‘Self-mastery requires self-awareness plus self-regulation’


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Some interesting reading from one of my favorite subjects, emotional intelligence and brain states:

From: The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights (Amazon)

“Self-mastery requires self-awareness plus self-regulation, key components of emotional intelligence. One value of self-mastery is being in the right brain state for the job.

When it comes to personal effectiveness, we need to be in the best internal state for the task at hand, and every internal state has its advantages and downsides. For instance, research shows that the plusses of being in a positive mood are that we’re more creative, we’re better at problem solving, we have better mental flexibility, and we can be more efficient in decision making in many ways.

The negatives, though, include a tendency to be less discriminating in distinguishing weak from strong arguments, or making a decision too quickly, or paying too little attention to detail on a task that demands it.

On the other hand, there are some plusses to being in a sour mood – or at least more somber. These include a greater capacity to pay attention to detail, even in boring tasks – which suggests it’s best to get serious before reading a contract. In a negative mood we’re more skeptical, so, for example, we are less likely to simply rely on the opinions of experts, we ask searching questions, and come to our own conclusions. One theory about the utility of anger is that it mobilizes energy and focuses our attention on removing obstacles that thwart a goal – which can fuel, say, a drive to beat a competitor on the next round who has just won a victory over us (whether that competitor is a school team or another business).

The prime negative of being in a bad mood is, of course, that it’s unpleasant for us and those around us. But there are more subtle costs: At the cognitive level, we’re more pessimistic, and therefore more likely to give up more quickly when things go wrong than if we were in an optimistic state. Bad moods give us a negative bias toward whatever we might be considering, and so put a negative skew on our judgments. And because we’re less pleasant to be around we can be disruptive to the harmony of a team – a cranky team member can lower effectiveness for everyone.”

— Daniel Goleman (The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights (Amazon))



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