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Emotional Intelligence: Lessons We Should Learn From World Events

When we look at world news on CNN, BBC or even through your own local news broadcast, we are often shown video footage of terrible events such as disasters, war zones, protests and riots. Such world events are often so negative that we just want to turn the TV off. But these are the same events that people at the office or coffee shop end up talking about all the time.

It turns out that despite the occurrence of these horrible events, there are important lessons we can all learn from for ourselves. All we have to do is look at how some of the affected people in these events reacted and coped.

The Vancouver Riots

For example, the Vancouver riots after the Stanley Cup hockey final resulted in hooligans turning over cars and setting them on fire. Downtown businesses had their windows smashed and merchandise looted. There were brawls with the police.

The offenders were obviously caught up in the emotions of the Vancouver Canucks failing to win a Stanley Cup and took their disappointment out on the city. Many were caught on camera and video (some even posed for photographs). They were obviously not thinking about the consequences of their actions as the police now have lots of leads to catch the offenders.

This is an example of very low emotional intelligence. The rioters were not able to manage their actions brought on by their emotions. They did not think about the outcomes of their actions and as a result, many will be punished.

The Japan Disaster

Now let’s look at another terrible world event which brought on a totally different reaction. The tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan devastated the country. The damage to property and loss of life also created high emotions. However interestingly enough, the survivors among the Japanese population remained orderly and calm. People patiently waited in lines for food and supplies rations. There were no riots. No businesses were looted either despite such immense losses.

Here is an example of very high emotional intelligence. The Japanese managed their actions well despite the emotions from such a gigantic tragedy. Compare this to the Vancouver rioters who lost a hockey game.

What We Can Learn From Emotional Intelligence?

Two disastrous world events with two opposite ends from the emotional intelligence spectrum. What can we learn from these?

Although both events will require recovery, the Japanese will recover much faster. Businesses and lives will be rebuilt with the resourcefulness of the survivors. The hooligans in Vancouver however, will either be sitting in jail or will get into trouble with the law again.

As for ourselves, we will be more successful in many areas of life if we develop higher levels of emotional intelligence. We will be able to interact better with others in our careers and personal lives. We will also be able to handle the various ups and downs that come our way with far more effectiveness. This will be because we can manage our actions as a result of emotions better.

Emotional Intelligence Can Be Developed

It is estimated that only 15% of society is of high emotional intelligence. That means the majority of us can improve in this area. For example, think of the car driver out there that gives you the finger. Think of all the fights among youths that end up with somebody getting knifed or shot. These are all results of low emotional intelligence.

Unlike pure intelligence which is thought to be genetic, emotional intelligence is something that can be developed with training. Many corporations are sending their executives to full seminars and workshops on emotional intelligence. I was such an executive when I was in corporate life. I’ve been interested in this area ever since as I‚Äôve made it a personal commitment to develop my own emotional intelligence.

What about you? Can you think of past examples of actions when you could have applied more emotional intelligence? How about examples when you did do well?
You will find that even becoming aware of this concept is a good start in the development of your emotional intelligence skills. Feel free to share your experience.

Clint Cora is a motivational speaker, author and Karate World Champion. Get his FREE 3-part Personal Growth Development Video Series to help you expand your comfort zone to conquer even your most daunting goals in life.

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31 Responses to Emotional Intelligence: Lessons We Should Learn From World Events

  1. Chetan says:

    Thanks Clint for a different post :). You have taken best example to explain what u want to say.
    I could remember my ex-boss being so cool even though he was under financial pressure.


  2. farouk says:

    that’s a great post clint
    i liked how you brought real life examples and used them for demonstration
    keep it up :)

  3. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks for reading. Your boss was probably really feeling it inside but it’s his emotional intelligence that kept him cool on the outside.

  4. Clint Cora says:

    Glad that you liked it Farouk. I always try to bring in real life examples since people can relate to them, especially events that are well known. Thanks for reading.

  5. that’s a great post Clint
    Very cool blog!

  6. Pingback: Japan Disaster Plus Vancouver Riots Together For Personal Improvement

  7. Vanessa Estorninho says:

    Well done and I’m glad that I have red it!I can relate this whole emotional intelligence thing with positive attitude that we need to attain and develop! They are both extremely important. I always try to put up with a SMILE on my face even when things are not necessarily going right! Thanks.

  8. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks, hope you got something out of this post.

  9. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks Vanessa. The emotional intelligence gurus say that it’s not totally necessary to smile when things are truly not going your way. After all, you don’t want to be dishonest about your own true feelings. But what they do emphasize is to think first before you take any actions as a result of your feelings, ie., think before you act.

  10. Connie Lee says:


    You’ve made an excellent point while contrasting the Vancouver riots with the Japanese tsunami.

    The rioters in Vancouver exhibited ‘mob mentality’ and extremely low emotional intelligence. It’s unthinkable that the crowd brought this destruction onto their city by themselves.

    The Japanese exhibited grace under pressure while exhibiting patience during a very stressful natural disaster that was thrust upon them.

    It goes to show, sometimes the best way to practice Emotional Intelligence, Clint, is to take 3 deep breaths, before proceeding.


  11. Clint Cora says:

    Yes indeed Connie. Thanks for watching and your comment. I have several friends in Vancouver and I certainly feel for them since it’s going to take a long time for that city to recover. I lived there for a year when I was a kid and have gone back many times. It’s a beautiful city and people there are quite laid back. Plus they usually do take 3 breaths before taking any action. It’s just a handful of bad apples that spoiled things for them. I hope this incident doesn’t stop anybody from visiting Vancouver as it really is a beautiful city. Mountains on one side and the ocean on the other – can’t beat that on a nice day.

