Yet, as I sit here, I’m left to wonder if people have fully embraced EQ in their everyday lives? Or could we perhaps inject some vibrancy into this field by making it more accessible outside of business circles? I am specifically referring to the “future generation” of young men and women who would clearly benefit from EQ development, but unfortunately, most have not been exposed to it.
When I ask my young clients (mainly highschool and university students) if they have ever heard of EQ, I am surprised at how many have not. And it seems even the ones who have heard of emotionalintelligence are unsure of how to apply to their own lives.Of course, when I ask them if they think they might benefit from being more confident, improving their interpersonal relationships, or being able to better cope with stress and/or change …..The resounding answer is yes!
And research has shown that these are precisely the personal qualities and skills required for a successful transition to university from high school. Research has also shown that many students who don’t possess these skills when entering university or collage have a much higher dropout rate than their peers. So how can we help youth build these skills before embarking on higher education….?
One option to consider is encouraging high school students to take a gap year!At the very heart of a gap year is the idea that young men and women can choose to take some time away from the accepted, and often “expected” path carved out from kindergarten all the way through to university and opt for personal growth outside the classroom. A gap year is a year away from formal education, and a time dedicated to self discovery. It is a time for self reflection where individuals can gain self awareness and insight into what is important to them through travel, volunteering and other life experiences. And it is a time when they can build those fundamental EQ skills that everyone agrees is so critical for success. It has been said that life experience itself is the best classroom when it comes to learning and developing the emotional and social skills associated with emotional intelligence so why not urge students to take a journey of self discovery and build the very skills that will empower them in university and beyond.
Emotional Intelligence can help youth to
- Identify strengths and personal goals
- Adapt to environmental demands and pressures
- Increase and build self confidence
- Gain self awareness and insight
- Instill leadership qualities
- Foster emotional health
- Facilitate career development and career planning
It can also affect the ability to:
- make friends
- get along with a roommate
- decide how to spend free time
- manage money
- work well in groups
- deal with feeling down