Monday, October 24, 2011

Emotional Intelligence: How SMART are you behaving?

The other day I was preparing to teach a class on Conflict Resolution, and as I scanned my notes before start time I had an interesting revelation regarding Emotional Intelligence. If you don’t know, emotional intelligence is the learned ability and capacity to understand and manage your emotions.  It also means having a good perception and understanding of the emotions of others. That morning it occurred to me that the whole world would be a much different place if we were truly able to master the concepts that emotional intelligence theory suggests.
Behavioral scientists tell us that it is no easy matter to stay in control of our emotions.  It takes work to get in touch with yourself that deeply.  It takes practice, especially for those emotions that don’t seem controllable. It takes a high level of proactive forethought to manage the outlandish range of furor we experience on any given day and at any given moment. We tend react without thinking so much of the time. We respond to people and situations without first stopping to analyze our actions and words. We do and say stuff in response to life, circumstances and situations that fall way short of what could be called emotionally intelligent. However, the good news is that we can learn how, and we can learn now.
Why is emotional intelligence important? Well, consider a few scenarios I’ll describe for you. The other day I saw a man inside the Target store call his wife “stupid” several times. “That was stupid. You’re stupid. You are SO STUPID.”  His wife hung her head slightly, offering some excuses for her “stupidity”. I kept looking on.  I had a surprised and displeased expression on my face and said to myself, “NO HE DIDN’T.  He did not just call her stupid out in front of all these people.” But, yes, he really did. In my opinion, there was no consideration for her feelings, or the fact that they were out in public and everything he was saying could be overheard. I felt her hurt and embarrassment.
On another day inside Walgreen’s, a woman totally lost her cool while talking on her cell phone. She was yelling at someone on the other end, using curse words that I had never even heard before. She walked around for several minutes picking up items, while still raging wildly. She even stood in line still crazed and cussing. She barely paused from her tirade to search for her wallet and pay for the items she was purchasing. She left so emotionally charged up that it was scary. When I walked out, I saw that her car was close by the entrance and she was inside gesturing wildly and still screaming obscenities. WHEW!
Sometime ago I was at the post office standing at one of the counter tables working on a mailing project. It was around seven o’clock in the evening in late November, so it was already dark outside. A man came inside with a little boy who looked to be around six or seven years old. The man walked with a limp, almost dragging one leg in a slow, but even stride. He had a stack of mail in his hand. The little boy seem so excited to be with his Daddy, and was  jumping up and down and skipping around like kids do. I smiled when I heard him say, “Daddy, can I put the mail in?” He was now jumping up and down in place as he made the request. His Dad gave him an interesting look of disregard, and put the mail in the drop box himself. The son offered up a quick pout, and a few words of disappointment, and said “You said I could do it.”
I was still smiling as I looked on, but within a split second I saw this man ball up his fist and hit his son square in the face, hard, knocking him to the floor. The little boy shimmied fast away from his father, scooting backwards along the floor. The man moved as fast as he could, dragging that bad leg, but nonetheless moving more quickly than the boy. Next came a kick. Then, another kick. The boy got up crying and ran outside to the car. I stood there speechless, and frozen in fear.
It was dark and the parking area was dimly lit, but I watched the man head to the car. It was then that I realized that Mom was in the car, too. As I watched from the doorway, I saw her put her arms around herself in terror. She was frozen with fear, too, and unable to come to the defense of her son. I started crying, but through my tears and shock I was able to see the license plate number. I could not believe what had just happened.  I regret to this day that I wasn’t able to do anything in the moment.
