How To Use The Power Of Emotional Intelligence

The Meditation Pond

Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan, also called Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow,” is a big believer in the power of emotional intelligence. His Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program focuses on mindfulness emotional intelligence training—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills—with a focus on meditation in order to simply be in the present moment. According to Tan, “everybody already knows, emotional intelligence is good for my career, it’s good for my team, it’s good for my profits. It comes pre-marketed, so all I had to do is create a curriculum for emotional intelligence that helps people succeed, with goodness and world-peace as the unavoidable side-effects.”

Here are five ways to reap in the benefits of cultivating emotional intelligence.

Meditate. According to Tan, it’s all about training attention, self-awareness, and social intelligence through meditation. He compares meditation to physical fitness by calling it “mental fitness,” and says, “there are some things in life where if you improve one thing, everything else in life is improved… If you improve physical fitness, it improves your home life, success, wellness, everything. The same is true for meditation, because meditation is in fact mental and emotional fitness. If you are fit mentally and emotionally, every aspect of your life improves.” Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can improve memory, attention, emotional states, and cognitive processing.

Cultivate compassion. Meditation also helps to cultivate compassion—and according to a study at Harvard—people who did eight weeks of meditation were more likely to help those in need. According to Tan, mindfulness can help to first improve self-compassion, followed by compassion for others. He also suggests that this kindness expands to the workplace by boosting a “business’s creative output and bottom line.”

Mindful observance. Simply having awareness of the mind and body can help to create inner joy, according to Tan. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical sensations, and disease—they all matter. “If you start from mindfulness, the first thing you get is inner peace,” Tan says. “Then you add on other practices like observing wellness in the body, you also get inner joy. Take that inner joy and add on other practices, and you will get kindness and compassion.”

Mindfulness habits. Habits are important, and according to Tan, happiness is a habit created through developing your daily practice. “To create sustainable compassion, you have to be strong in inner joy,” he says. “Inner joy comes from inner peace—otherwise it’s not sustainable. And inner peace is highly trainable.” Daily meditation can help, whether it’s through a long walk, yoga, or sitting down on a soft surface. “Habits are highly trainable,” says Tan. “And habits become character.”


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Image Credit: The Meditation Pond by bob in swamp, used under a creative commons license.

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