“For every gain there is a sacrifice.”
There’s no doubt about it. Living in the digital age has allowed us many advantages and conveniences not afforded to previous generations.
With a click of a computer mouse, we can pay our bills, “shop until we drop,” connect with someone from Timbuktu, or even “date” from the comforts of our own living room.
Computers, smart phones, and modern apps enable us to do more, save time and increase our efficiency levels. But don’t break out the champagne just yet. There’s a downside here too.
Today’s technology has, on many levels, contributed to poor communications skills, eroding manners and civility, and now amplifies the voices of bullies who too often do irreparable damage by posting comments online anonymously in public forums.
We’ve seen examples of the detrimental effects of technology played out many times in the news with celebrities and other career professionals. Remember Roseanne Barr’s thoughtless Tweet that ended up costing her a weekly sitcom and millions of dollars as well? Or President Trump’s many controversial social media postings.
This is why emotional intelligence becomes increasingly important in this technological age. Those who seek to possess it can expect to enjoy greater peace and progress in their personal and professional relationships.
GETTING “SMART” ABOUT EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Emotional Intelligence is not the same as being book smart or a technical whiz, or possessing business savvy. In fact, a person can be a genius intellectually and, well…be an emotional moron. It’s more about how we deal with others and recognizing how what we do and say impacts the next person.
The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines it as “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
I like to think of emotional intelligence as “smarts” in matters of the heart.
As a point of reference here, we’ve all met someone who was “smart as a whip” but lacked certain social graces or was “clueless” when it came to understanding how his words or behavior impacted others.
You know: the scholarly neighbor who bombs out at cocktail parties due to inappropriate jokes told in poor taste.
Or the successful business executive who publicly scolds his restaurant waiter for his wrong order.
Or the cowardly guy who thinks it’s okay to end a long-term relationship with his girlfriend via text message. LOL.
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WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE MATTERS…
Despite all the advantages technology brings, it has also made it all too easy to let out the “road rage” on the “information highway.”
Emotional Intelligence, therefore serves as an important footstool to elevate our social standing and enhance our personal and professional relationships.
It will help you think before you speak in online forums.
It will help you possess the maturity and emotional intelligence to know how to filter; to demonstrate proper discernment; and observe respectful boundaries.
You don’t need to say exactly what you feel in the heat of the moment, an unfortunate behavior the internet has amplified
Saying anything that comes to mind can cause irreparable damage to our relationships and professional life.
Even the Good Book tells us “the power of life and death is in the tongue.”
Word to the wise: there’s a difference between being blunt and being ignorant and hurtful.
Remember, although we are privileged to live in a country that enjoys freedom of speech as a basic right, freedom ain’t always “free.”
Can you bear the cost?
This is a good reminder that the virtue of emotional intelligence applies on the internet the same way they apply in person. It’s pretty shallow in terms of its scope of analysis, but since the word count is meant to be low, it serves as an introduction to the ideas rather than an in-depth discussion.
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, student of life, columnist and chocolate enthusiast.
She has published 800+ articles, essays, columns and commentary pieces online and in print publications.
She resides in Illinois.