Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. [NELSON MANDELA]
Resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks and adapt to challenging circumstances. It is required for us to thrive and flourish, and is a foundational psychological tool which empowers us to feel effective and capable of handling uncertainty.
Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
The good news is that, although some people seem to be born with more resilience than others, those whose resilience is lower can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough.
Just recently I came across an article which mentioned that a part of building this resilience involves improving one’s emotional intelligence. The work of Dr. Daniel Goleman has promoted the concept of ‘Emotional Intelligence’, or EQ, as being as important in one’s functioning and relationships as traditional intelligence.
How is this linked to resilience?
Ever since Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence, he has educated millions of people on the importance of this concept. He has discussed emotional intelligence in the context of business; the positive impact that it can have on those in leadership roles; and its importance in education. He believes that emotional intelligence is just as important to teach children as reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Emotional intelligence has the potential to positively impact the success, quality of life, and relationships of individuals as they progress through life. People who understand themselves well, and who understand how to relate to and connect with others, tend to be happier, more self-confident, more productive, and have healthy and rich relationships throughout their lives.
A new perspective
Daniel Goleman provides a new perspective on how emotional intelligence can be a critical factor affecting a person’s resilience during crises. He explains that a person who is self-aware, socially adapted, and empathetic, will be able to survive and thrive on the other side of a life crisis because they have the social and relational skills to be able to handle unexpected and unfortunate circumstances. They know how to advocate for themselves, to problem solve, and to seek support when they need it the most.
In addition, emotionally intelligent individuals know how to provide empathy to those around them who may also be affected by a crisis or dire situation. Being supportive and compassionate to others can have a positive impact on our emotional adjustment – when we feel needed and believe that we can help others, we also become stronger and more resilient.
Why is resilience important?
While the development of social skills is an important piece of emotional intelligence, this is only one aspect of it. Other important components of emotional intelligence include:
- an understanding of self,
- a desire to know and understand others,
- the ability to empathize,
- the motivation to persist and overcome challenges, and
- the ability to regulate and manage one’s emotions.
Goleman speaks of the importance of resilience in living a healthy and happy life. By not allowing circumstances to get the best of us and keep us down, we can rise up above times of trial and believe that we can survive and even thrive because we have endured struggles.
If we believe that we are not broken by circumstances, but rather that the big picture of our life is bigger than our specific circumstances at any given time, we can manage the intensity of our emotions and become more resilient.
I wonder what would happen if we started to promote emotional intelligence as the best way of building resilience? I believe it can be.
In a world where we can never predict when someone will have to endure an unexpected loss or prolonged suffering, emotional intelligence is widely known as the key to resilience. Some of my Six Seconds Colleagues are busy working on an EQ Psychometric to measure resilience, a clear indicator that it is a core skill that is needed.