Dr Nguyen Phuc Anh Lan is currently the Marketing and Development Director of the Institute for Civic Education in VN, a non-governmental organization founded in Houston, USA in 2005. In 2012, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Vietnam Education Fund, which was established by the United States Congress to strengthen Vietnam-United States relations through education. She is also an ICF Certified EI and Professional Life Coach. Dr. Anh Lan has received many prestigious awards such as being named one of the Top 25 Women in Houston.
Dr. Anh Lan is famous for her lectures on Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is a key to success and happiness. Culture Magazin had a quick chat with her about how to practice it at home.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand and know how to manage emotions. Can you share some ways to maintain and develop this?
When talking about emotional intelligence, we need to really understand ourselves and define ourselves properly, and not let others do it for us. Each of us chooses the story for ourselves. It can be the story that inspires others, or a boring story that no one wants to hear. We have to live actively to do what we think is good for our emotions. Do not depend on weather, traffic or other frustrating things. Be aware of yourself and believe in yourself. For example, if you grow up in a negative environment, there are things that make you lose confidence. If you let those things hold you back, you will never get emotional intelligence. Change your story to change your life.
In addition to being fully aware of ourselves, we need to learn how to listen to others. If we observe and understand the verbal and non-verbal signals emitted, we can adapt and react accordingly. A person with high EI knows how to manage one’s emotions to do things in a professional way. All of us have emotions which are usually affected by many external factors. High EI will help us to be smart in using our emotions to serve our best intentions, not become a victim of our own emotions.
Five values related to EI that each of us should practice every day are:
- Gratitude: This is extremely important. I always emphasize the practice of gratitude.
- Respect: You should not only respect others but also yourself. Respect your own body and don’t do anything harmful like staying up late, drinking, smoking, or using drugs.
- Accountability: You should be not only responsible for what your assigned work, but also for unexpected things occurred to you. When difficulties occur, there are two options: Blame the situation and play a victim role; or accept it, see what you can do and confront it, play an activist role. Christopher Reeve, the main actor in the movie Superman is an example. At age 43 he became quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse. Instead of crying and blaming others for his plight, he realized that he could still talk and his brain still worked. Although he could not be an actor anymore, he could be a director. He lived for 10 more years, made three more films, founded two foundations, and raised $65 million to help those with spinal cord injuries like him. How magical! He was a person with high EI. He knew how to accept the situation with a proactive attitude to confront it and master it. This is not easy to accomplish, so the fourth thing is needed.
- Courage: Facing the fear or difficulty to overcome it.
- Engagement and connection: Be active and connect with the community. Be aware of yourself as an individual living in a community of eight billion people on the earth. Be grateful for what you have and know you can assist those who are less fortunate than you.
Put together the first letters of these five actions and you can spell a beautiful word in English – GRACE. If you practice them your EI will rise.
How about in young children?
You can use the same five actions to train children with discipline and independence. For example, when your children finish playing with their toys, ask them to clean up. Reward them when they work well, punish them when they do something wrong. Parenting is a difficult task, and parents should train themselves to set an example for their children to follow.
How can you maintain emotional intelligence in the elderly?
GRACE can be used for all ages. For the elderly, sometimes they only think about past failures. Every second, 11 million bytes of data go into the human brain, but the conscious brain can only handel 40-50 bytes of data. If we focus on what we can do, those 40-50 bytes are useful. When practicing, aim to think positively, choose to be a solution not a problem.
What advice would you like to share with readers of Culture Magazin?
Being present in this world is a grace, because the probability of the right sperm meeting the right egg is one in 400 trillion. You are the choices you made. Please make the best and the most useful choices for yourself and your community. All are at your fingertips.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt