Emotional Intelligence

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by howacupcake, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hi everybody. A good friend of mine on these forums told me that I should learn how to mask my emotions. [How to have a straight face despite crazy emotions bouncing inside of me] I am 17 yrs old and a girl, and at times I can be emotional. I really want to be emotionally strong and I know that I am, but there are many wise people on these boards. Can anyone lend advice on how to mask your emotions? Any advice is really appreciated.
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,747
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Sometimes it'll be very hard to "mask" your emotions.

    Let me tell you how I keep things in perspective. I'd did this later in my military career, and I've carried it into my private sector life. It's worked pretty well, for the most part.


    On my Coast Guard cutter we were processing some Cuban migrants. They were being transfered to a smaller cutter to be returned to Cuba. While migrant were being moved from the flight deck in groups, one male migrant made his way to the helo nets. He slid his wrist across a pin that connected to a bolt that held the net in place. Blood was forming in a puddle on the flight deck nonskid. He just stood there. His intent: injure himself enough to warrant a medevac to the U.S., and be home free thanks to Clinton's "Wet foot, dry foot" policy.

    The guy SLIT his wrist, to get to America.

    Luckily, we had a USPHS doc on board who cleaned him up, stapled him back up, gave him some fluids. And that Cuban male went back home. He was wanted for murder in Cuba.

    Puts things in perspective for me. My life isn't so bad. I think "is my decision, or my choice, a life or death decision". Generally, now, the answer is no. Keeps you from getting too worked up when you make a mistake. "No one died because I made a mistake."


    Beyond that, some things cadre will do, WILL get into your head. If they really want to, they can break you. They don't hate you. You got into the school they're at, just like they did. Some of them may have been bigger screw ups than you. You earned the right to be there. They'll help you earn the right to graduate from there.

    I've seen male and females cry. Heck, I saw a male Marine Corps Brig. Gen. cry. He was talking about some men he lost. You don't always need to mask it. Laughing or crying in a cadre's face isn't advisable, but you'll have plenty of moments when you need to release some of the stress. Do it with your close friends, do it behind a closed door. They're going through the same thing.
     
  3. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    1
    There are some very knowleadgeable and experienced people in these forums, therefore I believe you'll get some great advice from here.

    Also, I suggest you have a look into this website: personalitycafe.com/forum

    Create an account and ask away :D

    There are subforums for all personality types, btw ;)
     
  4. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    84
    I'm going to be honest and say that I believe you are a strong person because you feel and are not afraid to show emotion. I truly believe the day certain aspects of your career or your life stop affecting you, its time to start forging another path. It is okay to show emotion, as long as you don't let your emotions control you or dictate your actions. I agree with LITS...crying or laughing in front of your cadre is not a good idea but it does happen. Smiling for me was an issue because i love to laugh and sometimes the cadre will try to make you smile or laugh to guage your ability to maintain your bearing. The worst they will do is correct you...and you can get through that. Cadre are not monsters...they were once in the same position you will be this summer. As for crying, that's okay too...just make sure you do it somewhere private. I had a roommate over swab summer who would cry almost every night after taps...some people just need that emotional release. What helped keep my emotions in check was putting it all in perspective...this summer will not kill you or harm you beyond repair. Plenty of people have made it through before you. Its an indoctrination period that is tough...but its tough in a safe environment where plenty of rules and operating procedures are put in place to prevent anyone from getting hurt. You'll be fine...just take it in small doses and realize that it won't last forever. (Sorry for the long post)
     
  5. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    4
    Wow thank you! Great advice..and interesting too:D
     
  6. calebss310

    calebss310 USNA Class of 2016

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    This will be my biggest problem. I love smiling and it's very hard for me to keep a straight face when someone is staring at me lol.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,747
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    After a few IT sessions, never had an issue with this. Having a smirking classmate across the pway on the other hand... was painful.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,236
    Likes Received:
    272
    Showing emotion is not necessarily bad, but letting it get the better of you certainly is bad.
    For bearing, the trick, IMO, is to just learn how to go to a neutral facial expression.
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,338
    Likes Received:
    1,803
    You will learn to develop your game face. Some of the most useful advice I ever got for times when I was being "orally trained at high decibels" was to imagine that person putting on their underwear - not in a salacious way, but just to put a we-are-all-humans-here perspective into play. You will learn to take deep mental breaths and say silently to yourself, "just get through, just get through it, I am fine."
     
