MIND CONTROL How To Protect Your Children From Indoctrination

Do you look on with astonishment at Antifa and other extreme groups rioting and shouting “death to America?” How could all this happen? Where did all these young people come from who hate the US?

by Linnea Johnson

Chances are they caught this belief from our public school systems. If you live in California, it’s right in your face. Some are calling it out

We’ve talked about why homeschooling is an excellent choice from an academic, independence, and character-building standpoint in previous articles. In this discussion, we’ll talk about protecting your children from indoctrination.

Distance Learning Is Starting To Show Some Of The Cracks With Schooling.

Reports are starting to surface of parents uncomfortable with the political patina of their children’s online classrooms. Police visited one family because a boy’s BB gun was visible behind him in an online classroom session, and the teacher reported the “gun” to the police. 

Another teacher caught a glimpse of a 12-year old’s Nerf gun, and instead of asking him or the parents about it, she reported it to the sheriff. The child was accidentally suspended for a week for having a toy gun at home during a Zoom class!

One teacher expressed that he has to be more careful with his words now that parents can listen to online class sessions. Some school districts have gone so far as to ask parents to sign a disclaimer that they will not watch class sessions with their children to protect other children’s privacy in the online classroom.

Could it be that teachers, their unions, and school administrations are concerned about being exposed as rhetoric spreaders in the classroom?

Have We Forgotten Our Children Are Our Responsibility?

Rearing them, teaching them, caring for them, and loving them is our responsibility. In this country, it seems we have abdicated that responsibility and ceded it over to the state.

We believe the government owes our children free education, free medical care, and even free meals.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect there is a string attached when I hear something is free. That string is the ability to mold our children’s minds.

I’m not comfortable with people I don’t know taking full responsibility for my children’s care, their thoughts, and their beliefs.

Don’t we suspect that this current civil unrest was born in the classroom some years ago? While “it takes a village” has a nice familial ring to it, do we want the state to be that village?

Do We Want Our Children To Have Our Values Or Someone Else’s?

Infuse into your home education a worldview rooted in critical thinking and morality, whether it be the Principle Approach, or an education rich in the study of the US constitution and western philosophy, or Socratic reasoning, or a faith-based curriculum.

If you’re a person of faith, you will undoubtedly want your children to share your faith and not that of a secular system. Teach your children how to think and help them to develop good character.

I know many teachers who take their jobs seriously, who go to work faithfully every day and try to do a good job.

The best of them end up being frustrated by a system that doesn’t support them and is heavily influenced by the teacher’s unions and political correctness.

They don’t want to be responsible for both their children and yours. They want to educate your children in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Still, their latitude in teaching has been severely limited by common core standards, teaching to the test, and political correctness.

Their job performance is now dependent upon how much your children learn from the required curriculum and how well they can perform on a standardized test.

Children spend countless hours preparing for these tests that show only memorized information regurgitated onto the bubble-filled page. Do we want children who can memorize or do we want critical thinkers?

Students are encouraged, “get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast” on test days, as if this is not important on every other school day.

The teacher’s ability to advance to the next performance level or pay grade depends on your child’s test performance. That’s a lot of pressure for both the teacher and your child.

Don’t we want our kids to be able to read, write, and do the math, and when they’ve learned that, to be able to think critically?

As A Parent, You Have Tremendous Influence And Responsibility

You create an atmosphere of helping your children understand and make sense of the world around them by just listening and having a conversation.

Could you do that over breakfast? How about around the dinner table?

If you don’t have a meal together as a family, start now. It’s a time to reconnect with each other, discuss the day’s events, or sort out difficulties someone is having. Mealtime is a time when the family knows everyone will listen to each other. 

I’ve seen variations on the family meal. Some families discuss the events of the day. Others will pose a question and ask everyone’s opinion before the parent gives his/her view.

Others recite memorized poetry or Bible verses, and others use the time to pray. Mealtime can become a sacred time – a time for the family to lift one another, work through difficulties, and talk about what was essential to each one.

We didn’t realize how important mealtime was until my son had a group of friends over. When it was dinnertime, my son called them to the table. They said they’d come in to eat later.

