“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” -Lao Tzu.
While traveling abroad I became fascinated with Taoist philosophy. There exists a long history of movement and exercise systems which are associated with Taoism. I was drawn towards Tai Chi as a form of exercise which deeply connected with Taoist philosophy and notions.
After returning home I was blessed to find a teacher, Grandmaster Dr Lin Feng-Chao. His teacher was Cheng Man-Ching.
I’ve been practicing now for over 25 years. In recent years I’ve found in conversations that my perceptions, strategies and tools that support me both at work and personally, seem totally foreign to some. I’ve had an advantage with abilities to recognise emotions quickly and get less bothered by the little things. Less distracted, generally happier, less anxious and more present in the moment. When asked how? I’ve said, “Tai Chi”.
Tai Chi trains one to calm the mind on demand and return it to a natural state of happiness. Deepen self-awareness in a way that fosters self-confidence which harness empathy and compassion.
In my journey in diving deeper into the “how question”, I came across the work done at Google on their ‘Search Inside Yourself’ course. I found their research fascinating. Especially the effectiveness and importance of emotional intelligence in both work and personal life. What is mind-blowing is that emotional intelligence is trainable through the practice of mindfulness meditation. This lead me to explore the value of Tai Chi more. I’ve taken my learnings over the years and built an EQ course to support the devs I managed.
Part of that journey was exposing colleagues and students to the benefits of meditation. I wanted to build an app that gave everyone a quick tutorial on how to meditate and then follow a breathing exercise so they could follow their breath. What inspired me was an article I saw posted by Chade-Meng Tan. “Just 6 Seconds of Mindfulness Can Make You More Effective”.
What stood out for me was the following passage.
There are two reasons why taking just one mindful breath is so effective at calming the body and the mind. The physiological reason is that breaths taken mindfully tend to be slow and deep, which stimulates the vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. It lowers stress, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and calms you down. The psychological reason is that when you put your attention intensely on the breath, you are fully in the present for the duration of the breath. To feel regretful, you need to be in the past; to worry, you need to be in the future. Hence, when you are fully in the present, you are temporarily free from regret and worry. That’s like releasing a heavy burden for the duration of one breath, allowing the body and mind a precious opportunity for rest and recovery.
The ability to think calmly under fire is a hallmark of great leadership. The training and deployment of this skill involves paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. The more you bring this quality of attention to your breath, the more you strengthen the parts of your brain involved with attention and executive control, principally the prefrontal cortex.
Also an interesting article that highlights the benefits of a meditation practice, Corporations’ newest productivity hack: Meditation.
So why all the fuss over EQ?
Businesses are experiencing the benefits of improving emotional intelligence in the workplace. Research now points to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with tremendous results. Emotional intelligence has a direct link to your earning potential.
Attention is the basis of all higher cognitive and emotional abilities. Thus the key to emotional intelligence training is ATTENTION. The idea is to create a quality of mind that is clear and calm at the same time. We use mindfulness meditation to build attention so students become more emotionally intelligent.
So what makes someone emotionally intelligent?
Emotional intelligence is not a technical term in psychology. It generally refers to a person’s ability to notice and interpret emotionality in themselves and others. A person capable of looking inside, recognising and labelling their responses to situations. And then acting in a way that is both constructive and respectful of the internal process, shows a strength in emotional intelligence.
Just 6 seconds of mindfulness everyday can over time deeply and effectively enhance your attention. Attention is the foundation to improving your EQ. The Just 6 APP was developed to encourage and develop the students mindfulness practice. I will eventually write the app for iOs and Android. For now it’s a web app that is still very much in development. Your support and feedback will be much appreciated.
Other Apps worth exploring
If you are interested in supporting yourself or helping the teams you manage, the links below can help you learn more about EQ.
- What is EQ?
- Emotional Intelligence Training Course
- Meditation and the Science
- 7 reasons that emotional intelligence is quickly becoming one of the top sought job skills
- The secret to a high salary Emotional intelligence
- How to bring mindfulness into your employee wellness program
- Google ’Search Inside Yourself’