Emotional skillfulness frees us from emotional compulsion. We create problems when we are compelled by emotions to act one way or another, but if we become so skillful with our emotions that we are no longer compelled, we can act in rational ways that are best for ourselves and everybody else.
Mindfulness is a quality of mind that we all experience and enjoy from time to time, but it is something that can be greatly strengthened with practice, and once it becomes sufficiently strong, it leads directly to the attentional calmness and clarity that forms the basis of emotional intelligence.
The more we are able to create space between stimulus and reaction, the more control we will have over our emotional lives.
The main reason we do not listen to others is that we get distracted by our own feelings and internal chatter, often in reaction to what the other person said. The best way to respond to these internal distractions is to notice and acknowledge them. Know that they are there, try not to judge them, and let them go if they are willing to go.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
You are attending a talk as part of a large audience. Everybody in the audience, including you, is deeply touched and inspired by what the speaker is saying. That speaker is your future self twenty years from now.
empathy relies on self-awareness, and if our self-awareness is weak, our empathy will be weak too.
It is the mark of a developed mind to be able to understand and accept another’s feeling without agreeing to it.
Empathy increases with kindness. Kindness is the engine of empathy;
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.
Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt: Most people do what they do because it feels like the right thing at the time, based on what they want to accomplish and the information they have. Their reasons make sense to them, even if their actions do not make sense to us. Assume that they are making the right choice, even if we do not understand it or might make a different choice ourselves.
. . . All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel.1
calmed my mind with mindfulness and used the Just Like Me meditation (see Chapter 7) to put myself into Sam’s shoes.
Only when leaders stop focusing on their personal ego needs are they able to develop other leaders.2
two important and seemingly conflicting qualities: great ambition and personal humility. These leaders are highly ambitious, but the focus of their ambition is not themselves; instead, they are ambitious for the greater good. Because their attention is focused on the greater good, they feel no need to inflate their own egos. That makes them highly effective and inspiring.
When you instinctively and habitually perceive goodness in everyone, you instinctively want to understand and feel for them. Even in difficult situations, instead of simply dismissing the other person as a jerk and walking away, you want to understand that person because there is at least a hint of goodness in him that you can see. If you do this a lot, eventually, you become one whom people trust because you understand and care.
If you put these two ratios together side by side, you immediately understand why marriage is so tough. We demand an unreasonable 3:1 positivity ratio for all our daily experiences, except in our marriage, from which we demand even more. In that sense, we all behave like over-demanding jerks toward our spouses, and we judge them far more harshly than we judge mere acquaintances. Maybe if we understand that, we could give our spouses a little bit of a well-deserved break, maybe marriage would not be quite so tough.
When you gain increasing mastery over something that matters to you, you activate a status reward, at least when compared against your former self.
“When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”
For example, if you take the time to know those you work with at the human level, you raise their Relatedness reward. Thereafter, even technical disagreements can be more easily resolved because they see you as “friend,” not “foe.” If you are generous in acknowledging good ideas from people, you raise their Status reward and you may then find yourself on the receiving end of many other valuable ideas and solutions. If you are the boss and go the extra mile to be fair to your people, you raise their Fairness reward and they become much more willing to work for you. Thus, skillful use of SCARF factors for the good for all creates a win-win situation for everyone and expands your influence.
I am not sure if the devil invented e-mail, but I am sure it made his job easier.
Love them. Understand them. Forgive them. Grow with them.
We learn to uplift the mind with wholesome joy, especially joy arising from goodness, generosity, loving-kindness, and compassion.