My son explained that we all eat together in our house. Reluctantly, they all came in to eat. At the end of the meal, my son’s friends said they enjoyed eating together.

The only time they did that in their homes was during the holidays. I think they wished their own families did the same.

You have the power to create a safe and comforting place in your home at mealtime, not just for your children but also for their friends.

Even if the food is simple, or God forbid, scarce, don’t discard the opportunity to reconnect.

What About Homeschooling?

The decision of whether to homeschool – or even if they’re qualified to do so – has been a difficult one for many parents.

I’ve read that parents are concerned about the cost of homeschooling, hiring a tutor or a teacher for their micro-school or learning pod of children. They are desperate to keep working and earning to pay someone else to educate their children and maintain their same lifestyle.

If you can afford to hire a teacher, even part-time, to educate your and your friend’s kids in a one-room schoolhouse in your converted garage, more power to you. Many don’t have that financial flexibility to hire someone else to teach.

My advice to you would be to join forces with other parents, share the load, learn to teach your children, and teach them to learn from you. Here are some tips to help you do so.

  • Be flexible. Some parents may be able to teach during part of the day, and some may be available for tutoring at night. Another parent may teach archery, bushcraft skills, gardening, food preservation, or backpacking on the weekend.
  • Be creative. Pull together something that works for you and the other families. A kitchen table is all you need.
  • Divide the work fairly. I belonged to a babysitting co-op, and we created laminated cards to exchange babysitting services.One card for one hour of babysitting for up to two children was the baseline. We all started with the same number of cards and exchanged and received them as we used and provided babysitting to the other co-op members. Parent educators could design a similar system — one card per adult for two hours of teaching for up to four children.

Using an established system, you could help one another in other ways. Perhaps one family gardens, another knows how to do car maintenance, another has an abundance of chicken eggs, and another has skills in the medical field.

Could you exchange what you have or know for what another family has or knows? Could you save money by exchanging for needs?

Think about it because this kind of system could help you navigate not only homeschooling, but also a collapse in the supply chain, rapid inflationary pressures on food or medicine, or securing neighborhoods from civil unrest.

Why Do I Push Homeschooling?

Homeschooling can form the baseline for all other thought processes.

Homeschooling creates solid values in your children, supporting one another through thick and thin, and finding others who are like-minded.

Homeschooling can be your lifeline, not just for your children, but also for your entire family.

It’s also the best way I know to have a stable and fulfilling relationship with your grown children.

Homeschooling is just part of a mindset that is undergirded by a belief in self-sufficiency. And by self-sufficiency, I don’t necessarily mean going it all alone.

I mean figuring out a way to make it a win-win for others with a similar mindset to you and getting what both you and they need.

Some people find a group of like-minded people in a church, within your own family, and others find them on a blog like this.

Find your people and figure out a way to help one another, not just in homeschooling, but also in doing life together.

I used to say it was time to leave this country if homeschooling was outlawed because I believed that was the final step in indoctrination and in limiting our freedom.

While it is not outlawed, it may become more and more regulated. I urge you to take this time to explore your options, to understand what you want for your family’s future, and to take action now to achieve that.

I believe we have a window of opportunity that may close in the years ahead. Learn to protect your children from the indoctrination of others who don’t have their best interests in mind.

Never Underestimate the Intelligence of Trees

Plants communicate, nurture their seedlings, and get stressed.

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Consider a forest: One notices the trunks, of course, and the canopy. If a few roots project artfully above the soil and fallen leaves, one notices those too, but with little thought for a matrix that may spread as deep and wide as the branches above. Fungi don’t register at all except for a sprinkling of mushrooms; those are regarded in isolation, rather than as the fruiting tips of a vast underground lattice intertwined with those roots. The world beneath the earth is as rich as the one above.

For the past two decades, Suzanne Simard, a professor in the Department of Forest & Conservation at the University of British Columbia, has studied that unappreciated underworld. Her specialty is mycorrhizae: the symbiotic unions of fungi and root long known to help plants absorb nutrients from soil. Beginning with landmark experiments describing how carbon flowed between paper birch and Douglas fir trees, Simard found that mycorrhizae didn’t just connect trees to the earth, but to each other as well.

