“Grandmother, What Big Eyes You Have: An EQ Tale”

by Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

Well, you know how the fairytale goes … Little Red Riding Hood heads out into the woods to see her grandmother. First she fails to notice the wolf when he approaches her in the woods, but goes gaily on her way.

Then, when she arrives at her Grandmother’s house things look suspicious and she sticks around to comment – “Grandmother, what big eyes you have!” ending with the familiar line “Grandmother, what a big mouth you have!” followed by “The better to eat you with my dear.”

Fairytales were designed to teach us life lessons. The lesson in this fairytale is one of the key points in emotional intelligence – learning to pay attention to your emotions, your instincts.

Emotional intelligence means understanding and managing your own emotions and those of others. Our emotions predate our ability to “think” as human beings, and are strong cues to us for one reason: survival.

Part of emotional intelligence is learning to hear how your emotions and your intuition talk to you, to pay attention to the message, trust it and act accordingly.

When I ask people in workshops how they know when it’s intuition, they say “because I’m absolutely sure.” Intuition is an EQ competency that can be developed and it can help you make better decisions, use better judgment, and maybe even save your life.

This is a child’s tale, but how do we teach children to be safe? By teaching them to trust their instincts. Now we say, “If something feels funny, run away.” Some children tend to be too trusting of people, animals, heights, swimming pools, and cars and this can put them in jeopardy. If you feel scared, pay attention.

Little Red Riding would have had all sorts of cues that something was amiss – a strange smell, things arranged differently, maybe the hair stood up on the back of her neck, of a chill ran down her spine. Feelings such as these are there to help us; they keep us alive. They’re strong, because they’re designed to over-ride “thinking” and impel immediate action. Little Red Riding did exactly what she shouldn’t have in a possibly dangerous situation – she started asking questions.

As adults, we receive the same cues and need to learn to heed them. If something “smells fishy” it probably is, no matter what you’ve been told or led to believe. If you “get the creeps” getting out of your car in a dark, empty parking lot, pay attention to this signal. If someone is promising you something and it doesn’t “feel” right, you’re getting a message for a reason.

Intuition is an emotional intelligence competency we’re all born with, but we can learn to pump up the volume, invite it into our life for the guide it can be, and heed its messages. It’s important all the time, but if you have a dangerous occupation (such as nuclear engineering), it’s especially important.

Don’t get caught staring into a mouth of wolflike teeth and starting to count the molars!

About the author: Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, helps clients get organized and succeed with the Don’t Die at 50 Weekly Organizational Calendar, Good Accountability System, Internet courses. www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc.  
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