Mastery of the Self

I belong to a very traditional Chinese family. Read: there are a lot of rules about social conduct. These rules give high regards towards respect and filial duties. They also teach you to keep your emotions in check and to put others’ needs before yours. These rules are a bit rigid. While I don’t agree with some of them, they have helped me a lot in maintaining cordial relationships and have somehow helped me also with life and business.

I chanced upon this over the internet months ago but can’t remember where I got the source. Do drop me a line if you know where this comes from so I can give the proper credits. For me, this should be part of Sun Tzu’s Art of War code. It defines knowing yourself, your enemies and your surroundings in a different light. I want to teach these also to my kids but I want a tamer version of it. The statements below are powerfully written, it is what I try to do each day and what I would like to teach my kids to help them go about their lives. Move over Dr. Phil, this is what mastery of the self is all about! 🙂

Emotional Intelligence in one sentence, is the ability to identify, understand, and manage moods and feelings – in both ourselves and other people.

This involves 3 domains of expertise:

  • Self-awareness. The ability to be able to identify moods and feelings in ourselves and understand how these affect other people. Many people are blind to the true impact that they have on others. We like to think of our own strengths and weaknesses in one way – but others often have a very different idea of how they would describe us.
  • Self-direction. The ability to alter those emotions and set goals to your advantage. Because often the only difference that distinguishes winners from losers is their mental state. Knowing that you are angry or tired and unhappy isn’t very helpful. But being able to change your mood to one of calm or enthusiasm – now, that’s a worthwhile skill.
  • Interpersonal savvy. The ability to identify and manage emotional states in other people. People don’t have to do something just because you tell them to. Even if you are the leader, they can choose to do it more slowly or to put less energy into it if they choose. It is the skill of finding out what makes other people tick so that you can influence and persuade them to do their best and to be at their best.

Make yourselves likeable. Do not try to impress people all the time. Rather than making yourself interesting, why not make yourself interested and the funny thing is that the people you lead finds you becoming more interesting in the process.

Work is work but it is only a tiny component of life. And so in anything you do, whether you are in a position of leadership or not, never forget that it is nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Mastery of the Self

  1. startupnovice February 28, 2012 / 11:46 am

    Great post and great advice! I believe this advice is even more important for entrepreneurs.

    • startupbabies February 28, 2012 / 11:48 am

      thanks startupnovice. i think so, too! 🙂

ni hao, thanks for reading. drop me a line, xie xie! =)

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