Simard went on to show how mycorrhizae-linked trees form networks, with individuals she dubbed Mother Trees at the center of communities that are in turn linked to one another, exchanging nutrients and water in a literally pulsing web that includes not only trees but all of a forest’s life. These insights had profound implications for our understanding of forest ecology—but that was just the start.

Tree Whisperer: “I think that we’re so utilitarian with plants and we abuse them to no end. I think that comes from us having our blinders on. We haven’t looked,” says forest ecologist Suzanne Simard (above). Photo credit: Jdoswim / Wikimedia.

It’s not just nutrient flows that Simard describes. It’s communication. She—and other scientists studying roots, and also chemical signals and even the sounds plant make—have pushed the study of plants into the realm of intelligence. Rather than biological automata, they might be understood as creatures with capacities that in animals are readily regarded as learning, memory, decision-making, and even agency.

This can be difficult to wrap one’s head around. Plants are not supposed to be smart, at least not according to the rubric of traditions known as western thought. There’s also a case to be made that, while these behaviors are indeed extraordinary, they don’t map neatly onto what people usually mean by learning and memory and communication. Perhaps trying to define plants’ behavior according to our own narrow conceptions risks obscuring what is unique about their intelligence.

It’s a rich and fascinating debate, one that won’t be answered without a great deal more research—and that research ought to be conducted with an open mind to the possibility that plants have minds. Simard spoke with Nautilus from her office at the University of British Columbia about the horizons of her work.

To get the ball rolling, can you tell me about Charles and Francis Darwin’s root brain hypothesis?

Behind a growing root tip is a bunch of differentiating cells. Darwin thought those cells determined where roots would grow and forage. He thought the behavior of a plant was basically governed by what happened in those cells.

The work I and others have been doing—looking at kinship in plants, how they recognize each other and communicate—involves the roots. Except now we know more than Darwin did; we know that all plants, except for a small handful of families, are mycorrhizal: The behavior of their roots is governed by symbiosis.

It’s not just those cells at a plant root’s tip, but their interaction with fungus, that determines a root’s behavior. Darwin was onto something. He just didn’t have the full picture. And I’ve come to think that root systems and the mycorrhizal networks that link those systems are designed like neural networks, and behave like neural networks, and a neural network is the seeding of intelligence in our brains.

You’ve written that what makes neural networks so special is their scale-free character, which plant networks share as well. What does scale-free mean? Why is it so important?

All networks have links and nodes. In the example of a forest, trees are nodes and fungal linkages are links. Scale-free means that there are a few large nodes and a lot of smaller ones. And that is true in forests in many different ways: You’ve got a few large trees and then a lot of little trees. A few large patches of old-growth forest, and then more of these smaller patches. This kind of scale-free phenomenon happens across many scales.

You can smell the defense chemistry of a forest under attack. Something is being emitted and plants and animals perceive that and change their behaviors.

Do you see scale-free networks at the level of individual trees, too, in the interactions within a single root system?

I haven’t actually measured that, but there’s many things that you could look at. For example, root size. You’ve got a few large roots that support finer and finer roots. My guess is that they follow the same pattern.

What makes that configuration so special?

Systems evolve toward those patterns because they’re efficient and resilient. If we think of my forest, and the networks I’ve described, that design is efficient for transmitting resources among trees and how they interact with each other. In our brains, scale-free networks are an efficient way for us to transmit neurotransmitters.

There’s something so primally amazing about networks between and within trees having similar properties to the networks in our brains. In the case of our brains, we understand that there’s something about the structure of these networks that gives rise to cognition. What are some examples of plant cognition?

How do you define cognition? I’m asking because there’s a whole group of scientists who say we shouldn’t use that term because it means different things.

Would it be any better if I had used the word “intelligence”?