A few short weeks ago, I heard about a conflict situation that had every appearance of becoming very ugly.  This was a professional situation where an individual was planning a physical confrontation against another Individual that could potentially result in a crisis in more ways than one. The anger level in this person was all self-escalated, a situation where his own self-talk had sent him into an emotional place that had him believing  that he had to defend himself against “something” the other man was going to do to him. It was all a matter of poor, irrational perception, not reality at all. All of it was made up in his own mind. The other individual was not instigating any threats against his accuser, and he had no idea that his very life could be in danger at the time. This is sad, but true.
Well, I think you get the point. These scenarios are irrational. They lack emotional control. They lack emotional intelligence.
Of course, not all encounters are so escalated and violent, but they can be just as damaging nonetheless, to ourselves and others. Everyday incidences cause us to lose our tempers, get frayed, irritated, and come apart at the seams. We get pressed for time. Traffic is congested. Work deadlines are pending. The kids are acting crazy. People strain our nerves. Arguments arise. Things don’t go as planned. Misfortunes occur. We get bad news. We feel that we are at the end of our rope. The pent up emotions rise up into actions and before we know it, we’ve said or done something that could have been handled totally different if we had not lost our head.
For the good and bad of it, it is apparent that we are highly emotional beings. It’s in our makeup. Fortunately, most of us are rational in our thinking and doing on a daily basis. We’re not walking around trying to create drama or devising ways harm someone.  Unfortunately, some people are not as capable of controlling their emotions, and that’s when anything and everything can happen from the outrageous to the unbelievable.
Can these individuals win the emotional war against themselves? The answer is yes.  They can learn to think and react in much smarter ways. Using emotional intelligence is so necessary for our lives, relationships, peace of mind and overall happiness. When we use emotional intelligence, we create harmony. We show regard and respect for others. We love out loud instead. We are easier to live with. It’s easier to live inside our own heads as well.
It takes work, but here are a few ideas that can help us start reacting S.M.A.R.T. now:
S: STOP and START. Yes, just stop it. STOP screaming at people. STOP being angry at everything. STOP abasing everybody and cursing life. STOP harming yourself and other people. TELL YOURSELF TO STOP. Get counseling if you need it, but just STOP IT. START “STOPPING” NOW. Life will feel better sooner than you can imagine. You will, too.
M: MANAGE your attitude and emotions. Choose kinder words. Use them on yourself first. Instead of telling yourself all of the reasons that validate bad behavior, tell yourself, “If I’m kinder, people will be kinder to me. If I treat others well, I will feel good about myself. If I show love, I’ll feel the love in return.” Compliment instead of condemning. Show affection instead of anger. Have more faith and less fear. Be understanding instead of uncontrollable. Pull your own leash whenever you have to.
A: ADD positive things to your life. There are a gazillion books available on managing anger and irrational behavior. There are groups that meet frequently at hospitals and clinics to discuss difficult issues if that’s your challenge. There are therapies that can address what you are feeling. Find positive solutions that will help you get yourself and emotions under control. Don’t be willing to trade a lifetime of happiness for something you can decide you’ll change. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSES.
R: REALIZE that you were not born that way. That behavior is a CONDITIONED RESPONSE, which means your angry words, your irrational thinking and your angry reactions are more than likely learned behaviors due to your environment and people who handled you that way. YOU CAN UNLEARN IT.
T: THINK. THINK. THINK. THINK. THINK. THINK. THINK FIRST. THINK MORE. THINK LONGER. THINK and then SPEAK. THINK and then RESPOND. THINK and then DO SOMETHING. THINK and then REACT. THINK and then WALK AWAY. THINK and then CALM DOWN. THINK and then UNDERSTAND. THINK and then SAY TO YOURSELF, “I AM EMTIONALLY INTELLIGENT.”  It’s an age-old concept. USE IT. STOP AND THINK before you open your mouth or before you come out swinging. THINK!
You can start today. You can start right now.  Get control of your emotions and get control of your life. You don’t have to be a condemner of others, or someone who rages out of control, or a person who hurts and harms others. Instead, be SMART. Be smart enough to choose a better and brighter path to wonderful and successful interactions with everyone around you. Don’t hesitate to take this important step toward a happier and healthier life for yourself. You’ll feel so proud when everybody sees your intelligence is showing. You’ll also be a part of a wonderful, changing world – yours.

