In the name of psychology and neuroscience, Daniel Goleman shares his insights on why IQ is not an accurate predictor of how well one does in life. A new metric is called for, one he calls, ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Everyone has the capacity to develop their emotional skills and improve their EQ. This book shows you some examples of ways to cultivate your emotional intelligence so you can put them to work at home, in the workplace, and in your relationships.
Daniel Goleman argues that IQ isn’t everything our current view of intelligence is too narrow ignoring important abilities that determine how well we do in life. The superior metric that Goleman prefers to use is to measure life success and that is EQ otherwise known as “emotional intelligence”. It’s made up of these five things: 1. Self-awareness: This is knowing one’s emotions as they happen. If you can do this you’ll make better decisions. 2. Managing emotions: This is the ability to handle feelings. People who can manage their emotions are good at bouncing back from the setbacks in life. 3. Self motivation: Self Motivation is what pushes us to achieve our goals, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life. 4. Empathy: This is recognizing emotions of others. This is the people skill that makes people better at teaching sales and management. 5. Handling relationships: These abilities lead to popularity, leadership and interpersonal effectiveness.
So how do we improve our emotional intelligence?
Golemon offers various insights throughout the book.
The Ventilation Fallacy – Venting When You’re Angry Prolongs Your Mood Rather Than End It.
Goleman tells of a story where he’s in New York and he gets in a cab. The impatient cab driver honks the horn signaling a young man to move out of the way. The young man flips a bird so the cab driver yells back, followed by revving the engine loudly out of anger as a cab takes off the driver and then says you can’t take shit from anyone. You gotta yell back at least it makes you feel better contrary. To popular belief, Goleman along with findings from multiple studies argues that venting your anger doesn’t make you feel better but instead prolongs and amplifies your anger. It pumps up the emotional brain’s arousal and leaves people feeling more angry. Don’t get confused though venting when you’re sad that can be a great way to get your feelings validated but isn’t as effective when you’re angry so, when you feel yourself becoming angry what can you do to control your anger are take a few deep breaths to help you relax and slow down your heart rate. This helps your body go from a high arousal to a low arousal state. Better go for a walk but don’t indulge and anger inducing thoughts. As bad thoughts come to you. Write them down and then re frame them for example, if your spouse gets upset at you and storms out the room instead of thinking . Oh she’s so cranky all the time and for no reason it drives me nuts. Write down that thought and re frame it. Maybe she’s just had a bad day at work.
Don’t Ruminate When You’re Sad, Distract Yourself Instead.
A saleswoman gets depressed and spent so many hours worrying about it that she doesn’t get around to important sales and calls herself or making her feel like a failure which feeds her depression but if she reacted to depression by trying to distract herself she might well plunge into the sales calls. As a way to get her mind off the sadness sales, it would be less likely to decline and the very experience of making a sale might boost their self confidence. Lessening their depression somewhat what Goleman is trying to say here is that continuing to think negative thoughts will lead you deeper into sadness, Distractions are what break the chain of sadness. Maintaining thinking the best distractions are ones that will shift your moods such as a funny movie, reading an uplifting book or going to an exciting sport event. He says distractions are more effective than crying because crying often reinforces rumination and prolongs misery. Goleman offers for more solutions to managing sadness. A aerobic exercise is good because it changes your physiological state. Depression is a low arousal state. An aerobic exercise counters up by putting you into a high arousal state. Be go for that easy success. Do that small tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while and reap the rewards. Re frame the situation like that with anger then take note of bad thoughts when they come to you and see them in a more positive light. Lastly help others in need it helps us empathize with others and lifts us out of negativity.
The Artful Critique – How To Criticize The Right Way.
Criticism is important in how it is given. It determines how satisfied people are with their work. With those when they work with and those who are responsible one of the worst criticisms. If you’re managing people then it is to say you’re screwing up by delivering in a harsh and a sarcastic angry tone. It provides neither a chance to respond nor any suggestion of how to do things. Better it ignores the person’s feelings and leaves them feeling helpless and angry. A much more effective way to criticize would be to say the main difficulty at this stage is that your plan will take too long and so escalate costs as “I’d like you to think more about your proposal especially the design specifications for your software development to see if you can figure out a way to do the same job”. More quickly this gives them hope of doing better and suggests the beginning of a plan to do so. Golemon says you need few things to successfully deliver constructive criticism they are be specific, offer a solution to do it face to face and be sensitive by showing empathy.
Emotional Contagion – Set The Emotional Tone.
So in a simple experiment two volunteers filled out a checklist about their merits at the moment and then start facing each other quietly. Waiting for the experimenters to return to the room, Two minutes later the experiments returned and were asked him to fill out the mood checklist again. The pair’s were purposely chosen so that one partner was highly expressive of emotion and one who appeared flat and expressionless. It turns out that the mood of the expressive person had been transferred to the expressionless person. This is an example of emotional contagion. Our emotions are contagious like a virus, they spread through others. This is why speakers like “Tony Robbins” are able to hype up their audience and get them involved. They show their passion and energy which spreads through the audience like wildfire. Goleman says this ability to drive the emotional state and another person through emotional contagion is at the heart of influencing people. Whether that’s through speaking teaching singing or in any other interpersonal communication with you.
“The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.”
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Also published on Medium.