I’ve used the word intelligence in my writing because I think that scientifically we attribute intelligence to certain structures and functions. When we dissect a plant and the forest and look at those things—Does it have a neural network? Is there communication? Is there perception and reception of messages? Will you change behaviors depending on what you’re perceiving? Do you remember things? Do you learn things? Would you do something differently if you had experienced something in the past?—those are all hallmarks of intelligence. Plants do have intelligence. They have all the structures. They have all the functions. They have the behaviors.

Another word that can be slippery is “communication.” I would define communication as any exchange of information. That’s a very big umbrella; it can apply to, say, the co-evolution of berry coloration and bird tastes, so that over time berry color becomes more appealing to birds and correlates with nutrient properties. That’s communication—but we categorize that differently than we do the alarm calls squirrels give when a hawk approaches, or the conversation you and I are having right now. Where in that spectrum do plant communications fall?

Right in there. And we’re prisoners of our own western science; indigenous people have long known that plants will communicate with each other. But even in western science we know it because you can smell the defense chemistry of a forest under attack. Something is being emitted that has a chemistry that all those other plants and animals perceive, and they change their behaviors accordingly.

Putting science on that raises our own awareness that these plants are communicating just like we are. It’s just not a vocal thing—although some people are even measuring acoustics in trees and realizing there’s lots of sounds that we can’t hear, and that could be part of their communication. But I don’t know how far that research has gone. In my own work I’ve looked at the conversation through chemistry.

When you and I communicate, though, regardless of whether it’s through sounds or scents, there are still individuals involved who have internal models of the world. It’s a conversation between conscious individuals, rather than an exchange of information that takes place without some awareness of that information being exchanged. Does that type of communication exist among plants? I’m not trying to reinforce some hierarchy where one type of communication is better than another, but to understand the distinctions.

I think what you’re trying to get at is whether there’s a purposefulness to it.

A purpose, and also some locus to receive and direct that purpose. In the animal intelligence world, some philosophers now talk about pre-reflective self-awareness. The idea is that there’s a coherent sense of self, an awareness that you are you, that’s possessed by all animals by virtue of their having senses and some capacity for memory. The moment there’s perception and memory, there’s a self. Do you think plants have a self that is making those communications?

Those are really good questions. Probably the best evidence we have—and keep in mind that scientists have looked at humans and animals a lot longer than plants—is kin recognition between trees and seedlings that are their own kin. Those old trees can tell which seedlings are of their own seed. We don’t completely understand how they do it, but we know there are very sophisticated actions going on between fungi associated with those particular trees. We know these old trees are changing their behavior in ways that give advantages to their own kin. Then the kin responds in sophisticated ways by growing better or having better chemistry. A parent tree will even kill off its own offspring if they’re not in a good place to grow.

When you go and whack off the top of a plant, there’s a huge response there. It’s not a benign thing. Is that an emotional response?

That last example, of a mother tree killing her offspring if conditions are unfavorable, touches on what I was trying to get at. Does the mother tree know she’s doing it? Is there a choice? Can a mother tree choose whether or not to provide care, and then at some level does she know this?

We have done what we call choice experiments, in which we have a mother tree, a kin seedling, and a stranger seedling. The mother tree can choose which one to provide for. We found that she’ll provide for her own kin over something that’s not her kin. Another experiment is where a mother tree is ill and providing resources for strangers versus kin. There’s differentiation there, too. As she’s ill and dying, she provides more for her kin.

We’ve done lots of experiments where we adjust the health of the donor—the mother tree—versus the health of the recipient, the seedling, by altering levels of shade or nitrogen or water. It matters what condition each of them is in; they can perceive each other, and those decisions are made depending on conditions. If we suppress the health of the recipient seedling, the mother tree will provide more resources than if we don’t.

We focus mostly on a one-way thing rather than both ways. It’s hard to manipulate and measure big old trees; we’ve been trapped by the sheer size of trees and how they respond, how we can manipulate them and then measure their responses because they’re diluted against this bigger array of things going on with them. I think we should do those experiments—it seems crazy that it wouldn’t be a two-way perception.