Silver authors all of the articles at, and also positive quotes at . She has also self-published two downloadable books, an audio e-book entitled “Colored People” and “Talk Productive: A Guide for Speaking Excellence”. For additional information, visit .

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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Are You Concerned About The Size of Your "P-Ness"?

O.K., now that I have your attention, let me make this disclaimer: "P-Ness" is not meant to be gender specific or sexually defining in any way. Any such perception in incorrect. It's just a play on words to make a point.

Anyway, in this case, here's a working definition for you: the "P-Ness" I'm referring to is "an individual's personal or professional POWER, perceived, earned or otherwise."


People want power, or at least, to feel powerful. We desire positions of respect and achievement and of course, it's healthy to feel that. We want to feel that we have accomplished something in life, or feel that we've made an impact in the world or to others around us. That's well-rounded thinking, too. Those things heighten our sense of having personal and professional power, and having that power is a good thing when you understand how to utilize it. However, sometimes strange things can happen when we get it. Even stranger things can happen when you don't. And, it gets really bizarre when you're about to lose it.

Consider a few scenarios, like Charlie Sheen, for instance. Sadly, Charlie thinks of his "P-ness " as really big, bigger than the people who made him powerful. But, you know what they say, the bigger they are...

And, what about these foreign leaders? Apparently the size of their "P-ness" has gone to their heads. Their egos far outweigh any sensible measure of what power really means and how it should be used. Enough already. Even as I write this, CNN is reporting "HEADLINE NEWS: Gudhafi Clings to Power." Still clinging...geeeeeez. Let it go already.

Then you have the old "perception is reality" theory. There are all manner of crooks who feel the need to show their "P-ness" to the world. They break the laws, steal money, identities, live fake, luxurious existences just to "appear" powerful. It's crazy, I say. Just plain crazy. I think most of could say that we really don't care how big their yachts are.

Yes, when the desire for power is unhealthy, it's crazy. Thank God that most of us are not like the guys I mentioned, but the real deal is that the tendency to measure your power, or "P-ness" against others is everywhere. We need to feel important, valued and significant, but things happen like losing jobs, businesses, relationships, money and suddenly we can feel zapped of our power.

When these things occur, they cause us to feel "less than". We feel "less than" other people, "less than" our neighbor, "less than" that successful person we saw on TV. We feel we've become "less than" we had hoped we would become. We think we've achieved "less than" other persons we know of personally and professionally. Based on those comparisons, we determine whether we, ourselves, are powerful people or not.

Those summations about ourselves can be a very bad thing. We certainly recognize success when we see it, but a true measure of success can also be only relative to our very own circumstances. For some, if you made it out of difficult circumstances and survived, got a good education and a good paying job, that's success. For others, if your small business made it to Wall Street, that's success. There are many great examples of how to measure success, depending on who you are and where you came from.

When we make inaccurate comparisons consciously and unconsciously, those wrong summations can stir anger, envy and distorted feelings within us. It disturbs us when we feel "inadequate", especially if we think we could've, would've and should've been more powerful than the other person.

The truth of the matter is that other people are constantly out-performing each other in some way or another. Some people have higher IQ's, are more gifted and simply more tenacious than others, and that's O.K. This doesn't mean that we can't get what those optimum performers get out of life. It's HOW YOU USE the power YOU possess for your greater good, and maybe at the same time for the greater good of others, too, that matters most. All of us will go about getting to our greatness-es differently. That's the beauty of personal power when it is measured in a healthy way. When it isn't, though, look out. It's a beast. When those perspectives of someone else being "more than me" infiltrate our rational thinking, it means trouble. It can feel ugly. It can also act ugly.

For instance, what about all of the Presidential bashing that goes on? It's ways are so brutal. I understand that all Presidents are targets of this kind of "professional bullying". I know that it's a part of the whole political game that allows hitting below the belt, but I'm still amazed at the number of "hopefuls" and media "opinionists" and other critics that have such venomous things to say about President Obama. Do you suppose that maybe it's envy of the strange and worst kind manifesting itself?

One day Obama is just a "somebody", wanting to make a difference, and then he's POTUS. It seemed to happen lightning fast, and if you happen to be of "those" with such huge aspirations as that, you may be wondering how he was smart enough to do it. It was almost magical, and, perhaps, that has been the problem with the pondering critics asking, how did he do that right before our very eyes? There were no tricks, however. No optical illusion here, but much like magic, it was quick. We blinked, and he became President.

Yes, it was achieved with the kind of quickness that might leave you feeling a bit "less than", or questioning yourself, your intentions, your abilities, and the size of your "P-Ness", and, again, much like magic, it has you still trying to figure out how he did it. My suggestion is just don't make a comparison here.

Really? Consider the other sneaky, little ways in which the desire for power shows up in our everyday lives. Have you experienced someone who just has to out-do you? Or, when a person feels the need to cut in front of you in traffic? Or, when someone turns their nose up at you, and you have no idea why? Or, someone at work needs to get the credit for your hard work? Or, when people are jealous about your car, your house, your clothes, your career, your life? The list goes on. It's crazy, but it's real. They get upset if the size of our power seems greater than theirs, be it real or imagined.

