Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman Also available in audiobook: Download our app for free listening.

Can you stop bragging about your high IQ, ok dear reader? In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman breaks several myths about IQ and proposes a complementary model, the EQ. Yes, traditional intelligence (IQ) tests are designed to screen candidates based on their ability to process information rather than their likelihood of success. However, there is a great debate against the use of high IQ as a predictor of people's success. Yes, IQ has a role, but for Goleman, most of the time it's not the most important.

It Was Always There...

Evolution has given the human being emotions, to help deal with dangerous situations and respond intelligently to them. After millions of years, we still possess the emotional system of the prehistoric men, who regularly faced with life and death situations. Emotions often outweigh thinking. In a sense, we human beings have two minds, one rational - which thinks and reflects, and another that feels - is impulsive, powerful and occasionally illogical. These two minds work in harmony and balance most of the time, interweaving their different forms of knowledge to guide us through the world. Emotion feeds the operations of the rational mind, which sometimes follows its impulses and in others strives to ignore them. Sometimes intense feelings allow the emotional mind to dominate the rational mind. Strong emotions interfere with our attention and every aspect of thought. Even so, our goal should never be to eliminate emotion, but rather to find an intelligent balance between reason and emotion.

IQ and EQ

For Goleman, IQ contributes to only 20% of our success in life - the remaining 80% is the result of emotional intelligence, which includes factors such as self-motivating ability, persistence, impulse control, The regulation of humor, empathy, and hope. IQ and emotional intelligence (EQ) are not opposing skills - but they work separately. It is possible to be intellectually brilliant, but emotionally unfit, and this kind of misalignment causes the biggest problems in people's lives.

Emotional Intelligence is Composed By 5 Main Aspects:

  • Knowing Your Own Emotions: Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence. When we cannot interpret our feelings, we are at their mercy. If you are certain of your feelings, you have a safer notion of the world, and you are better prepared to make your decisions.

  • Guiding and Controlling Emotions: More than just knowing your own emotions, you need to know how to control them and/or put them in the right direction. It is necessary to know how to deal with one's own feelings, adapting them to each situation. Controlling your emotions is what allows you to recover in situations of defeat and sadness and to control yourself in times of excitement.

  • Self-motivation: Using your emotions to achieve your goals is essential to your effectiveness. Self-motivation means directing your emotions at the service of a goal or personal fulfillment. People who have this ability tend to be much more productive and effective in their day-to-day lives.

  • Acknowledge the emotions of others: Empathy is a fundamental skill. Those who have it are much more suited to social cues that indicate what others need or want. People with developed empathy have better performances in areas like teaching, sales, and management.

  • Knowing how to relate interpersonally: The art of relationships is a crucial social competence for those who seek success. It is based on your ability to guide the emotions of others. People who excel at these skills perform well in any situation that depends on interactions with other people.

Perhaps, They're Hidden...

At first glance, it may seem that our feelings are evident and that we always perceive when they appear. The truth is very different from that. Often our feelings are hidden from us, and emotional self-awareness is a neutral state that must be sought even during the most intense emotions. One must be "aware of our mood and our thinking about this mood." That is, if you are in a bad mood and want to get out of that state, the first step is to know that you are in a bad mood. Do not wait for someone to tell you this. You should always seek to understand your emotional states so that you do not act on impulse and put yourself in situations that hinder your success.

Know The Emotional Profiles

People usually adopt some typical profiles to face their emotions, they are:

  • Self-conscious: These tend to understand their emotional lives well and be clear about how they feel. These people tend to be independent, sure of their limits and tend to be positive about the world. When faced with moodiness, they tend to overcome it with relative ease.

  • Submerged: This profile feels flooded in their emotions and has difficulty understanding and controlling them. In a bad mood, for example, they tend not to move out of this state and often do not even notice it.

  • Accommodated (conformed): They are people who understand the emotions they feel, but tend not to strive to change them. They are susceptible to their moods, they understand them, but they do not strive to change them. Self-awareness is the basis for managing emotions and being able to deal with your emotions. Do not be submerged or conformed!

You Have Fire in Your Eye...

The ability to cope with emotional challenges has been admired as a virtue since Plato's time. On the other hand, we cannot leave aside our passions and preferences. A life without passion would be tedious, so your goal is always to have the right emotions and always respond to the circumstances. When emotions are suppressed, they can create boredom and distance. On the other hand, when they are out of control, extreme and persistent, they can become pathological.

