Debaters are passionate, creative individuals who are ideally suited to brainstorm a multitude of ideas for any problem that needs a solution. Their energy and thirst for knowledge create a deep desire to know certain topics from every angle. This combination of personality traits results in the unique ability to argue (convincingly) for any topic – even those with which they do not personally agree.
All these strengths are fantastic, but they can prevent (and even hinder) Debaters from fully developing other important skills – specifically, their emotional intelligence. Ideas excite them. Emotions, however, are far too subjective and irrational for those with this personality type to use as a tool in their intellectual arsenal.
This doesn’t apply to just their emotions, either – others’ feelings can also be overwhelming. Debaters can get so wrapped up in their own ideas and arguments that they miss the cues that others provide about their feelings. They may even reject others’ emotions point-blank – and may attempt to convince others that there is little value to be had in addressing their “subjective feelings.”
Emotions as a Tool
It helps to understand the true purpose of emotions. They can certainly be viewed as tools that are useful when constructing and presenting an argument. However, that’s only one component. Where emotional intelligence really provides value is in the deeper and more satisfying knowledge of both oneself and others.
Fortunately, Debaters excel at diving into new topics with zeal. Their desire to understand something well enough to argue its merits effectively gives these personalities the drive to absorb and process information quickly. Learning about emotional intelligence only goes so far, however. For Debaters to truly become emotionally proficient, they must practice implementation.
Assertiveness, for example, is a component of emotional intelligence that Debaters specifically can struggle with. What they may see as a delightful game of devil’s advocate can come across to others (especially Introverted and/or Feeling personality types) as an attack on their deeply held beliefs. A failure to temper their assertiveness when dealing with other, more reserved personalities, can result in anger and hurt feelings between everyone involved.
Building an Emotional Toolbox
So, the real question that needs to be answered is, “How?” How does one learn not only to become aware of their emotions but also to develop and use them to become a more well-rounded, effective individual? The best way to do this is to build an emotional toolbox that addresses the specific issues that are most relevant to you.
Debaters struggling with their relationships, for example, may want to focus on improving their empathy and emotional expression. Doing some basic research on these skills and practicing them is a great first step. (This article can help!) Perhaps work isn’t going well. In that case, learning more about healthy problem-solving and stress management skills can be helpful.
If you’re a Debater, the following steps can help you make your emotions work for you (instead of against you):
Identify a situation where you are struggling.
Example: You have been trying to pay off your student loans for several years, but the balance just doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.
Write down three to five words that describe your feelings about that situation.
Example: You write the following feeling words about this situation – angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, hopeless.
Turn those words into action plans.
1. I will channel my anger into motivation to pay down this debt faster.
2. The cause of my frustration is a debt balance that never seems to get any smaller. I will contact my local credit union (and any other resources I can find) to discuss different options to deal with this issue.
3. To prevent myself from being overwhelmed, I will develop a step-by-step action plan for making extra money and paying back this debt.
4. My mental health is important, and feeling hopeless will not help this situation. I will start journaling regularly about how I feel and join an online community of individuals who are working toward similar goals in positive, supportive ways.
There is much to gain and nothing to lose for Debater personalities who embark upon the journey of developing their emotional intelligence. That said, focusing solely on improving these skills without appreciating the progress that one has made, or the positive relationships that one already has, can be detrimental.
Taking time each day to think about things that bring them happiness – such as relationships, hobbies, or even a special possession – can improve a Debater’s overall mood and well-being. In fact, creating an intentional gratitude practice is one of the most effective ways to promote even more positive emotions.
Whatever struggles Debater personality types may face, leveraging their creativity and passion for increasing their knowledge will help them find suitable resolutions to their problems. Our Academy is a great starting point for this journey, as are the articles suggested below. However, we want to hear from you! What techniques or tools do you use to improve your emotional shortcomings? Let us know!