Archive | March 2016

EQ at the Equinox

Astrology Equinox This immanent bi-annual Equinox is a fired up occasion with Sun and Moon in Fire signs, as well as Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius. Ultimately it’s a balanced time, with equal day and night, a junction between seasons, between signs, between old and new cycles of the tropical zodiac. It is one of two times in the year when the entire planet has the same length of day and night. The music of the spheres momentarily synchronises in beat for all of us.

Of course some are coming out of a cold winter and others are approaching one. But still we all meet at the same bridge, the same junction and get to see ourselves in an equal light to everyone else, to see where we stand, how we compare, to others as well as to our former selves this time last year. Looking in the mirror, whether on the wall or in the eyes of our fellow humans, can sometimes be revealing, in fact can be, for some, the only insightful moment on the journey. Especially if our blind spot is bigger than we realize. At this time of balance we can take the opportunity to refresh our vision as equals among equals, one humanity, under one Sun and one Moon. Keeping that vision facilitates the philosophy of “Do unto others…” which is a good one by anyone’s book.

No longer is it enough just to be smart, well-researched in your field, or have many years of experience behind us. Nowadays, in order to survive, we also need to master the skills of our human social interactions. This may more familiarly be labelled your emotional intelligence, your EQ as opposed to your IQ, your social etiquette. This is the true secret to success. And I don’t just mean being nice. Sometimes not being nice is the more helpful behaviour in certain situations. Also emotional intelligence is not just being in touch with and giving free reign to the feelings. It’s more about managing the feelings so that they are expressed effectively, enabling people to work smoothly in tandem toward common goals. Also women are not necessarily smarter than men when it comes to social etiquette or emotional intelligence. Nor are men superior to women. Each has certain strengths and weaknesses of course. Some may be more empathetic but struggle to handle their own stress. Others are very sensitive to subtleties, yet struggle socially. There are many nuances to character, despite the obvious gender stereotypes. On top of that, social intelligence is not genetically fixed. Anyone can learn it and become My Fair Lady. In fact we should all be constantly learning, improving and revising our emotional intelligence. And there experience should be our greatest teacher.

So at this time of equal day and night, we can review just how balanced we are within ourselves, in our eating, sleeping, work and recreation. Every year is different and as the years go by some skills no longer suffice, while others become necessary. Although not as crucial in the seventies or eighties for example, nowadays qualities like team building and adapting to change become more valuable. In the old days you just needed to be educated but lately even the college graduate struggles to keep a job, if s/he can find one in the first place. Technical Merit is not enough to actually thrive, multiple skills and versatility are just as – if not more – important today. Social skills really complete the package of success.

In the past hundred years the average IQ has climbed by 24 points, particularly in developed countries, of course, like where you probably are if you are reading this. This is because of better nutrition, more kids finishing schooling, and the computer age. However, a dangerous paradox has arisen in that while the IQ rises, the EQ or emotional intelligence is on the decline. We are basically more emotionally troubled in the modern world. That means more lonely, depressed, angry, unruly, worried, impulsive or aggressive. And this is worldwide. The times are not improving and kids are growing up in a crowded uncertain world, more so than ever before.

Here are some tips on skills to cultivate, what it means to have emotional intelligence: can you take criticism, can you listen and hear receptively, are you adaptable or creative in response to setbacks or obstacles, do you have confidence, are you motivated or goal-driven and can you work in a group, or even lead an organization? These are the skills required of you nowadays if you want to really succeed in the world. Even a reclusive monk has to manage a monastery or department thereof. Once you master the basics of emotional intelligence, you begin to display emotional competence, which at its heart has empathy – reading others’ feelings – and social skill – handling those feelings artfully.

So at this time of the Equinox, let’s take the opportunity to reflect within and without, and see if our own personal self -awareness, self -regulation and motivation is up to standard, while also constantly refining our empathy and social etiquette. Succeed in those spheres and it won’t matter too much of your technical skills are lacking at all. Even a great leader is simply a greater servant of his people. May you be blessed with balance as you master your service at this Equinox time.