To understand how to deal with our emotions, we need to understand how our brain works. The truth is that our brain has almost no control over the emotions that will be awakened by something, nor when it will occur. On the other hand, we have control over how long an emotion will last and how susceptible we will be to it. It is possible to change our habits and emotions. Even in severe cases, through treatments, psychotherapies, etc.

A good example of difficult emotion to avoid is anger. You can be angry with that jerk at work, and it will probably be difficult to avoid it. What can not happen is that you stay for hours in this state, that you become vulnerable to his attitudes which bother you and that your productivity goes down the drain. If you notice that you started to feel angry, a good way to get rid of it, for example, is to find a distraction. How about scrolling through Excel or falling headlong into that report you have to submit? How about leaving early and running a race? Relieving and overcoming anger is important, but we cannot let it become sadness. Sadness often relieves anger, but it leads to depression. To break a cycle of depression or sadness, we need to block the thoughts that depress us. The solution is relatively simple: to perform pleasurable activities. Any kind of thing that pleases us. It can be a sport, a prayer, helping the poor. The most important tool here is whether to restructure cognitively, that is, to change your perception of the current situation, to stop seeing it from a negative point of view and to view it from a positive perspective. Remember, everything has a good side!

Anxiety, Gratification, and Motivation

Motivation is crucial to achieving your goals. Athletes and musicians stand out for their self-motivation and their high-performance training routines. Our emotions change our ability to think and plan our future and to deal with them allows us to reach our goals and goals and define our performance. For this reason, an essential ability is to be able to repress emotions and impulses that we have in search of instant gratification. Knowing whether to ignore momentary bonuses like that delicious little snack or to win some change easily is the key to long-term success. Want to go on a diet? Want to become a Ph.D.? There are no shortcuts. You will have to focus on the long run and let go of the small incentives.

Our anxiety harms our rational mind, while good humor nourishes our ability to think. If you have self-control, you may be able to use your anxiety as fuel to stay motivated. The relationship between anxiety and performance is like an upside-down U. Little anxiety means that there is no motivation, which leads to poor performance. On the other hand, too much anxiety harms our rational side and makes us unable to make good decisions. The best performance is in the middle of the inverted U, in a state called hypomania, which is ideal for finding your maximum creativity and performance.

Hypomania is a mood change similar to an obsession, mania, but with less intensity. The person feels very good, with enough energy and this leaves him/her motivated. Hope and optimism also play important roles in our lives. Hope means not getting carried away by negativity or moments of depression. Optimism means assigning your failure to the things you can change, so that, in the end, things run smoothly. If you can change your destiny, there is no reason to be depressed. Optimism is essential for success in the business world, where people need to move fast and create their own opportunities!

Note from 12min: If you are master of your destiny, you are able to overcome the most difficult challenges!

Feel The Flow...

There is a state of high performance that was discovered by psychologists called 'flow' or here among us of the 12’ team, flowzão. It is an example of emotional intelligence at its best: Flow appears when we are fully committed to a task in which we are skilled. It is a mental zone where productivity is maximum. The focus is totally dedicated to the task and distractions, competitors and problems completely disappear. Entering the flow is the optimum point of emotional intelligence when it comes to putting emotions at the service of performance and learning. In the flow, emotions are not only contained and channeled. They are stimulated and aligned with an immediate task. Getting stuck in the boredom of depression or in the agitation of anxiety are things that get you out of the flow. Flow is an experience that almost everyone has from time to time, especially when it achieves optimal performance and breaks down its barriers. The brain becomes calm in this state of flux and makes a difficult task to be performed using a minimum of energy.

Empathy: Feel for Others

Emotions are not manifested in words. The key to intuiting someone else's feelings lies in their ability to interpret nonverbal cues: the tone of voice, gestures, facial expression, movements. The more emotionally conscious we are, the more skilled we will be at reading others’ feelings. The ability to relate begs for this empathy, whether you need to advise a friend or want to create rapport with a potential business partner. People who have empathy skills are able to adjust to their environment and become more popular and friendly. Empathy begins from infancy as a baby and is based on the imitation of the feelings of others.

When you were a child, you would not physically imitate what you saw in other people. The relationship between the baby and the mother comes naturally from their close daily relationship. A child knows when the mother is sad or happy almost instinctively. That is empathy, and feeling emotionally connected.

