On Monday, November 13, 2017, speaker Matt Davis came to Belmont to inform students about Emotional Intelligence, or as he likes to call it, "Emotional Fitness." Matt Davis is an entrepreneur himself and founded Grapevine Interactive Technologies.
Emotional Intelligence is defined as "the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include these three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people." (psycologytoday.com).
Davis prefers the term "Emotional Fitness" because instead of thinking that one is simply born with Emotional Intelligence, the term "Emotional Fitness" gives the impression that it is a skill that can be cultivated through practice, which it can be. We can practice "Emotional Fitness" in our day-to-day lives.
One way to cultivate Emotional Fitness, Davis says, is to "Keep your cranes on campus." What this means is that we should keep growing. When cranes are on a college campus, it means that the campus is growing. Take Belmont for example. We have cranes on campus that are building a new housing unit, therefore our campus is growing. We need to take the "cranes on campus" idea and apply it to our minds. By applying it to our minds, we can continue growing as an individual and expanding our knowledge.
Another way to practice Emotional Fitness is by asking Why, or as Matt Davis calls it, "The Powerful Why." Whenever we are doing something, we should ask ourselves why. "Why am I doing this?" "What am I shooting for?" Knowing the reasons we are doing what we're doing will help us continue to stay motivated and work towards our goals.
His next advice was to "BYOC" or, Be Your Own Competition. "Competition is a great thing," Matt says, "but it can be detrimental if we start to compare ourselves to others." We should focus on continuously bettering ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others can hurt our motivation to keep reaching toward our goals. "Don't worry about what everybody else is doing, follow your own dreams." If we ignore the doubts of others and focus on achieving our own goals, it will help you achieve Emotional Intelligence. Davis also says to set "small goals to pat yourself on the back." Have little benchmarks everyday to help you recognize that you are going a good job.
Matt Davis also brought up the example of Matthew McConaughey, a famous American actor whose net work is about $95 million. When asked who his hero was, young Matthew McConaughey responded, "Myself in 10 years." We should keep bettering ourselves and plan for the future. Be your own hero. Be the person and the change you want to see in the world.
Another good way to practice Emotional Fitness is to be happy and optimistic. Easier said that done, I know, but happy and optimistic people are able to see the good in themselves, the world, and others. Optimistic people have hope. "There's a lot of good in the world, but if we're not looking for it, it's tough to see," Davis says "if we start to see the best in ourselves and the world around us, we will start to see what we are looking for."
Adopting an attitude of gratitude can also help us gain Emotional Fitness. Matt Davis asks us to "Recognize everyday what a gift it is to be here." Keep a gratitude journal. People who keep a gratitude journal are generally more happy than those who do not. Keeping a gratitude journal doesn't have to be anything fancy, it can simply be scribbling 3 things you are grateful for on a piece of paper a few times a week. Try it! You may find yourself to be a happier, more optimistic person. If you do try it, please comment below how it works!
Many times in life, plans fall through. A regular person may give up or feel defeated when this happens, but Emotionally Fit people such as ourselves to not give up when everything doesn't go to plan, instead they learn how to adapt and keep moving forward. Matt Davis gives these moments in life a name: A Curveball. An important part of being emotionally fit is "learning to hit a curveball. No matter what you do, you are going to make plans, and things are not going to go as planned. What you need to do is be able to adjust those plans."
What should you do when life throws a curveball? Matt Davis gives us three steps:
1. Expect it. Always be on the lookout. If you have a plan in place, you can see the curveball coming if it isn't part of the plan.
2. When the curveball comes, do not panic. Stop and take a deep breath.
3. Adjust. To execute the plan you need to adjust the plan accordingly.
So, in short, EXPECT the curveball, BREATHE, and ADJUST accordingly. You got this!
Emotional Intelligence is something we can all practice and cultivate, and by having Emotional Intelligence we can be the positive change the world needs in the workplace and in our day-to-day lives.