  10. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    35
    Masking your emotion isn't necessarily a good thing as a leader. The people I've had the least trust with have had great poker faces.

    If your emotion is appropriate to the situation, expressing it in a controlled manner for a very limited amount of time is part of motivating your subordinates as well as reassuring your superiors that you are in tune with the situation. Process the shock of the moment quickly and move to take appropriate actions with dispatch. When your time to reflect is available, let it go.

    The appropriate control of your reaction shows strength and leadership.
     
  11. profsparrow

    profsparrow Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    2
    When I was in Basic Training (a few decades ago), I kept in mind that these people (TI's) were just like me (albeit 1 or 2 years older). They yelled, a LOT, at everybody. That's what they do, it's what they're famous for. You have to see the humor in it. For example, the TI put his new Flight at attention (we had just gotten off the bus), then they said; "Lift up your right foot." Everybody lifted their right foot...Then they said; "Lift up you left foot." So everybody lifted their left foot...Next thing we heard at eardrum breaking volume was; "WHO TOLD YOU TO PUT YOUR RIGHT FOOT DOWN!" Then the TI, and his fellow TI's continued to holler at us for 10 minutes. Except for one moron that started jumping up and down, they told him that was REAL GOOD!, keep doing that until I tell you to stop. Their job is to make you uncomfortable, to make you try your best for their approval because getting screamed at isn't pleasant. They'll show you the stick first to get your attention, and slowly give you little encouragements as things go along. They're trying to teach you to follow commands instinctively to avoid the stick.

    TI's back then, and I'll bet they still do, wear their sunglasses at night, inside, outside, daytime, in the rain, nearly always. I sometimes wondered if they wore them to bed. Upon graduation I asked one of the TI's why? I thought I knew, but I wanted to make sure. And sure enough he told me that they wear them because you can hide the expression on your face, but your eyes will always give you away. Often they will be smiling or laughing behind those glasses, or perhaps inside where it won't show. Try to understand that those leaders are human too. Even while they know why they do what they do, they see the humor in it too. They're just good at hiding it.

    In a career with the military, you will yell at people to get their attention, you won't actually be angry, it's more along the lines of getting their attention and ensuring that they do what they're told. Learn that while you're going through it. Evaluate how you feel as you are getting the "stick," and how you and your mates are reacting. Think about how you might use the same tactics in the future. Everything you learn during that time you will use at some time or other. Appreciate the humor where you can, and learn as much as you can. You'll do just fine. GOOD LUCK!
     
  12. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    1
    During SLS, my Squad Leader came up to me and asked "WHY ARE YOU SMILING?"

    I try to keep a straight face... I start laughing a little...

    "STOP LAUGHIInng....." (he starts laughing)

    In the end, we have my squad leader and 4 squad members just laughing waaay too much during formation HAHAHA
     
  13. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,236
    Likes Received:
    272
    Just try not to make your cadre laugh while they are calling cadence...it hurts! :shake:
     
  14. calebss310

    calebss310 USNA Class of 2016

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    At USNA's Summer Seminar, they were going around with a life-size cardboard cut out of Obama and asking everyone if it was funny. That was a hard one lol.

    Then a girl asked the guy next to me what his favorite dinosaur was. He stuttered and mastakenly said, "MA'AM, TYRANNOSAURUS-SEX, MA'AM". Tyrannosaurus-sex!?" "MA'AM I MEANT TYRANNOSAURUS REX MA'AM." "Uhhuh. Sure you did." Needless to say, he was embarrassed and I was cracking up laughing.
     
  15. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    4
    Good advice. I will have to try this technique!:shake:
     
  16. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    4
    Wow great advice!! Its nice to hear how Plebe Summer is a big learning lesson!
     
  17. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    4
    Also, my dad said it might be a good idea to read a Leadership book before I leave. Any recommendations?
     
  18. GoSox

    GoSox Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    48
    My younger sister (now a grad) worried about maintaining her bearing before plebe summer bc she as the "smile when embarrassed or nervous" reflex. She actually practiced--tried to stand at attention and maintain her bearing while friends or other volunteers screamed at her. She said it actually helped her figure out some mental tricks for getting her 1000 yard stare down. I helped her out by not telling her cadre about her "dress rehearsals.". :wink:
     

Share This Page