Have you ever met someone who might not be book smart (whatever that really means) but has it together in terms of their inner life? You sense there is something mature, settled and balanced inside. This is probably someone who has a high E.Q. Not be confused with I.Q., Emotional Quotient, also known as E.I. (emotional intelligence), deals with four domains:

  1. a person’s self-awareness

  2. their ability to self-manage

  3. their social awareness, and

  4. their ability to manage relationships effectively (for more, see Wikipedia).

In school, we were certainly taught to think critically. Remember those poor trigonometry teachers who had to answer exasperated students' questions: "Why do we need to know tangents and cosines?" So most definitely we were taught to reason analytically.

But as I said in my recent webinar on Mindfulness (to see the talk, go to recordings), another faculty that is woefully missing from school curricula is awareness. It's one thing to pay attention to the effect of vinegar mixed with baking soda (or dropping a Mentos into a bottle of soda), but quite another when we turn our awareness in and ask fundamental questions about ourselves: why do I react that way all the time; where did that emotion come from all of a sudden; why does this sunset make me weepy; how does he always push my button (or, more accurately, why do I let him), and so on...

Besides asking these questions, we can make solid and secure statements about ourselves: I'm bigger than this; I don't need to merge with that emotion; this matter doesn't involve me, so I will refrain from commenting, and so on...

Don Miguel Ruiz has written a timeless book called The Four Agreements. He talks about the accords we make with God, with life and with other people. But, he writes, the most essential agreements are those we make with ourselves They are as follows:

Be Impeccable With Your Word.

Don't Take Anything Personally.

Don't Make Assumptions.

Always Do Your Best.