“We’re losing our students around the world”, Dr Anabel Jensen pointed out during her talk at The HEAD Foundation, referring to alcohol, drugs, suicide and other issues that make children not want to go back to school. To reduce risky behavior such as dependence on alcohol, she urged, raise your emotional intelligence quotient (EQ).
One of the leading pioneers in the use of EQ along with the likes of Peter Salovey and Daniel Goleman, Dr Jensen was Executive Director of the Nueva School in California, where she helped develop the “Self-Science” curriculum that brought EQ into the mainstream. One of the guiding principles of work has been that EQ is as important as IQ, if not more so, for success in life and important decisions that are made by leaders.
By getting one billion people to put EQ into practice, the world could indeed become a better place, she said. Citing global concerns from climate change to ongoing wars and conflicts, Dr Jensen explained how setting noble goals and exercising empathy in decision making among leaders could potentially go a long way in resolving – or even preempting – these problems.
With the audience at The HEAD Foundation, Dr Jensen distilled key ideas from her work and realised them into practicable steps for improving leadership performance, or simply to guide everyday decision making. Exercises such as those challenging the audience to think what values or things mattered most to them in life, or in exhorting people to take time to think and “feel” through their reactions to various scenarios in a structured way, were just some of the very usable skills she imparted. Key among this was her “Six Seconds EQ model”, an exercise revolving around “knowing yourself”, “choosing yourself” and “giving yourself” through a questionnaire that assesses one’s understanding of themselves.
Much of her intellectual work was shaped by personal experiences that were the catalysts for her to pursue her ideas in research and in practice. From everyday challenges to more serious difficulties such as dealing with illnesses, Dr Jensen spoke also of research-based understandings of the power of optimism among people to face up to adversity.