Emotional Intelligence? Just Give Everybody a Gold Star
Subtitle: An Emperor, a Life Coach and a Hemorrhoid Walk into a Bar...
Human nature is an intrinsic quality that connects how we react to day-to-day situations and the circumstances surrounding them. It is also a key player in creating these situations that evoke reaction. When human nature’s evil counterpart shows up at the party, it is usually without an invitation, and it brings its three closest friends: drama, chaos and mayhem. By now you should have figured out that human nature is not often very good company.
As the subtitle implies, there is context and a punchline to this so let’s start with the emperor. In this story it is Marcus Aurelius, ruler of Rome from 161–180AD. The emperor was known to be a great philosopher and many of his quotes are known and documented. As I channel my inner Marcus Aurelius, it is apparent that the 2nd century version of human nature and the 21st century version don’t differ much. My favorite quote, one that is deeply profound, and also the subject of this narrative, goes like this: “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit, the second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
My interpretation of Rule #1 is where the life coach is relevant. In the scenario playing out in my head, the emperor has senate sessions, decrees to sign, conquests to plan and all of the other important stuff that emperors do. On top of those things, he is at work dealing with all kinds of shenanigans and managerial issues. These are the by-products of human nature. Somebody wants somebody else’s title, a raise, took somebody’s chariot spot, or something nefarious and unrelated to the business of ruling the empire has now festered into an evil plot and is about to go down. At the end of the day, Marcus goes home and partakes of whatever libation or relaxant that is available. Eventually the drinks and smokes have lost their ability to provide the requisite relaxation, hence the life coach. The life coach’s job is to equip the client with the tools to achieve a sense of peace and clarity, especially when said client is facing real-time adversity or angst.
Rule #2 is a tactical, multi-part, rules of engagement mechanism. Part 2a involves across the board confrontation. Examination of everything and everybody may seem unnecessarily exhaustive, but it is extremely necessary. This examination allows one to transition directly into 2b; categorization. At this point one must decide who/what falls into either the category of problem or solution, or more in keeping with the theme, hemorrhoid or Preparation H. Once you “know them for what they are” they are forever in either the problem or solution bucket; no magical transformation occurs to undo the traits of the evil, rude, sinister gene that is deeply embedded in the DNA. Correspondingly, the solutions team is usually very solid, unless one of the other team’s members causes such extreme duress that a temporary lapse of composure results. This can remain contained, or disseminate like a mushroom cloud. Marcus was obviously referring to dealing with the delinquents in the collective bunch when he started out trying to get his zen on in Rule #1.
In summary, despite the numerous and tremendous ways that humans have been innovative in all facets of life, human nature obviously has not and likely will never evolve or become extinct. For team Prep H, press on despite the obstacles, and the H team, do you even know who you are?
As emotional intelligence (EQ) has now become a thing that has a rubric by which to evaluate and manage our own emotions as well as others; if everybody isn’t doing it is it worth doing? If I’m trying to manage a relationship and my co-worker is living out of his/her briefcase instead of unpacking, how will this work? It seems like wasted energy and time to make room for someone else that is invested in moving forward as a team. I shouldn’t have to give affirmations to myself AND other people too. I’m sticking with my guy Marcus Aurelius’ version of EQ; it has worked for me so far, additionally I have always assumed that I am in the midst of adults when in a professional environment (boy was I wrong on that one).
As previously stated,the subtitle of this starts out like a punchline is coming so here it comes. Hope you like it, at least those of you in the demographic that get it.
An emperor, a life coach and a hemorrhoid walk into a bar. The life coach asks the emperor “Why are we coming here? We already determined that drinking wasn’t solving your problems.” The emperor says to the life coach, “Didn’t your hear the doctor this morning when told me to sit in a Pub two times a day to get rid of this Royal Pain in the Ass?” The life coach replies back, “Emperor, he said sit in a TUB two times a day!”
*The original title of this piece was An Emperor, a Life Coach and a Fornicator of Matriarchs Walk into a Bar; I changed the title for a couple of reasons: 1) It was very hard to come up with a punchline (feel free to make suggestions), and 2) this combination of characters seemed more befitting of Emperor Caligula; he was a crazy FM.