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Why Being Genuine Is More Important Than Having High EQ On The Road To Success

Why Being Genuine Is More Important Than Having High EQ On The Road To Success

In 1990, psychologists Peter Salovey at Yale and John Mayer at the University of New Hampshire introduced the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ). More than two decades later today, EQ is taught widely in secondary schools, medical schools and business schools because it is an essential component for performance at work and overall success in life.

Some of the most distinguished individuals in history are celebrated because of their great emotional intelligence. Take Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for example. When he delivered his famous speech about his dream for America, he chose language that would tug at the hearts of people and stir emotions.

“America has given the Negro people a bad check,” King thundered, However, this land, “sweltering with the heat of oppression,” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice,” he said. King dreamed of a future in which “on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Delivering this electrifying speech required emotional intelligence—an ability to recognize, arouse, and manage passions and emotions. Dr. King’s speech became one of the most powerful in history because he managed his own feelings magnificently and aroused the emotions of multitudes, prompting them into action. As his speechwriter Clarence Jones writes, King delivered “a perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”

When you are even a fraction of this good at controlling your own emotions, you can easily disguise your true feelings if you wanted to. When you know how to arouse people’s passions, you can tug at their heartstrings and incite them to act against their own best interests.

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As you can deduce, being emotionally intelligent and able to read people, to stir up emotions can be used for good or evil.

The dark side of emotional intelligence

When people have self-serving motives, EQ can be a weapon for manipulating others. This statement is true in our personal relationships as it is in our professional relationships. From a leadership perspective, this fact becomes clear when you juxtapose Dr King and another highly influential leader of the 20th century who spent years studying the emotional effects of his body language.

Tirelessly rehearsing his speeches, practicing his hand gestures, and analyzing images of his overall body movements on stage allowed him to become “an absolutely spellbinding public speaker,” says historian Roger Moorhouse—“it was something he worked very hard on.”

This man was Adolf Hitler.

One observer noted that Hitler’s persuasive impact came from his ability to strategically express emotions. He would “tear open his heart”. These emotions affected his followers to the point that they would “stop thinking critically and just emote.”

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In light of these two opposite extremes, you can see why it is important that we stop assuming emotional intelligence is always good. We need to recognize that EQ is “morally neutral”  – which is something we already know at a subliminal level, especially in today’s society full of phony fads, media hype, and personal brands.

Besides, people don’t usually accept demonstrations of emotional intelligence at face value anyways. We want to know that what you are saying or doing is genuine. In other words, we want to know that your emotions and actions are authentic. EQ alone doesn’t guarantee you will succeed. You also need to be genuine to be truly successful.

Genuine people ultimately triumph

According to a study from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington led by Christina Fong, sincere leaders are far more effective at motivating people because they inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that authenticity is important to them, but genuine leaders walk their talk every day.

In case you’re wondering, “genuine” means actual, real, honest,and sincere. Genuine people are pretty much the same on the inside as their behavior is on the outside. Unfortunately, it’s tough to discern whether someone is genuine. However, you can always do a quick check to identify this rare quality – in yourself, as well as in others – by comparing projected ideas or behavior with that of people who are highly genuine.

1. They are consistent.

Since they are in touch with their true emotions and have no real need to pretend, genuine people are predictable… in a good way. What you see is more or less what you get.

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2. They don’t tend to exaggerate or overreach.

They are honest and straightforward. They won’t parse their words or sugarcoat the truth.

3. They practice what they preach.

They are not likely to advise people to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. They actually tend to lead by example.

4. They are not boastful.

Exhibiting pompous and elevated airs is a charade. Genuine people are humble and have no desire to brag about their abilities and or strengths.

5. They are not overly modest.

Just because they are humble doesn’t mean they are timid. Genuine people are real. They don’t exhibit false modesty.

6. They are not thin-skinned.

They don’t take themselves too seriously. That means genuine people don’t take offense when none is intended.

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7. They forge their own paths.

They don’t follow others blindly, nor do they derive their sense of worth, pleasure or satisfaction from the opinions of others. Genuine people create their own way.

Conclusion

Ultimately, a genuine person is his or her own person—true to themselves. This honesty is one of the key ingredient for success. Nobody wants to work or hang out with a phony. Authenticity is what qualifies EQ.

Featured photo credit: astarot via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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