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Emotional Intelligence - Needed Now More Than Ever Before

May 09, 2022

Emotional Intelligence: Needed More Today Than Ever Before

Written by Ronnie Cunningham, EIQ2-EICenter

COVID-19 has had a far greater impact on individuals, families, communities, nations, and the world than most know or can even imagine. Life in the 21st century is challenging to say the least. Prior to the current COVID era in which we live, references have been made to living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world. The negative impact of widespread poverty, oppression, divisiveness, greed, pride, racism, and hatred impact us emotionally whether we acknowledge it or not, has taken and continues to take a toll on us.

More attention is now being focused on the mental health aspects of life today probably than ever before. You should wonder why! I am not a doctor, mental health clinician or therapist, but I am a student of life, who is witnessing (granted it may be on a superficial level) the toll the pandemic has had and is still having on individual, families, communities, nations, and the world. Social isolation, major disruption of our pre-pandemic normal, have impacted people in ways most do not even remotely understand. Too many are hoping to get back to the “normal” life they once knew.

The New Reality  

The normal, the world’s people knew prior to COVID, is gone and is gone forever. Everyone must develop new skill sets to move ahead and create a “new normal,” or as my colleague, Robert Jerus refers to it as “a beyond and better normal.” The current generation of those living today have never experienced anything on such a magnitude and the world has never gained the level of situational awareness, to respond properly to COVID, the impact has been devastating.

As with adversity, disaster and catastrophe reveal inherence weaknesses and vulnerabilities to our systems, mindsets, and sense of security. Areas of weakness in these critical areas cause heighten levels of stress, most of which is unhealthy. Prolonged exposure to unhealthy stress takes a toll on human life that will prove incalculable for years to come. While it may be easier to access and calculate the damage in terms number of cases, lives lost, hospitalizations, the psychological or emotional toll can only be estimated and think the best estimations will far drastically short.

No matter the age of a person living today, they have been impacted psychologically and emotionally, again whether it is acknowledged or not. The loss of life and the prolonged nature of the battle against the pandemic has been so extensive that it is virtually impossible not to have been impacted in negative ways.

Combined Impacts of Adversity and Negativity

 When we consider the combined impact of COVID-19 and its many variants, widespread racism, hatred, poverty, oppression, greed, power, natural disaster/catastrophe, climate change, rapid advances in technology, and political divisiveness, and more, today we live in a 10- X VUCA world. Life has become exponentially more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, and this is only the beginning. One of the only constants of life, is change and its rate is increasing as you read this. Change brings with it a need to adapt. People must learn to adapt, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. Some people do well in adapting to changes forced upon them, but most people do not and resist. To survive and thrive in the 21stcentury learning to adapt gives one an advantage over those who do not.

According to Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley, “You may be adjusting now but buckle up; the slowest rate of change you will feel for the rest of your life is right now!” Just as the tragic events of September 11, 2001, forced changes in security and air travel that have impact on everyone who travels, COVID will leave lasting impacts to which we must adapt.

Emotional Intelligence Benefits

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is an area that should be included in lifelong learning for everyone. EI gives us skills that we can apply in life every single day. When we become aware of our feelings and emotions, we better understanding our feelings and emotions as well as those of others. EI helps us adapt to change, develop resiliency skills, develop empathy skills which helps us connect, communicate better, and collaborate with others. Increasing EI allows us to improve the decisions we make, our quality of life and relationships. These are a few of the benefits of learning, mastering, and applying EI skills throughout life. It is for this reason; we believe EI is something everyone needs – more today than ever before.

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