Does a mother tree have a mental image of those seedlings? Of course, a mental image is a very animal-specific concept. But does it have some internal construct, however it’s represented? Is that the same thing as having a memory of the seedlings in the way I have a memory of, say, my cat? I can think about my cat right now even though he’s in another room, not because I’m perceiving him but because I have a mental construct.

You can look at the rings of a tree. The interactions with seedlings affect growth rates; they affect how much water and nutrients are taken up. People can reconstruct this and say, “Oh, this neighbor died over here in this particular year. This tree got released.” They can even compartmentalize those responses in certain parts of the tree trunk. Different plants have different abilities to do that, but the memory is housed in the tree rings of all trees. In conifers, they also house those memories in the chemistry of their needles. An evergreen tree, for example, will hold on to its needles for five to 10 years.

We know old trees change their behavior to give advantages to their own kin. A parent tree will kill off its own offspring if they’re not in a good place to grow.

In research on animal intelligence, there’s long been an emphasis—arguably it’s still there now—on non-emotional and non-affective forms of cognition. Now more and more researchers are also studying emotions, and realizing that those other forms of cognition, like memory and problem-solving and reasoning, are intertwined with emotion.

If you take the neurobiology underlying our emotions out of the equation, then problem-solving and reasoning don’t develop. With plants, most of the research I’ve read has been about the quote-unquote non-emotional side of things. Is there also emotion in plants?

I wish I knew more about emotion and affective learning. That said, let’s say you have a group of plants and stress one out, it will have a big response. Botanists can measure their serotonin responses. They have serotonin. They also have glutamate, which is one of our own neurotransmitters. There’s a ton of it in plants. They have these responses immediately. If we clip their leaves or put a bunch of bugs on them, all that neurochemistry changes. They start sending messages really fast to their neighbors.

Is that an emotional response? I guess it is. But I can hear my botanist side saying, “That’s not an emotion. That’s just a response.” But I think we can draw these parallels. It comes down to language again, to how we apply this language to look at these responses in plants.

I think bridging that communication gap is important so that people realize that when you go and whack off the top of a plant, there’s a huge response there. It’s not a benign thing. Is that an emotional response? It’s certainly trying to save itself. It upregulates. Its genes respond. It starts producing these chemicals. How is that different than us all of a sudden producing a whole bunch of norepinephrine?

Are there things we’re missing in plants because our concepts of intelligence are drawn from humans and from animals? There could be whole ways of being we don’t even have words for.

I think that we are. I think that we’re so utilitarian with plants and we abuse them to no end. I think that comes from us having our blinders on. We haven’t looked. We just make these assumptions about them that they’re these benign creatures that have no emotion. No intelligence. They don’t behave like we do, so we just block it out.

The other thing I’m going to say is that I made these discoveries about these networks below ground, how trees can be connected by these fungal networks and communicate. But if you go back to and listen to some of the early teachings of the Coast Salish and the indigenous people along the western coast of North America, they knew that already. It’s in the writings and in the oral history.

The idea of the mother tree has long been there. The fungal networks, the below-ground networks that keep the whole forest healthy and alive, that’s also there. That these plants interact and communicate with each other, that’s all there. They used to call the trees the tree people. The strawberries were the strawberry people. Western science shut that down for a while and now we’re getting back to it.

What other relationships are possible? What does it mean to be giving, to be empathic with the vegetal world?

There’s two words that come straight to mind. One of them is responsibility. I think that modern society hasn’t felt a responsibility to the plant world. So being responsible stewards is one thing. And also regaining respect—a respectful interaction with those trees, those plants.

If you’ve ever read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, she talks about how she’ll go into the forest to harvest some plants for medicine or food. She asks the plants. It’s called respectful harvest. It’s not just, “Oh I’m going to ask the plant if I can harvest it, and if it says no, I won’t.” It’s looking and observing and being respectful of the condition of those plants. I think that’s the relationship of being responsible—not just for the plants, but for ourselves, and for the children and multiple generations before and after us.

I think this work on trees, on how they connect and communicate, people understand it right away. It’s wired into us to understand this. And I don’t think it’s going to be hard for us to relearn it.

