Emotional Intelligence – 04. – An accurate perception

Broaden your perspectives

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The fourth dimension of emotional intelligence is an accurate perception.

It is important to accurately perceive the reality before making decisions. A correct perception is needed to properly assess situations and to analyze correctly and objectively.

This necessity to perceive the reality as it is applies both to the individual (it is important to perceive the really as it is) as to the environment (we have to distinguish what represents a threat and what represents an opportunity). Several factors can affect the perception of the environment.

The recency effect

When it comes time to analyze a situation, do you give more value to the more recent information? For example, suppose you intend to buy a refrigerator. You did research by reading specialty magazines.Therefore, all confident, you advertise to a friend that you have decided to choose a model of the mark X. The friend grimace and tells you that his neighbor bought a model of X Company and has had many problems. Will you be influenced by this information? After all, it comes from a single consumer while the reports of the magazines are the fruit of many witnesses. It can be dangerous to give too much weight to the most recent information.

The halo effect

This bias consists in forming an opinion of a person or thing based on a single attribute. For example, a boss will consider all ideas of one employee as fantastic because he has studied in the same university as himself. Another boss will be wary of a systematic employee because she is blonde.
If your perception is sometimes affected by the halo effect, ask yourself what other criteria could be used in assessing the situation. It’s not only the Alma mater or the hair color which can determine whether or not a person is trustworthy.
For the person who does not keep an open view, it becomes easy to hang on details, to “trip over the carpet of flowers.” Developing a good perspective lets you decide what is important and what is incidental.

Questioning

To broaden your perspective, you can ask yourself the following questions when you find yourself in a situation where a decision must be made:

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What is the purpose of this meeting?
What is the problem at the heart of this situation?
What is really important here?
Do we have a common goal?
Is it about a detail or an important part of the discussion?

Finally, it is often tempting to start looking for solutions when a problem has not even been defined. Do you tend to jump to conclusions from a single fact? If this is the case, make it a habit to ask yourself if you have all the information needed to define the problem.

For example, what would you think of a doctor who would decide that you suffer from a serious illness because you have a fever and that fever is just one symptom of this famous disease? You probably expect him to do more tests and to browse a little more in your medical records before choosing a treatment. You doubt of his perception of your health. Yet you act like him when you jump to conclusions, and you go in search of a solution when you do not even have in your hands the necessary information for establishing a correct diagnosis.