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Psychological Hardiness & Emotional Intelligence

A reflection by graduate student Mick Howland.

I was reading an article the other day about a quote from Chinese President Xi Jinping stating that The Emotional Quotient is more important than the Intelligence Quotient. This is ironic coming from a leader of a nation that prides itself on educational standards and relentless pursuit of academic superiority.

This brought me back to my days in my psych degree, and how the trait of psychological hardiness is the most predominate trait in successful executives and sales people.

While in attendance of a success seminar this week I had the opportunity to hear world renown NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald speak about 2 time Superbowl quarterback Kurt Warner. When speaking of what he admired most about him he relayed an experience of watching Kurt deal with pressure. Kurt’s wife was in the hospital, he injured his ankle and was sidelined and his twins were having serious health issues. All the while Larry observed Kurt have the same drive, integrity tenacity and pursuit of excellence.

This made me take a hard look at myself. How do I react under pressure? I would like to think I handle it well. And for the most part I do, however as with most people I have varying degrees depending on the stakes.

So let’s look together at how to improve one’s psychological hardiness or emotional intelligence with 3 key areas:

  1. Accept the worst case scenario… And go for it anyway!  What does that look like? Failure… That is all. Now what the consequences are of that failure only you might know depending on the particular scenario. Typically the greater the challenge the worse the consequences which is why I encourage all of you to take on challenges that are incrementally harder and harder. Meaning I want you to fail bigger and bigger. Which means you will learn more and more! “Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment” Rita Mae Brown
  2. Take ownership! Do you know why successful small business owners work crazy hours and sacrifice everything for their dream? Because its theirs and they own it! Even as an employee you can have the ownership spirit. I relate this to the psychological theory of locus of control. People with an internal locus of control believe they are responsible for their life, people with an external locus of control feel they are victims of circumstance. In my experience humility is the key factor in this and don’t worry if you are anything like me your ego will put you in situations where you will experience humility. Seize this opportunity of growth and learn from your failures.
  3. Have Faith! The last and most important component is Faith. Fear is a lack of faith and fear often prevents us from being able to remain steadfast in our pursuit. To develop this is deeper spiritual topic than most are willing to walk down. However if you have faced some of the adversity that I have faced, You somehow realize sooner or later that it will be OK, And if it’s not, it will still be OK. Sounds like a redundant statement I know but when you think about it, it is true. For me to have faith my work has to be more than just about me. When your pursuit of success is more a calling of divine purpose than greed focused materialism you will get it. The most successful and HAPPY people I know don’t do it for the money. They do it for the ability to help others. Then and only then will you tap into something bigger than yourself.

I would like to leave you with a quote one of my employees shared with me today that is certainly relevant.

James 1:2-5  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Onward and Upward friends!!

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2 Responses to Psychological Hardiness & Emotional Intelligence
  1. Adam Hjerpe
    June 2, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    I have had the honor of working under Mick, he is the quarterback leader of a sales team. This blogpost nails it!! Thanks Mick

  2. Kevin
    June 3, 2014 | 10:45 am

    Great thoughts Mick. Perhaps China’s president feels the way he does because he knows his countrymen are deficient in the Emotional Quotient arena, and he knows it is something they must work on. That is my experience anyway. My Chinese college freshmen had the emotional level of middle school students in America. They were socially awkward, embarrassed about the opposite gender, and couldn’t deal with their emotions. A balanced approach should be taken to increase both the Intelligence Quotient and the Emotional Quotient.