Brandon Keim is a freelance nature and science journalist. He is the author of “The Eye of the Sandpiper: Stories from the Living World” and “Meet the Neighbors” from W.W. Norton & Company, about what it means to think of wild animals as fellow persons—and what that means for the future of nature. 

How to Have Deeper, More Intimate Conversations

In a time of disconnection, deep conversations can make all the difference.

David Brooks, the opinion columnist for The New York Times, wrote an article last month titled “Mental Health in the Age of the Coronavirus,” describing how the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic were impacting everyone in some way. He quoted Bonnie Badenoch, an expert in trauma, who felt one antidote to this stress was a need to have “deep reciprocal attunement (with others) that makes you feel viscerally safe,” and Martha Welch, a professor at Columbia University, who stressed the need to connect with others by having “vulnerable,” deep conversations. 

Deep conversations may be an important way to connect with those we care about in these difficult times, but they are always a good idea. They are the foundation of strong intimate relationships — those “we talked all night” conversations when dating, or those seemingly rare but cherished, heartfelt times when you lowered your guard and spoke from your heart with someone you trust. They connect you to the human race, to those important in your life, in some way to yourself.

Good idea, but often easier said than done. Here are some tips of going deeper into your conversations:

Make sure it’s a good time to talk

This is a matter of logistics. It’s hard to have a deep conversation when someone is on their cell phone driving to the grocery store or when they are trying to get their three kids to bed. These times are for quick check-ins — how-you-doing, catch-you-later speed conversations. For those deeper conversations you need time; find out if the other person has some. Simple question: Is this a good time to talk?

Set the tone

Because you’re the one initiating this, you need to be the one to set the tone, the one to let the other person know that you’re interested in having more than a how-you-doing check-in. There are two ways of doing this.

One is to set the tone by talking about yourself more deeply than you usually do. You want to move beyond the standard, “I’m good,” to more honest statements about how you are really doing – I’ve been feeling down lately; I don’t know about you, but my kids are driving me crazy; I had been doing okay until Tom and I had this argument last night. This is about self-disclosure and revealing more of you and your feelings. With this introduction, you are letting the other person know what kind of conversation you want to have, what emotional level you are comfortable talking about. You can then turn the conversation towards them.

The other approach is to ask hard questions at the start: Not the “Doing okay?” but “Have you been having a hard time?” “Have you been feeling depressed or worried?” “Are your kids driving you crazy or struggling?” People only know what is safe to talk about based on what you talk about and what you ask. By drilling down into specific, more emotionally difficult conversations, you are letting the other person know that you are ready to hear what they have to say, that you are ready to go there.

Ask about details

Good therapists do this instinctively. They try to move from broad statements (“I’ve been feeling anxious“) to the details: What about, what thoughts have you had, how do you talk to yourself? You don’t need to be a therapist and try to deconstruct the other person’s psychology, but you want to ask about details (about an argument they had or about how the kids are driving them crazy) because emotions ride on content. Broad questions yield broad, bland emotions; detailed questions stir deeper, more poignant feelings. And expressing these deeper emotions and having them accepted glues people together.

Give space between emotions

And when these emotions arise, you only need to acknowledge them (“That must have been hurtful; that sounds so frustrating”) and then stop and be silent. This can be hard—our instincts are to repair, to fix, to make it better by saying the right thing right then to calm the waters. Don’t. Take a few deep breaths, allow room for you both to absorb what has been said (or for them to finish ranting or crying).

Slow down, focus on them

In the same vein, you want to slow the conversation overall. Move through the conversation like a turtle, not a jackrabbit. Keep the focus on them, give them the room and attention they need, and resist using their stories as launchpads to talk about your own. Only when they are done is it time to turn the conversation towards you.  

Take risks

You know if you are moving into more vulnerable and intimate territory if what you want to say makes you feel uncomfortable, you get those butterflies of anxiety. Intimacy is not about disclosing some big, dark secret, but saying anything that is, for you, difficult to say. Take that risk for yourself, and listen for it in the other person. They may say “I’ve never said this before or thought about this before,” or there may be a hesitation or an unfinished sentence and a sigh. Ask them to finish the sentence. Give them space to say what is hard to say. 

