exist; they are always trying to make sure that everybody is attended to and are always calm keeping their feelings about issues and people in check.
According to American Psychologist Daniel Goleman, there exists five key elements of emotional intelligence; all of which shall be discussed serially.
- Self-Awareness: This trait enables the individual to be aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, flaws and tendencies. This allows for the individual to behave with humility due to the fact that such an individual is also aware of the limits to which he or she can act.
- Self-Regulation: This is the fundamental basis of self-control. Individuals who are emotionally intelligent must have some form of this trait. It involves self- restraint when being pushed to an emotional extreme.
- Motivation: Individuals who are emotionally intelligent must have a clear inclination to achieve their personal goals and objectives.
- Empathy: Individuals who are emotionally intelligent must see things from another’s’ perspective. This allow for smoother communication and enables peace building.
- Social skills: This trait is the one skill that allows for individuals to be able to interact successfully with others. Negotiation skills are a core part of social skills.
Emotional intelligence is measured by what is referred to as emotional quotient (EQ). The higher your EQ is, the higher your emotional intelligence. This then brings us to the million naira question: how can a typical Nigerian improve his or her emotional intelligence in a country like ours where everything is upside down? How can this emotional intelligence be used successfully in the workplace and more importantly in the business world so that more profits can accrue to the business owner? Well, the answer is in the next few points that deal exclusively with improving emotional intelligence in Nigeria. They are depicted as follows:
- Always check in on your feelings: This will allow you to be in touch with yourself. Ask yourself the following question: “How do I feel about this situation?” “How do I feel about that person?” This will allow you to listen in to your sub-conscious mind. Especially in a nation like Nigeria where everything is forced and loud and so chaotic that anyone who did not grow up here or who doesn’t have the kind of personality for the kind of ruggedness of life will think that all Nigerians are crazy due to their rough responses!
- Keep a diary: While this may sound a like the hobby of a teenage girl as most Africans in general and Nigerians in particular are trained by culture and parents to be generally rough without regards for the mind as an independent entity of its own, keeping a diary helps to train the mind to remember events and things. Keeping a diary also increases self-awareness. Write the events that occurred in your day? How did it make you feel? What mistakes did you make? What are you going to do differently?
- Keep to a schedule and be organized: being organized enables you to be effective at whatsoever it is that you do. This effectiveness also leads to better self-confidence and improvements in social interactions which again is critical for relationships. Although the jungle atmosphere of Nigeria may not allow for strict observance to a schedule, having a loosely organized day is much better than having a scattered day. Set appointments with yourself and keep to them. Always check in on yourself and ask yourself; “How far with me right now?” “Am I okay”? “No problems with me?”
- Feed well: While this may sound out of place, good feeding habits do have an effect on your overall demeanor and mental state. Eating well puts you in a position that allows for a balanced emotional state of being.
- Control your temper, don’t lose it: This particular point will be especially hard to do in Nigeria. From the nastiness of traffic, to the general lousiness of certain people who woke up on the wrong side of the bed, to the lack of power to charge devices and the general bad attitude of politicians or the bad economy, tempers just generally flare in around this country. It is your greatest responsibility NOT to lose your temper. No matter what. This will give you a sense of clarity and a whole new level of respect by others as well.
- Engage with people and events: This is the most effective way of showing interest and also in being interesting. Engagement naturally arouses the interest of the mind. This in turn allows for the situation to have some sort of color which you can bring to the situation.
- Learn continuously: if you shut your mind to new possibilities that may exist within a specific situation, problem or event, you may not be able to teach someone else about the same issue at some other point further down the line. Learning is another activity that increases emotional quotient to higher levels than normal. This is because true learning involves emotion and as such the emotional quotient rises when you’re learning!
- Try to meet new people: This may sound strange, but the ability of the human mind to be curious is usually at work when we meet with new people. This also increases our ability for social interaction and shows how far we are willing to give people the required empathy that they need in their lives as well.
- Travel: Once in a while, get on a train, a plane, a bus you know and just go somewhere that you have never been before. Travelling will allow you to see another part of the human existence that you never knew was there in the first place. This allows you to be a better person and you will also learn to appreciate other peoples’ cultures and lifestyles.
- Avoid complaints and complainers: Have you ever noticed some people who can never have a good day? Those people always have one thing or the other that has not gone down the way they wanted it to. Avoid such people at all costs. They will drag you down into their mindset and way of thinking and you will no longer be able to display empathy towards others. Also avoid complaints. This is because the glass in life can either be half full or half empty. Bad things happen to everyone once in a while. But it is how such events are handled that counts. Not how they occur.
- Follow your guts and instincts, avoid peer pressure: Mental and ideological independence without pride or arrogance is an indication that an individual is emotionally intelligent. Don’t follow the crowd. Especially when the crowd does not make sense. That independence will allow for a mind that can think critically and yet be objective.
- Take a break from social media from time to time: In a world where we have all become insulated from the natural world and the virtual world has taken center stage, taking a break from anything electronic can be one very effective way to recharge our batteries and be in touch once again with nature and with people. This will also increase your affinity for natural human interaction.
- Try and help, also request for help: Whenever and wherever possible, make sure that you request for and get help. This is because we live in an interdependent world (no one is truly independent). This interdependence is what allows for the human experience to be collective, rather than individualistic as most people would expect. Giving and getting help is something that would keep your empathy alive. Make sure that all your efforts in giving and getting help are genuine because people can spot falsehood of that sort from a mile away and that will damage your credibility more than any other sort of fraud. Giving and getting help also enhances your humanity. You will see the needs that others have without realizing that such have been there all along.
- Stand and stretch: Whenever you’re busy and you’re feeling down, stand and stretch. This will give a short boost to your motivation and lighten your mood. This alternating of work and play will also create a more balanced perspective and help you avoid burnout.
Improving Emotional intelligence is a very broad set of activities that one would have to continue doing for the rest of ones’ natural life. Being emotionally intelligent is something that anyone can achieve. It’s just basic common sense. Try it and see the world from colored lens! So, what ways are you improving your emotional intelligence in Nigeria?