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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Teacher And Student

Daniel Goleman, a guru in the field of emotional intelligence, uses the term "emotional hijacking" to describe how we sometimes let our feelings over-ride rational thought. Phrases like "that really pushes my buttons" or "I get so triggered by that" similarly describe a human foible we all share - reacting before thinking. What was the trigger for you the last time you were emotionally hijacked?

As early as grammar school, I had an indication this particular foible was going to present a significant challenge for me. Although my academic grades were usually OK, the deportment side of my report card invariably had a "U" (for "unsatisfactory") next to "self-control". Sometimes I'm able to rationalize this early pattern and chalk it up to an over-abundance of childhood energy. And as an adult, my energy has often been a real ally.

But on those occasions when someone has been hurt by my words or actions, I see red "U's" from my report cards flashing like a blinking traffic light. Once again, my mouth has opened before my brain has fully engaged. When I was doing a lot of professional coaching, people would often compliment me on the guidance I gave them about carefully considering their words. Whenever I got those compliments I'd smile to myself and recall a wise quote I heard many years ago: "We teach best what we need to learn most".

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