Emotional Intelligence (EI): A Deficit in Pakistan

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Jawad Raza Khan   

In a country like Pakistan, you will find extremes of reactions to the events happening around the globe, at national level, in a society or at an individual pedestal. Angry mob torching national assets, and at the same time groups of young men busy in making credible and economically feasible energy solutions through various means. You will find people killing others mercilessly on one context or the other including the all peaceful religion of Islam, but the other side of the coin bears impression of Great Edhi sahib as well.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

But, I think Mr. Darwin must had not visited this part of the world, otherwise after observing such a wide and wild spectrum of responses, he could have given a second thought before even thinking about the delivered quotation……with due respect sir.

This brings us to an intermediate conclusion, that there is something more important than sheer intelligence for controlled reactions of the individuals and societies and ironically that is in scanty amongst the masses of Pakistan. This holds good for our leadership as well and here lies the point to ponder and real worry for Pakistan as a nation. Fear factor for Pakistan is the Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while other claim it is an inborn characteristic. If it is in born characteristic, may Allah be with us, but for safety reasons, I will go by the former opinion.

Since 1990, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence. In their influential article “Emotional Intelligence,” they defined emotional intelligence as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”. Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion, and the ability to manage emotions.

Now how as a Pakistani I can expect this all to be known and analyzed by my lord Leaders and specially our great Parliamentarians, with their bright educational background with dishonest and corrupt faces of them in the foreground.  As I am trying to analytically study the effects of low emotional intelligence, I as a Pakistani need to take chill pill as well………………….ofhhh………………..ok.

Just to get a bit lighter, I heard a joke on emotional intelligence, it goes like this:

Husband to wife: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

Wife: I just clean the toilet bowl. 

Husband: How this can help you?

Wife: Hubby! I use your toothbrush.

This proves at least one point that if women are not compatible in IQ with their counterpart they definitely enjoy an edge in the factor of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

By and large, every theorist has declared patience as a virtue for high emotional intelligence. Incidentally, the study for emotional intelligence was taken up to improve the human efficiency for organizational goals but if we focus our thoughts on national efficiency, same factor will indeed come out as a decisive weapon in this regard.

Quantifying the element of patience in our society needs no critical observation; from un-necessary blowing of car horns to the horrifying target killings; from fights in queues to the wrapping up of HEC by the Government and from aerial firing during India Pakistan encounter well before the end of game to the hastily attempted counter punch on judiciary though Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s trial by executives, tells us the complete story of Patience in Pakistani society.

Patience is not one-dimensional, but has several facets.  Patience can be categorized into three competencies, or sub-virtues.  Those sub-virtues are three P’s: perspective, politics and persistence.

By a sheer glance at the sub virtues of patience, I am yet again brought to the conclusion, which makes media the most effective weapon for improving the level of our emotional intelligence. One cannot forget the suicide committed by the widow of Raymond’s victim in Lahore, as now the family of the victim including his parents have been given “khoon baha”alongwith the US citizenship but who else than media can be made more responsible for creating such an ugly mess after the Lahore incident resulting into yet another human loss. I can quote hundreds of examples like that but point in discussion is not blame game but to create an understanding that tools which can effectively stop suicides like the one discussed above must play their role. The factor which took living Shumiala to grave with all other contributing factors like weak, in efficient and incompetent leadership, the cruel media, lack of patience in our society also cannot be relegated completely and this can easily find its roots in below average emotional intelligence in the masses of Pakistan.

It’s now high time to improve this very important aspect of our life especially as a society and a nation. The tools available to the State especially media may be incorporated to generate a formal plan in this regard so that Pakistani society in general can improve its all deteriorating standard of Emotional Intelligence. If such a plan is not made to be in place, incidents like killing of two brothers in Sialkot will become a regular feature in our society.  Talking big things without realizing the importance of smaller issues and not working persistently on it can bring nothing but chaos to Pakistan, what we need to guard against it, to start with from the individual level.

The said individual guard coupled with awareness program through potent media campaign for propagating the aspect of emotional intelligence which can bring stability to individuals, societies and in turn stability to the complete nation.

If Pakistan can achieve this emotional stability, it will have more reasons to prosper and will be able to develop more progressive relations with international community.

NOTE:The writer is a political analyst based in Islamabad.

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  • sumbul  On April 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Jawad, i think sometimes emotional reaction are very appropriate as well. Overall a good assessment of the situation.

  • Inam Khan  On April 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    We lack all the basic elements of being a “Nation”.It is no less than a miracle that we are surviving……..Inam Khan

  • Tamim  On April 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    What is lacking in the analysis is a comparison with other groups, entities or nations behaving in identical environment. Isolating one group of people and analysing their behaviour without comparing it with other related studies may not allow us to reach an objective analysis.

    • jawad  On April 19, 2011 at 3:26 am

      i agree objective analysis requires comparative study, will make an endeavour shortly, covering the uncovered aspect.

  • siddiqui my  On April 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Lots of effort but frankly of no value; all living beings have emotions….it is emotions which make life beautiful and exciting…only machines are devoid of emotions !
    Inam sb is correct; we are still not a nation but different tribes ……..


  • dilazak2  On April 19, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Matter of the subject is alright but heading is questionable….!
    Think about Jews history particularly in Europe, burning of Quran, caricatures of prophet, beating of a girl in UK for not removing ‘hijab’ from her head, killing of innocent people in different locations in USA over time, ‘Pakistanis can sell their …. for money’ – a statement by American, killing and dancing of humans by humans in Africa, catholic and protestant issue in England, killing of Christians in India, violence by farmers in France, the prejudice by Denmark and other Norwegian countries, The beating and throwing of chairs in Japanese parliament, treatment of prisoners in Abu-Gharib prison etc. etc. etc. Therefore, Pakistan is as deficient in emotional intelligence as the rest of the world is.
    Sometimes I think it a good sign that we cry a lot but that indicates ‘We are alive and want to remove bugs and move forward’. But when someone writes rather gives a verdict like this particularly targeting Pakistan, one’s own country, I feel it my duty to point out that we are no exception and we are as good or bad as others are.
    Please view recent terrorism with a different pair of glasses. There are very potent reasons for every reaction and who else our Juntas are responsible for that.

  • jawad  On April 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

    The concept of emotional intelligence and its precise application can also be observed in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
    1. Decision of Migration from his native town Mecca.
    2. Suleha Hudiabia (Accord of Hudaibya) is yet another classic example with concise application of high degree of emotional Intelligence.
    3. Even inquiring about health of the women who use to throw garbage on the prophet can also be termed as a decision taken after thoughtful application of emotional intelligence.

    There can be thousands of examples, if we want to correct ourselves we got to check out for mistakes within us , mere comparisons with others wiil not do the trick for us, as two wrongs cannot make one right.

  • Abdul Qadir Khan  On April 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Classic example from our Islamic history would be Hazrat Ali’s (Raziullah o Taala Unho) fight with a Non-Muslim. When he (Hazrat) was going to kill him, the oponent spit towards him. Hazrat Ali just dismounted and did not kill that individual. When asked, Hazrat Ali said “My anger was for God and not for myself. When he spit towards me, my own feelings got mixed and there I thought to spare his life, for my fight was for God Almighty and not for myself”

  • khurram jamal  On April 24, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Well done

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