Emotional Intelligence

In the beginning of the year I read a book on Emotional Intelligence and took a survey to evaluate myself. Turns out I’m not great at reading a room nor am I good at putting other peoples feelings in the forefront when something needs to get done. I can be quite pragmatic and I’ve been called apathetic a time or two.

But this was something I was working on understanding behaviors of mine that needed to be addressed. But now with social distancing in place its not really a worthwhile trait to know how to read a room. That’ll change eventually.

Now I find I’m trying to be compassionate with those I interact with because what we are all going through is difficult for each of us in our own ways. So I’m being overly attentive to my interactions with people and trying to really listen and connect with them on a deeper level.

My fear is it will just wear off after a while. It’s like when couple say endearing things to one another for so long that they just become part of the routine. How long before me telling someone to “Be safe” becomes no different than saying “Have a nice day”?

This doesn’t come second nature to me, henceforth the reading of books. This is important to me as I start my path of being a health coach and working with people to help them be the best versions of themselves. I don’t want to be a drill sergeant.

I know I’m a work in progress and so every day I (try) to put in some effort. I think acknowledging all of this is a least a step in the right direction.

How are you? You can email me sean@ahistoryofstupidity.com if you want to let me know.

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“Don’t put off until tomorrow…”

what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

So a while back I noticed that there was some water, not much, around the bottom of my hot water heater. I kept an eye on it knowing that we would have to replace it. It got progressively worse, albeit very slowly. I kept it in the back of my mind. A couple of weeks ago I even started looking up pricing for new ones.

I was going to get to it.

COVID-19 happened and I put it on hold. I knew it needed to be done but I figured I would ride this out before inviting a stranger in to do an installation. Installing hot water heaters is not in my set of skills. The leak seemed a bit worse but we can probably ride this out.

Yesterday morning I decided I was going to wash the sheets (remember that whole making the bed thing) and went down into the basement. Something didn’t sound right and there was a lot of water on the floor. I went over to the hot water heater and it was now visibly and significantly leaking. So I turned off the water.

Miraculously we were able to get a new one installed in less than 10 hours which was astonishing given everything that is going on. I knew it had to be replaced so I didn’t have a problem with the cost – I had been saving for that for a while. The biggest annoyance with the whole thing was really just the fact that I waited until it became an emergency when I knew it had to be done.

Maybe Mr. Franklin was correct. Maybe we should take care of the things we need to take care of right away. We never know what the future has in store for us.

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So the other date I wrote about adding to the painting that I started and being apprehensive about it. Well today I painted it and it didn’t make much of a difference.

What I did, which is exactly what I wanted to do, ended up being so subtle that it’s really only noticeable if you get close to it to see the details.

I like the way it came out because I still have my original painting from a distance and a new one up close.

In the end the greatest part of it was just doing it. I don’t know if this one will become part of my art project and go out into the world – it may just hang on my own wall as a reminder until I no longer need reminding.

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I have had a few conversations regarding potential behavioral shifts in people after all this COVID-19 stuff is over. I’m finding it to be quite interesting.

My wife believes that people will change there viewpoints over gatherings and be more conscious of hygiene moving forward. I agree that some will but feel that the majority will revert back to “muscle memory” in a short amount of time.

My mother was reading something about people developing bad habits during this prolonged period of self-isolation. I can see that. I also know it’s easier to slip into bad habits than it is to create good ones so therefore and bad habits created may sustain into the future.

I also feel that people are going to go “crazy” when they are finally able to leave their homes. Personally I think the bars are going to be a nightmare for at least two weeks after we get the all clear.

While this whole thing is terrible for so many people I do believe that it does provide an opportunity for personal growth. Meditation, yoga, online learning are some of the things I’m doing. I’ll also be coaching a client later on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during a work from home environment.

I hope you are using this time productively (provided you are one of the people who actually has gained extra time). Be safe.

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Today I had conference calls. I had design requests. I got in a bit of trouble for doing something wrong. I sent emails. I sent text messages. I posted to social media accounts.

It feels like things are figuring out a way to get back to normal in my life and I don’t want it to.

I spoke with a friend who’s concerned about income coming in. I read about someone who died in the hospital because it took so long to get tested and admitted to the ICU. I saw a couple walking their dog while wearing surgical masks.

None of this is normal.

I’m not panicking or filled with anxiety about all of this but I do want to yell at people who want to go about their business like it’s not happening.

It’s happening.

For millions of people this is horrific. For the privileged minority, which I include myself in, this is an inconvenience.

Never let this become normal until everyone is safe and healthy and financially secure.

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Getting Past The Uncomfortable

As you may or may not know, I have an art project where I paint paintings and then leave them out in the world for people to find. As I usually put a painting out a week I tend to do a lot of quick paintings without any emotional attachment to them. This way it makes it easy to let them go and never think about them again.

Every so often though I do something that I really, really like and it makes it harder to give up. There are a few hanging in my bedroom and they may never leave. Most times I give up the attachment and let it go out in the world.

Because I work fast I can usually finish before I give it much thought. However, recently I started painting and I love how it’s coming out, so much so that I’m blocked from moving forward. I know the other details I want to add but I’m afraid of ruining what is currently there. On the flip side, the additions may enhance the overall painting and make it even better.

It’s just an uncomfortable feeling of not knowing which is the right move to make.

I know I need to get past that feeling and follow my initial vision through to completion. Whatever the outcome, it is the right thing to do and to be paralyzed by fear is not.

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Homeboy Steve

So today I heard about the first person I know who passed from COVID-19. It was a bit of a body blow. I know people that believe they had it but never had the ability of being tested so never confirmed. Being in self-isolation however makes a bit of this not seem real even though you’re hearing about it every day.

This is different. This is tangible fact.

I can’t say we were ever really close. He was a working musician and for 9 years I had a music based podcast. We both supported each other. When I held a benefit concert in 2006 for the Lake Castle School in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina he was the first person to agree to play. When I put out merchandise promoting my show he was the first person to buy a t-shirt. We would often see each other out an about or I would go to see him play. We always had good conversations whenever we were together.

I have nothing but fond memories. He was a good person and my world is less now for him not being in it.

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