Education Week: Emotional Intelligence and Personal Happiness

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Education Week- Richard P. Himmer, speaker at BYU’s annual education week, taught a lecture series entitled “Emotional Intelligence and Personal Happiness” to a filled auditorium in the Thomas L. Martin Building (MARB).

The lecture begun with a look at an emotional competency test, “The goal of the test is congruence,” said Himmer. Test results from different categories of emotional competency should align with each other, without large deviations. An acceptable emotional competency test should address 5 core competencies: self- awareness, self-regulation, self- motivation, empathy, and interpersonal relationships. Himmer argued that awareness and self-improvement of these core competencies are the keys to personal happiness.

Unlike IQ, which is largely determined by genetics, “Emotional intelligence can be trained and according to the statistic, the older you get, the better it becomes, until you hit 55,” said Himmer. Increasing your emotional intelligence translate into greater career success. Emotional intelligence dictates an individual’s ability to resolve conflict, “employees who have higher emotional intelligence are able to regulate their emotions in a debate, which means they don’t get high-jacked by their amygdala and refrain from making personal attacks… Who is in control is the one is not defending themselves,” said Himmer. Himmer furthers his claim with a statistic, “In the financial sector from the Bank of the Philippines, there were 100 frontrunner workers that were working. Here is what they found out: their technical skills only accounted for 1 percent of their success and their emotional intelligence for 27 percent.”

Continuing to talk about the workplace, Himmer addressed ambiguity, “ ambiguity results in ambiguity, if you give an ambiguous assignment not everybody is going to search out what you meant, so they are going to return ambiguity back,” said Himmer. Learning to be emotionally intelligent is learning to be specific, “If you want to set up frustration in your space, than be ambiguous,” said Himmer.

Lastly, Himmer stressed that there are further reaching and more important aspects of emotional intelligence than just success in the workplace. Himmer wrapped up his Wednesday afternoon lecture with a spiritual connection, “The Lord called it the Plan of Happiness for a reason, the reason is the Lord wants us to return to his presence. Exaltation is an individual effort done in a collective environment. We need each other…. Emotional intelligence is really going to hit about every aspect of your life.”

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