So, what's my point? As I said, POWER can be a STRANGE THING. We have to deal with the fact that some people know how to get things done in truly amazing ways, more so than others. Some individuals are formidable, powerful forces to be reckoned with. Others walk softly, and carry a big, equally powerful but quiet personal confidence into their tasks. Others get there by "staying the course", no bells or whistles, no need for attention. It's still power. WE ALL HAVE IT IN VARYING DEGREES.

At the end of the day, what does it all mean? For people like Charlie Sheen, those egotistical leaders, all of the crazy crooks, critics, and the people that think it's really cool and powerful to cut us off in traffic, it means this, ladies and gentlemen: some people will have a bigger "P-Ness" than others. It doesn't pay to be mad, bashing or among the "haters" because your "P-ness" is small, or if it appears that you have no "P-ness" at all.

I'm just sayin'...try not to be overly concerned. Use THE POWER YOU HAVE in better and greater ways, because YOU CAN.


Thursday, January 6, 2011



Yesterday I heard the news about Ted Williams' incredible turn of events. Word of "the man with the golden voice" traveled around the world faster than most news does. Like the majority of folks, I was in awe, but not the kind that at first response was elation for this man who I know in my heart is deserving of another chance. My brows furrowed and my head filled with questions: He used to do what? He was where? He is on national TV? He has had millions of hits on YouTube? My first thought was that the employment search strategy has taken a pretty interesting and incredible turn, too. I think Mr. Williams has just shown the world that "the new resume" is sweet, short and simple. Folks, take notice.

When I watched him this morning talking about his ups and downs, by the time he was finishing up the interview, I was so choked up that I could barely speak. Even so, I have to admit that my mind kept revisiting the thought that there obviously must be something going on out there in the world of job hunting that is much more effective and provocative than a "conventional little old resume". I say this tongue-in-cheek, but you know what I mean. People try to create and pay good money to prepare the kind of resume information that will "glow in the dark", one with terrific information, showcasing sterling talent and boasting of wonderful, credible personal and professional references. I know. I've had my feelers out for quite some time trying to land myself in the spotlight with a grand step into television, believing that I had something special to give to the lives of viewers and listeners all over the world. Gee Whiz. Ted Williams let me know that I've been doing it all wrong.

Trust me, I am truly considering now "the new resume", the kind that really gets the attention I deserve. No more great cover letters. No more talent resumes. No more sending out my talent DVD. I clearly see that I need a BIG SIGN, a really, really, really big sign stating my lofty goals and a major street corner to stand on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm feeling the joy for Ted Williams. I'd like to see every homeless person off the street, and many would be if they were given an opportunity and a jump-start. The great message in all of this is that people are out there who can help, and they do when they pay attention and they realize it. I believe that's what his story is supposed to tell us.

Ted's story is the kind that is meant to inspire all of us, especially to give hope to every individual who thoug
ht that there was little possibility of a good life ahead. His story is supposed to jolt the thinking of anyone who has given up. His story is supposed to show us what mustard seed faith looks like. His story is supposed to tell us to work with what you've got, a black magic marker and a piece of cardboard box if that's all it is. He told his story. It was sweet, short and simple, and he held it up for the world to see.

So, right now I'm working on my new resume and it needs to be done right. I'm trying to decide if I should use the standard brown cardboard box, or a white one. I am wondering if I should write on the smooth side, or if the corrugated side would add more flair. I have all these magic marker colors to choose from, too, and that's just making this such a complicated decision. I've heard that blue is a very effective color for stuff like this, but then again, Ted used black so I will probably go with that. I am also thinking that maybe cursive would be better than just printing my letters. I think my new resume should be something a little more "girly" looking. Of course, I am considering if my font size should be just large or REALLY LARGE. I think I'll go with REALLY, REALLY LARGE. After all, I want the world to see it, and thanks to Ted Williams, I know how to get this done the right way now.

Ted, yo
u've gotten a very special message across in more ways than one and I'm taking notice. I wish you much continued success because, yes, you really do deserve it. You are truly more than just the man with the golden voice, you are the man of the hour. Go, man!

Oh...I forgot to mention that I have my corner picked out, too. I just gotta finish my sign first. I'm just sayin'


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