Use your anxiety as a sign that you are emotionally plowing new ground. Go deeper to connect.

Answering Yes to These Questions Could Mean Your Emotional Intelligence Is High


Do you display emotional intelligence (EQ) when working with others? How would you know? Over the years I’ve found that EQ does its best work when things get a bit hairy due to opposing personalities and agendas, a stressful work environment, or when your buttons are pushed.

As leaders, when we are being impulsive, shortsighted, reacting with anger in the heat of the moment, or not making decisions in our “right minds,” we are sorely lacking EQ

People with emotional intelligence have the learned capacity to process a situation gone bad, get perspective, and hold back from going to that “bad place.”

By processing over things with a rational and level-headed mind, you’ll eventually arrive at another, more sane conclusion. 

That begs the question, how can you assess your own EQ as a way to measure yourself against its desired behaviors? Simple. Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. Do you respond to people and situations instead of reacting?

There is a difference. In reacting to a stressful moment that’s going south fast, you may end up clouding your thinking and judgment and escalate what should’ve been a manageable dispute into an all-out war. But by responding, rather than reacting, emotionally-intelligent people step back, create space to consider the situation from all angles, and decide the best approach to handle things. 

2. During conflict, are you able to cut through the drama and stick to the facts?

In emotionally-charged moments under pressure-cooker environments, a person with high EQ will explain the outcome she is hoping for and will ask for other ideas for solutions with an open mind. This typically leads to a constructive discussion that may resolve an ongoing issue to everyone’s satisfaction.

3. Do you take in the whole view of the problem and look at all sides of the issue?

People with emotional intelligence look at all sides of the issue and tap into their feelings and those of others to choose a different, and better, outcome. They seek out varied perspectives and solicit opinions of others before acting.

4. Do you manage your emotions better than most people?

Self-control is a personal competence developed in every person. The question behind self-control is: Can I manage my emotions and behavior to a positive outcome? Emotional intelligence expert and bestselling author Daniel Goleman explains:

Reasonable people–the ones who maintain control over their emotions–are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.

Self-control gives one the capacity to be present, calm, and focused during times of high stress. It’s a necessary virtue with long-term payoff.

5. Are you naturally positive and optimistic?

Emotionally intelligent people are positive thinkers who don’t get caught up in things they can’t control, like obsessing over politics or Covid-19. They put their energy and effort on the things within their power — the things that matter most in life, like their business and relationships. Because they’re naturally optimistic, you may find that they are physically and psychologically healthier than those with a negative outlook on life

5 reasons we need emotionally intelligent leaders in times of crisis

In times of crisis, especially unexpected ones, we humans tend to react with a fight-or-flight response. We are hardwired that way; it was programmed into our primitive brain from the time we lived in caves. During times of crisis and fear, such as we are now experiencing, we look to our leaders more than ever to provide us with guidance, hope, and support. While our leaders will not have all the answers, we have expectations that they will find the right people to help them, provide moral support and direction, and shine a light to help us find our way to a better place. We are looking for someone who we trust to have our best interests at heart. This requires a leader who has a level of emotional intelligence in order to manage their emotions and help us in managing ours for the better good of all of us.

Here are five things that emotionally intelligent leaders demonstrate in times of crisis:

EMPATHY

Maya Angelou said, “People will forget the things you do, and people will forget the things you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” How leaders are judged in a difficult time is not necessarily what they said or did, but how they made people feel. While they may say the right words read from a teleprompter, many people will sense if the leader is not being authentic, or simply saying what is expected of them. Leaders who are genuinely empathetic and concerned for the needs of those they represent will come across as honest, sincere, and authentic.

SELF-AWARENESS

Like all of us, leaders have the full range of emotions. Because of their power to influence so many people, the expectation that they will keep their emotions in check are much greater than they are for the rest of us. During times of crisis, the most effective leaders are able to control their fear, their impulse to avoid any responsibility and blame others, that we all struggle with during the most difficult times. To keep their emotions in check, leaders need to be aware of what they are feeling, what emotions may be most difficult for them to manage, and work on having them under control before communicating publicly.

