What are Intelligent Emotions and how do they relate to mental toughness?

Successful people are invariably outcomes focused (a key characteristic of mentally tough people) with an advanced ability to connect with people. I have always labeled this connective ability as “emotional intelligence” but this may be erroneous as there is a part of EI called “intelligent emotions”, which is perhaps a more valid explanation.

In this article Doug Strycharczyk, Managing Director of our UK partners, AQR and the joint author of the MTQ48 mental toughness framework, explains Intelligent Emotions and how they relate to mental toughness and particularly the emotional control sub scale.

At its simplest EI describes the extent, which you are sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others, particular when you say or do something which impacts on them in some way. It also describes the extent to which you are emotionally sensitive to the actions, words and deeds of others.

Essentially it is about emotional sensitivity to the world around you. There are those who now argue that this may be less “intelligent” than popularly advocated.

Those interested might read ‘Neuropsychology for Coaches’ by Professors Paul and Virginia Brown which convincingly focuses on the importance of understanding emotion by looking at “intelligent emotions” rather than at Emotional Intelligence.

The significance of this idea in the context of Mental Toughness is that it resonates well with the Emotional Control sub-scales in the 4 Cs model.

A simple way to understand this is as follows:

Imagine going to the theatre to watch a great actor play the well-known character, Hamlet. The theatre is full with 500 people in the audience.

Actors are taught not only to say the words but also to use body language, gestures, etc. to communicate the full meaning of their performance. This ensures that the audience understands not only what the character is saying but also understands why the character is uttering these words. This includes the emotions and feelings behind the words. A good actor will reach most, if not all, of the audience in this way.

Actors are often trained to “exaggerate” emotions and feelings to ensure that this full meaning is communicated to the audience.

Now…. imagine you are in the audience.  Whose emotions and feelings are you reading?

Mostly you will be reading the character’s emotions and feelings. Not those of the actor who is standing in front of you.

Moreover you may well also be responding emotionally to what you are receiving.

So where is the “intelligence” – in the transmitter (the actor) or the receiver (the audience).

A great actor is perfectly capable of playing, convincingly, a wide range of characters some very different from their own character.

What might this mean in our everyday world?

Most of us work with other people and when we do we impact on the mood and performance of the people around us. Yet some of the time we are putting on a performance, especially if we want to portray a happy and positive persona when in fact we are feeling negative and potentially distressed. We don’t want to expose our true feelings, otherwise that could badly affect the mood and culture of your surroundings Read More.. 

Source: Mental Toughness Partners 

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