Self-awareness is the bedrock of emotional intelligence, and mindfulness practices improve our self-awareness.
Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor.
His book Man’s Search for Meaning chronicled some of his experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. It is an extraordinary book. Frankl reflects on the idea that everything can be taken away from a man except for one thing; the last of human freedoms, he writes, is the ability to choose one’s attitude in any situation. The following quote is attributed to him:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response, and in our response lies our growth and our freedom”.
Increasing the space between stimulus and response is an exercise of emotional intelligence, a concept that surfaced over 40 years after Man’s Search for Meaning was first published.
At work, one example of a stimulus might be an angry email from a client, or a mistake on the part of a colleague. How do we respond to those?
Emotionally intelligent professionals practice increasing the space between stimulus and response so that their actions can align with their higher goals, purpose and values, and so that their teams can be healthy and successful.
The following will outline what emotional intelligence, or EI, is, and the powerful role that mindfulness plays in it.