ADAPTABILITY

During a crisis, the situation may change drastically and constantly without warning. It is crucial that leaders are able to move along with the crisis as it changes. Being uncomfortable with not having all the answers, being vulnerable, and relying upon others who are knowledgeable are all traits that highly adaptable leaders share. They don’t pretend to have answers that they don’t have, but they provide assurances and comfort in letting us know that answers will be found.

SOCIAL AWARENESS

Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of how the crisis is affecting those involved and think of this before they communicate publicly. A major fail in this regard came about after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when BP CEO Tony Haywood stated, “I just want my life back.” His lack of awareness of how this came across to the loved ones of those who lost their lives and everyone who was affected made him sound totally tone-deaf. It showed a complete lack of empathy and awareness of how others might feel and see things during this time.

STRONG AUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION

While it is important that a leader have good communications skills during crisis situations, it is also important that they speak with authenticity and in a style that they speak in naturally. People who are used to hearing them speak will pick up when a leader is communicating differently than usual and question their genuineness and authenticity. Communicating through a crisis is often the most difficult thing a leader has to do, and it can push them far out of their comfort zones. The best leaders rise to the occasion and push themselves to the point of allowing the best of themselves to come through.

Highly intelligent people do these 8 things differently

We all like to think of ourselves as smart, capable individuals. But what is intelligence, really? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations” and “the skilled use of reason.” Some are highly intelligent.

Highly intelligent people approach life in a way that allows them to leverage the capacities described above much more efficiently than the average person. They flex their critical thinking muscles and imagination on a regular basis. They seek to cultivate as much awareness as possible. They may have uncommon values and sometimes feel a bit alienated or different. 

Whether you’re wondering how some of the smartest people in the world think and act or you’re simply always on the lookout for ways to better yourself, here are eight things the sharpest minds do differently. Adopt some of the smart habits below and say hello to peak cognitive performance. 

They never stop questioning things

Highly intelligent people know better than to follow groupthink. They don’t make assumptions and set out to form their own opinions. They follow the trail of the seemingly random questions that pop into their mind, as they know that it doesn’t always directly lead to answers but that the question alone might spark a brilliant train of thought.  

They let their mind wander

On that note, the smartest people let their minds travel. They value thoughts that are not immediately directed or practical because these moments cultivate their ability to create and innovate. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something,” said Steve Jobs. 

They follow their intuition

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am,” said Albert Einstein. Incredibly intelligent people use the power of intuition to make decisions. They don’t ignore existing facts or data, but they also know that there are things that have yet to be discovered that only a gut feeling can begin uncovering.

They stay curious

Plato said that learning is, by nature, curiosity. From successful entrepreneurs like Walt Disney to best-selling authors like Elizabeth Gilbert and Nobel prize-winning scientists like Marie Curie, most intelligent people praise the merits of staying curious. So go ahead and keep that childhood ability alive at all costs. 

They practice lateral thinking

Writer and philosopher Edward de Bono coined the concept of lateral thinking, the idea of using an indirect and unconventional approach to view problems in a new light to generate ideas and solutions from a fresh angle. “We assume certain perceptions, certain concepts, and certain boundaries,” wrote de Bono. “Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces.” 

They take notes

Highly intelligent people know that great thoughts can happen at any moment and tend to carry notebooks. “No matter how big, small, simple or complex an idea is, get it in writing. But don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes, go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals. If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room,” said Richard Branson, who credits the birth of some of Virgin’s biggest projects to his note-taking during meetings. 

They seek intellectual stimulation

The smartest people gravitate towards meaningful conversations over small talk and prefer growth-oriented pursuits over binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. They love to continuously learn and broaden their horizons because they know that it improves their ability to solve problems on a regular basis. 

They know that there is so much they don’t know

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing,” said Plato. Einstein echoed a similar sentiment: “As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists.” The brightest minds understand the dangers of being a know-it-all and welcome the unknown as an opportunity to find new insights. Ignorance, on the other hand, is often rooted in firm convictions and absolutes.