A recent article in the Guardian shed light on the reason behind why white boys from working-class backgrounds are the least likely to go to university.
The Guardian spoke to 12 teenagers from Chantry School in Ipswich, following a presentation they attended by UCS (University Campus Suffolk). The presentation seems to have had a powerful impact on the boys who talk about their decisions for the future and reasons behind them.
Michael James, 13, has decided he wants to be the first in his family to go to university.
“I think it’s a really good place to go,” he says, brimming with enthusiasm. “It’s high achieving. It makes it easier to get a job. I reckon it will help if I take a degree.”
Michael’s family, however, are not so sure. “They think it’s a waste of time because it costs a lot of money.”
“I want to study science,” says Connor Macfarlane, 16. “I just feel university could be helpful in finding a job.” Kieran Edwards, 13, feels the same. “I want to further my education to improve my chances of getting a better job. I feel motivated,” he says.
These young boys are driven, determined and motivated – emotions which factored into their decisions.
Our Emotional Intelligence Q Guide Booklet talks about Decision Making
Emotionally Intelligent decision making requires that we work at two seemingly opposite things in tandem. There’s an intuitive, emotional and automatic response. And there’s an effortful, rational, deliberate response. Daniel Kahneman – Nobel Prize Winner for his work on the subject – calls these two approaches System 1 and System 2.
When you drive home from work with the radio on full blast, singing along to the songs, and then realise you got home without remembering the journey – that’s System 1 at work. But when reverse parking into a tight space, you stop listening to the radio and concentrate on the difficult task at hand – that’s System 2. We need to utilise emotional information in decision making and remain grounded, objective and focused on data when necessary.
In others words, we should be able to exercise some degree of regulation when required. When we cannot, we’re likely to miss important information or jump to conclusions. But it’s a tough gig. As Daniel Kahneman says, “We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to.”
Pay attention to three things:
- Problem Solving – using emotional information to solve problems; staying focused on finding a solution from the options available
- Reality Testing – being grounded, objective and making sensible decisions; validating thoughts and emotions against facts and data
- Impulse Control – acting and thinking in a composed, deliberate and patient manner; being predictable and avoiding rash or impulsive decisions or actions.
Training your intuition means accepting feedback and being open to learning. As Kahneman’s quote makes clear – it’s often hard to recognise when we’re going wrong. So, it matters to seek out and assimilate feedback from others and from objective sources.
Improvement in decision making from an EI viewpoint comes from training your mind to exercise more active control when it is most needed – for example, when you sense you are becoming overly emotional. It’s hard and requires commitment, practice and disciplined effort.
Two world-famous experiments and the work linked to them will set you on your way. ‘The Marshmallow Test’ is the popular name (and book title) for the work on self-control by Walter
Mishchel. Its focus is on Impulse Control. ‘The Invisible Gorilla’ by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons explores our blindness to things that are right in front of us. Its focus is on Reality Testing and Problem Solving
Q. Learning’s successful certification courses in emotional intelligence – in partnership with MHS, publishers of the international renowned EQI 2.0 – are open for you to book on now. Click here…