To connect, you have to care. Empathy means trying to feel the same, and if you do not mind, you end up developing your antipathy. Often our empathic attitudes come from our moral judgments. Would you lie to not hurt your girlfriend? It is important to understand how empathy affects your judgment so that you make the morally correct decision for yourself. The roots of morality must be found in empathy, since empathizing with those affected (e.g., someone suffering from pain, danger or deprivation) and sharing their distress is what drives people to act to help them.

The Social Arts

Most of our social contacts are subtle and gradually unfold, meeting by meeting. We convey and capture others’ moods and what happens is that while some encounters are fantastic, others turn out to be toxic to our lives. Emotional demonstrations have immediate consequences on your relationship with others on a day-to-day basis. Each attitude wins or loses credit when it comes to showing our emotions to others. This emotional exchange occurs in a subtle and often confusing way. The simple way someone greets you and says "hi!" Can make us feel good or ignored.

So we need to understand how we function. We humans often send emotional signals in every encounter with others and unconsciously imitate the emotions we see in others. Yes, emotions are contagious! Our signs affect others all the time. Do you know those friends who walk together every day? Notice how they speak in a similar way and act in sync. This coordination of emotions is the adult version of the tuning between the baby and the mother. It is the true key to interpersonal efficiency. The more socially skilled we are, the better we control the signals we emit. Emotional intelligence refers to being able to control how much and how you expose your feelings. Popular people are those who make us feel good in their presence.

While Dating or Married

In a couple, there are two distinct emotional realities, that of each one involved. Men and women have different emotional models that come from their upbringing and even biological. Overall, women are better at communicating their emotions, while men tend to minimize and hide them. Emotional intelligence can help counter the personal and social tensions that make relationships fail. To avoid disagreements in a relationship, you must know how to criticize an action without attacking the person. Personal attacks leave people's feelings hurt and put them on the defensive. In a relationship, it is necessary to recognize that bad habits do not change from one day to the next. They require persistence and attitude. The main thing is to learn to be calm and master your impulses. One must listen without being defensive and strive to empathize with the situations of others.

In Your Office, With Your Team:

The arrogance of some bosses has proven to demotivate their teams and disrupt productivity. The application of emotional intelligence to lead is crucial, and its main tool is feedback. Good leaders and managers must learn not only to give feedback effectively but also to accept it intelligently. You have to be careful not to confuse criticism with a personal attack. A constructive criticism must be made personally, with empathy, including praise and a focus on solutions. People who receive criticism should seek to learn from it and accept it as a real opportunity for improvement. Nowadays, the emotional coefficient of a team is due to its ability to work in harmony, making the best use of the individual talents of each member.

In your health: The emotional brain is directly related to your immune system. Stress makes us more susceptible to infectious diseases. Hostility and aggression have been associated with heart problems. That is why it is necessary to work our emotional brain as well. Relaxation exercises, sports, pleasure activities are ways to work and "work out" our emotional muscles. Guiding feelings can be a way to prevent illness, stay alert and see if any of them can be impacting your health and well-being.

I Was Born This Way...

Your temperament is innate. It accompanies you from the moment you are born and is directly associated with your genetics. Each person feels different emotions and with different durations in the same situation. What we have to ask ourselves is: Can we change our temperament through our everyday experiences? Our brain is not fully formed at birth. It continues to grow and develop as time goes by. Family life is the first great emotional apprenticeship, and in it, we learn to understand our feelings and express them. It is important to understand how our feelings are shaped, their origins and when they occur so that we can, throughout our lives, increase our emotional intelligence and also develop that of our children. It is essential that you support the emotional development of children. As a parent or teacher, you should promote emotional skills by encouraging them to talk about how they feel. Make it clear to them that their emotional state helps them control their lives and achieve their goals. It is also important to always give constructive criticism. If you are going to criticize something, do it with tact and affection, and highlight the positives as well.

Final Notes:

Emotional demonstrations have immediate consequences on your relationship with other people on a day-to-day basis. Each attitude wins or loses credit when it comes to showing our emotions to others and understanding how they feel. The emotional factor of our intelligence is responsible for most of our success, and we must develop it. It is easier to develop your emotional intelligence (EQ) throughout your life than your intelligence quotient (IQ). Empathizing with people, giving constructive criticism and not succumbing to their impulses are essential skills.

12min tip: If you enjoyed learning more about emotions with this microbook, how about more about emotions with How to Win Friends and Influence People?

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