  12. Hey Clint,
    It seems Japan as a culture has higher emotional intelligence. I believe that if there was a safe and secure way for people to release their lower emotions.

    These events like the one in Vancouver was just a reason for people to release these emotions.

  13. Clint Cora says:

    Yes Justin, many around the world were quite surprised on video footage of the Japanese staying in orderly lines waiting for supplies while crazy riots were taking place elsewhere whether a political event or a sporting event. One father in Vancouver was so annoyed by his son’s action and behaviour during the riots there, he actually turned his son into the police! Of course, this could be debated especially among parents out there whether this act alone was of high or low emotional intelligence but I’m sure that a lot of people are probably thinking that the kid is getting what he deserves.

  14. Interesting idea.

    It reminds me of the trapped Chilean Coal miners who have survived in very difficult life conditions 600m below the surface. They stayed ordered, calm and even joyful while communicating with the rest of the world. This seems to me another case of high emotional intelligence which ultimately gave the Chilean Coal miners a world star status when they were saved.

  15. Claude says:

    Sorry to disappoint you, the Vancouver riots and the Japan disaster have NOTHING to do with the EQ – they have EVERYTHING to do with ADN and a centuries old education…

  16. Clint Cora says:

    Marc, you are so right about that – what a great example! This proves that high emotional intelligence can be found in all types of individuals, not necessarily exclusive to the ‘brainy’ professions.

  17. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks for your point of view Claude. Not disappointed at all :)

  18. Good points, and definitely thought-provoking. But I disagree with your assessment of the events. ‘Hooligans turning over cars and setting them on fire’ after their team lost a big game is nothing compared to a tsunami that devastated much of a country. You can’t say the Vancouver acts of some disappointed fans is one of the ‘disastrous world events.’

  19. Clint Cora says:

    Yes Tim, in relation to loss of human life and property, the Vancouver riots are nothing compared to the Japan disaster. However, since both events made world headline news, in my opinion, they are both significant world events that still illustrate some key differences in human behaviour and therefore, I chose to include them in the article.

  20. Karen says:

    Are people so eager to have “positive” thinking that they can’t see the absolute shallowness of this “article?”

    The specious (at best!) argument that the Vancouver and Japanese events are linked because they both made world headline news simply doesn’t cut it. Today, two events that made headlines were that a Cyprus naval base explosion killed at least 10 people, and that David and Victoria Beckham had a baby girl.

    If we put these two events together, we can clearly see the reason for road rage today, can we not?

    Be careful about ascribing things to a whole culture, too, please. If ALL the Japanese are more emotionally intelligent, then I guess they are ALL on the same page about schoolgirl tentacle rape porn, too.

  21. PMC says:

    Great Post.

    I may or may not have strong emotional intelligence, but one thing that really helped me think this way was a college class called Deviant Behavior. In this class we read a book called Makes Me Wanna Holler. The book was about an ex-criminal who straightened out his life. The book looked at why people are the way they are, including the labeling theory.

    It has always helped me look at people and situations and try to understand why they are the way they are. Was it a bad childhood, is their stress at home, etc. This borders on making excuses for people sometimes, but also helps me see it from their perspective and allows me to only worry about myself.

    Thanks again for the different post

  22. Clint Cora says:

    Of course not all Japanese (or any other culture) are all emotionally intelligent. I’ve seen reports of Japanese financial stock traders almost picking fights with each other. The essence of this article is that two relatively recent world events that are not equivalent by any means, had lessons in there – at least for me as well as many others so far.

  23. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks for your comment. Those stories of people who managed to make major changes in their lives are always so memorable and inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  24. That’s true, I was just talking to a friend about that the other day. We’re not taught to trust our emotions or our intuition, which really stunts our emotional growth. I had never even heard of emotional intelligence in school…just a lot about IQ and academic knowledge.

  25. Hsiaoshuang says:

    I disagree about the Japanese showing high emotional intelligence. When the earthquake struck, a number of people immediately took their families and some personal belongings and drove to higher grounds because they expected a tsunami. But as you can see from the many video clips, the majority stayed put and some even had the time to shoot a few videos of the incoming sea waves before they ran for their lives. In fact the way the Japanese mass behaved after the disaster did not show they have high EQ, merely that they were docile people with a strong herd mentality.

  26. Clint Cora says:

    As you know, a lot of people with high IQ have been known to act pretty immature during certain situations. That’s low EQ. This proves that IQ and EQ are not always correlated to each other.

  27. Rick says:

    Good post-it reminds me of an article I just wrote about E.I. and how the top NFL QBs are successful mainly due to their “deliberate practice” routines. As you pointed out, we can all improve our E.I. and other areas of our life with the proper training and persistent practice.

  28. Clint Cora says:

    Thanks for your comment. So if I understand you correctly, you say that given that most of the people stayed put would imply low EQ? I’ll let others chime in on this one. For me (and I’m sure many others), we equated high EQ because of the absence of riots after the disaster which is unlike other past disaster zones globally.

  29. Clint Cora says:

    Yes Rick, that’s a good observation. The top QBs are much like the top leaders of an organization who got there because of a mix of skill and EI.

  30. henry says:

    wow ur post just save my presentation thanks a lot good friend

  31. Taryn says:

    However, emotional intelligence is composed of much more than just being able to manage ones emotions.  Conversely, it is also important to bring emotions into situations when it is called for.  Even more importantly, it is about understanding the emotions of others.  If those two additional factors, particularly bringing emotions into the situation, are added to the analysis of Japan’s disaster, it changes the perspective. 

    Many people aim to “control” emotions, when this shouldn’t actually be the goal. This leads to psychological suppression, depression and disempowerment.  

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