If you’re familiar with the lyrics to “Lady Will Power,” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, you understand this woman is under some pressure.

Just what is “will power”? In emotional intelligence language, we would call it Intentionality.

Emotional intelligence means being able to understand and manage emotions – yours and others’ – and to use them to make decisions, solve problems, and bring about results that work in your favor.

We think with our neocortex, and our emotions are generated in our limbic and reptilian brains. Two of our brains don’t take orders. Our “brains” are often in conflict with the other one; that’s the way life is.

Intentionality is a high-level competency because it’s means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It also means being accountable for your motives as well as your actions.

Presumably in the situation of this song, emotions are pulling one way, and “better judgment” is pulling the other way, for the woman, and the man is using intimidation tactics – “it’s now or never”. This is a conflict. Emotions will always pull more strongly than thoughts, because we need our emotions in order to survive. Fear, for instance, keeps us alive. We need to know danger immediately, and react immediately. Therefore, we’re programmed to shut down the thinking part of our brain and adrenalin forces us to act without allowing thought to intervene. If we stopped in front of a speeding car that was about to hit us and said, “Wow! Is that the new Jetta?” we would be dead.

When my mother went over the dating rules with me as a young teenager, she added, “And you make the decision what you’re going to do right here, sitting at the kitchen table, not in the back seat of a car, because then you won’t be thinking.”

Will power is a term that’s gone out of favor, but we do have a “will” – the ability to make decisions and hold to them. We also have the personal power to manage our emotions and those of others’ under the most pressing of circumstances.

Other pressure situations might be being asked to do something illegal at work, being tempted to do something unethical, feeling angry enough to hit someone, having an opportunity for an affair, investing in the stock market, resisting drinking when you’re in recovery, or going to work when you’d rather go fishing.

Emotional intelligence includes Intentionality, and other competencies such as intuition, creativity, resilience, impulse control and stress management. These competencies can be learned and there are assessments to tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are.

Developing your EQ allows you to put in a floodgate when you threaten to be overcome with emotions, which is called “neural hijacking.” This is when emotions swamp you to the point where you make decisions or do things that are harmful to yourself or others.

EQ matters more to your success and happiness than IQ. Why not make it one of your goals this year to increase your emotional intelligence?

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn helps clients get organized and succeed with the Don't Die at 50 Weekly Organizational Calendar, Gooding Accountability System, coaching, Internet courses. Visit her at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine and Strengths course.