A megalomaniac with a nuclear arsenal holds Europe in his hand. How and when did this bullied boy become the global threat he is?
Despite some progress, emotional education is still not given the importance it deserves. It is rarely considered a teachable subject in schools. And at the workplace, people seldom address emotions. Even when anxiety, frustration, depression, greed, fear or contempt may be polluting the office, the talk will be about what lies above the surface, the “rational”, strategies, market shares, returns, policies, etc. In school, we are taught to distinguish an acute angle from an obtuse one, and learn the miracle of photosynthesis. But we are not taught to recognize, name, examine and manage our emotions and those of others. We are emotionally illiterate.
A healthy state of mind is reflected in emotional well-being, good behavioural adjustment, freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships. All of these are necessary attributes of a good leader.
“We cannot be entirely sane, but it is a basic requirement of maturity that we understand the ways in which we are insane”- The School of Life
Better emotional education in early life helps the child build greater introspection. Emotionally intelligent societies would spot mental imbalances more effectively and prevent the bullied boys from becoming killers. Emotionally intelligent societies are likely to solve differences through dialogue, and active, compassionate listening. They are less likely to resort to war.
Is there a greater role for educators, psychologists and psychiatrists in global affairs? Can soft skills, more commonly attributed to women, such as emotional intelligence, help nations deal with their peoples’ and their leaders’ underlying grievances? Before heads of state, politicians and diplomats and other (mostly) men plunge into global crises, could these be averted upstream with greater investment in self-knowledge?