Emotional Intelligence

I was just pacing off some energy before the next four-hour plane ride in the area in front of Gate A24 in Newark. Then I noticed loud voices very close to me. They were not saying kind things.

A belligerent middle-aged guy wearing a cowboy hat had accosted a younger guy. Seems that the older guy was just wandering, weaving as he walked and the younger guy was rushing to what he thought would be a close call to make his flight. I take it he said something about getting out of my way. (But, it’s Newark, flight was delayed 35 minutes.)

As it happened, I was directly behind the cowboy. I am not trained or knowledgeable about martial arts. I had these thoughts about how I could grab his arm if he decided to swing. The younger guy just kept saying, I was just trying to get past you, why don’t you just go get on your plane.

Emotional Intelligence

I had just been looking over some old notes and saw my notes from the book “Emotional Intelligence,” by Lennick & Kiel. The first two steps toward gaining emotional intelligence are:

  • Knowing one’s emotions
  • Managing emotions

These are much harder to do than to read–and even to understand. Can you feel it when your temperature starts to rise? Do you know your various emotions and how they affect you? Sometimes make you angry. Sometimes depressed.

The second step goes beyond recognizing. It’s acting. I can still remember, to my great embarrassment, the last time I exploded. Almost 10 years ago. But I knew how I react when I’m threatened. Especially by super aggressive people. I knew the emotion. I was unable to manage the emotion.

I’m glad the cowboy picked up his things and wandered away. The other guy and his friend were like “what the heck just happened?” I was relieved that there was no physical altercation.

But I thought, airports can be a stressful environment. When you bring baggage of not the “roll-aboard” kind, you can spread unpleasantness.

Or, you could smile.

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