The days are short, dark, and cold here in the Midwest. This means my usual after work activities like basking on the porch, playing frisbee golf, and talking to the neighbors are now off the table.
I’ve had to find other things to fill my time! This means writing posts, dreaming up ideas for side hustles, and reading books are now the main ways I spend my non-work hours.
One of the books I read recently was Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry. It was so good I read it in one night!
This book is packed with actionable tips. So much so that I can see myself going back and referencing different sections at various times. Unfortunately, I borrowed it from the library so I had to give it back.
I’m really glad I started out borrowing it from the library because books can be expensive. However, I feel this one is worthy of buying and hanging on to for the long haul.
In the book there is a code for their quiz that measures where your EQ is. It tells you what you’re strong in and what areas need work. I don’t know what they think my EQ is, because I couldn’t take the quiz. I did take note of the exercises you’re supposed to do and they look really helpful for my personal and professional life.
Lessons from the book
Moderating Excitement: For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know just how much work I’ve put into moderating my excitement for life. I recently described my teenaged self as someone who acted like I’d drank 4 liters of Mt. Dew and ate candy every day. I was excitable. I had a true passion for life and boundless energy. If I had been a dog, I would’ve been a Golden Retriever puppy.
Turns out, that overwhelms the general population of Earth and turns strangers into enemies. Who knew? Well, I certainly didn’t until a few people helped show me how I was coming across to others. That got me thinking and I made a conscious effort after that to tone me down.
Now, that’s not to say I changed entirely and became a super chill version of myself, dude. Now I’m better at knowing when to unleash that side of me and when to keep it constrained.
To all the people who have met me in the last few years, yes, this is me being constrained. Hard to believe, I know 🙂
Toning Down Reactions: In the book, Bradberry talks about giving yourself a 10 second window to pause before you react to something. He literally says to count to 10. If it works for 5 year olds, it can work on adults.
One of those adults it helps is me. I’ve been incorporating this into life and I didn’t even know it was a thing. I was able to see how effective this one is on several recent trips to family. Nobody knows how to push all your buttons like family. I love my family to death but sometimes dealing with them makes me want to pull my hair out. We are not great communicators.
So, by incorporating this little gap between what they said and my reaction, I was able to stay a bit calmer and explain what I was feeling/thinking without getting too mad/stressed/angry/stompy. I am the youngest of my family and can act like it on occasion. The 10 second gap helped a ton!
Happy Thoughts: Even though I lean toward the artsy fartsy side of life, I am no Bob Ross. I do not create happy little trees and happy little clouds on canvas.
However, I do create happy thoughts. Bradberry had some things to say about people’s inner thoughts varying. Some people have negative self-talk. Some people have positive self-talk.
I build myself up in my head. I don’t tend to dwell on mistakes made. I go back over the situation, figure out what went wrong where and when, lay a plan to do things differently next time, chalk it up a lesson learned, and move on.
I tend to tell myself everything will be fine. Some things suck longer than other things, but eventually it stops and I move on with life. Usually, everything does end up fine! Or, sometimes, things end up better than if I’d stayed with the first path.
Sleep Matters: There’s a section of the book that talks about the impact of getting a good night’s sleep. It goes over things like not using screens in the 2 hours before you go to bed and the negative effect drinking caffeine has on your sleep.
Now, I sleep just fine. I’ve never really had any issues falling asleep or staying asleep. I do use electronics in that 2 hour before bedtime window, but I don’t use them without blue light filters. Blue light filters are apps or programs on your electronics that filter out the blue light. Shocking, I know! If you can deal with your screens having a weird orang‑y hue, it’s really helpful at minimizing the effect the light has on your brain and sleep cycle.
I use Twilight on my Android phone, f.lux on my computer, and the Twilight option on my iPhone.
The other major impact to sleep quality and quantity was caffeine. This one isn’t really an issue for me, as I tend to not drink a lot of caffeine. I have the odd caffeinated coffee or tea every once in awhile (or soda in a blue moon), but I like to stick to decaf beverages.
At FinCon this year, this was a major plus for me. No need to stand in the ginormous line to wait for coffee in the morning, and I wasn’t at risk of biting anyone’s head off if I didn’t get some STAT in the morning. Some of my fellow bloggers and friends found it difficult to believe I wasn’t caffeinated when I brightly wished them a happy morning at 730 am but it’s true! It goes back to that whole moderating excitement thing I was talking about earlier.
If you do drink caffeine, it’s best to do so only in the morning as caffeine has a lot longer life than most people are led to believe. The half-life of caffeine is 3–7 hours, so remember that if you’re struggling to stay awake in your cube at 2 in the afternoon.
Focusing on Freedom: This is the section I probably got the most from out of the whole book in light of my big move coming up. (You know, the one where I quit my job and move to a different state in a few months? Not ringing a bell? Read this!)
Bradberry talks about focusing on positive outcomes in scenarios rather than focusing on the things that could go wrong. This is what I’m currently doing. There are a million things that could go wrong with my upcoming lifestyle change. We could break up. I could get pregnant and then break up. We could get married and then divorce in the future. If we broke up, I’d have to get a full-time job again and move into a new place. What if I couldn’t find a job? What if I didn’t have enough money to move out? What if my car died and I had to get a new one?
Or I could focus on all the ways things could go right. I could move up there, live in wedded bliss, and become a successful freelancer/stained glass artist. If we broke up, I’d have the freedom to move absolutely anywhere in the world to take a job. I’m not worried about being unhireable if I need to rejoin the workforce. I have plenty of people to recommend me, and if worst comes to shove I could always come back to this company (provided I don’t burn any bridges which I’m doing my best not to on the way out).
I think Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is incredibly useful to just about everyone. I am looking forward to buying the book to reference in the future and see what my EQ score is! This will provide a more focused path for my self-improvement in the future, which can only benefit me and everyone around me!
My recommendation: 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Have you read the book? What did you think? What changes have you made in your life in regard to personal development? Sound off in the comments below!