Us and Them: Two Sides of Emotional Intelligence


Are there any Pink Floyd fans out there?

I was recently working with a client on the five foundations of emotional intelligence and realized the Pink Floyd song “Us and Them” might be a great way to look at it. In fact, once you have read this article, you might want to go and enjoy the song. I will put a link at the bottom.

To connect with others meaningfully, we first have to connect with ourselves because if you can’t understand yourself, then you certainly can’t understand others.

Emotional intelligence is built on five foundations, as proposed by Daniel Goleman. What is cool is that you can see how each one naturally stands on the shoulders of the previous. So, the first three are about “Us” (yourself), and the last two are about “Them” (others).

Self-awareness is the opening verse. It is the ability to recognize and understand our emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and values. Think of it as the tuner of our inner radio – aligning us with our own experience. An actionable tip to enhance self-awareness is to practice mindfulness. Spend a few minutes each day in quiet contemplation, focusing on your thoughts and feelings.

Self-regulation follows, like the rhythm section. It is the capacity to manage our emotional responses and impulses, especially in challenging situations. It is about reflecting on our inner turbulence when we are triggered instead of impulsively reacting. Try techniques such as deep breathing or counting to ten when you feel triggered to enhance self-regulation. This pause can give you the space to respond more thoughtfully.

Motivation is the chorus, driving the song forward. It is our ability to harness emotions to achieve personal and professional goals and maintain enthusiasm and persistence in the face of obstacles. Boost your motivation by setting clear, achievable goals and tracking your progress. Celebrate small victories along the way to keep your momentum.

These first three were all about us, but now we transition to "Them."

Empathy is the harmonizing melody. Empathy is our ability to understand and share the feelings and perspectives of others and show genuine concern for their well-being. It is like the harmonizing melody in a song, complementing and enriching the overall composition. Improve empathy by actively listening to others and trying to understand their perspective. Practice putting yourself in their shoes.

Finally, we have social skills, the finishing touch that brings the whole song together. It is about building and maintaining positive relationships, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. In essence, having a positive and healthy relationship with the world around us. To enhance your social skills, seek feedback from your peers, engage in team-building activities, and practice active listening and clear, respectful communication.

As Pink Floyd said, “Remember when you were young? You shone like the Sun.” These five foundations of emotional intelligence represent humanity at its best, and it’s never too late to get good at them. It only makes business, life, and relationships better for you and everyone around you. Shine on, you crazy diamond!

Pink Floyd's Us and Them: here


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