The Eye of the World - Chapter 29 & 30 [#100Days, Day 22]
June 3, 2019•433 words
Emotional Intelligence II: Perrin and his Axe
"You'll use it, boy, and as long as you hate using it, you will use it more wisely than most men would. Wait. If ever you don't hate it any longer, then will be the time to throw it as far as you can and run the other way."
Perrin hefted the axe in his hands, still tempted to leave it in the pool. Easy for him to say wait. What if I wait and then I can't throw it away?
Elyas and Perrin, The Eye of the World, p. 369
Perrin's introspection about what his final intentions might have been during the flight through the plains surrounded by flocks of ravens drives him inwards. Talking it over with Elyas doesn't help; in fact it seems to make Perrin feel more uncomfortable. Perrin's methodical nature allows him to stay with the negative emotions and evaluate how they are impacting him. The normal tendency, for the vast majority of us, is to shut it out, pretending that it doesn't exist. Or distract ourselves. Or desperately try to change the emotion. This behavior inhibits us as people and as leaders. Once we begin to associate a negative feeling with a particular person or situation, we'll then tend to avoid those interactions. This means more focus is given to the people and situations that we associate with positive feelings, constraining them and putting them under pressure.
This behavior manifests with a concept I term as 'punishing the performers'. Avoiding conflict (generally a negative emotion driver) and, by extension, avoiding the people that push us in that direction means that instead of using every team member, we overload the ones that we have significantly less negative emotions towards. Staying with the emotion, in the moment if possible, but revisiting it as soon as possible after is a challenge. It requires honesty towards the self, admitting the emotion, and evaluating how your body is reacting to it. This isn't to say immediately rush out and start confronting everything that has a negative appeal to your emotions; acknowledgement of what's driving your emotional step is a solid first step. Then start working with the entire team.