Emotional Intelligence makes the argument that our emotional intelligence (EQ) – defined as self awareness, impulse control, empathy, persistence and motivation – is an integral part of human intelligence and is a better predictor of life success than narrow focus IQ tests
Emotional Intelligence Summary
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is a genre-defining treatise on the importance of emotional mastery.
Drawing on research from neuroscience and psychology, Goleman argues that our ability to identify, respond to and master our emotional physiology, expressed as EQ, is a fertile ground for determining the factors of overall success and seems to play a more important role in realising human potential than conventional intelligence quotients.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- The importance of emotional mastery was emphasised by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics.
- Neuroscience suggests emotions arise from the primitive brain and play an important evolutionary role both adaptive and maladaptive.
- Emotions have the power to override the neocortex, hijacking rational thought in a fight or flight response to stimuli.
- IQ slightly correlates to emotional intelligence but in many ways they work separately and are honed independently.
- The Socratic ‘know thyself’ speaks to the importance of emotional self awareness and the power that emotions can have on our own perception.
- Those who master their emotions with self-aware positive response develop an ability to be unflappable.
- Entering into a flow state is the ultimate form of mastery and demonstrates healthy emotional intelligence in action.
- The brain is hard-wired to develop emotional empathy which is a further virtue of emotional mastery and is absent in cases of criminal sociopathy.
- Social competency is a further hallmark of high-EQ, developed from childhood, where personal connections, organising groups and reading the room are learned skills.
- Healthy relationships and marriages depend on mutual emotional intelligence including trust, communication, empathy, positive regard and other skills.
- Knowledge-based employment increasingly relies on Emotional Intelligence (soft skills) as value is derived from creative teamwork over machined efficiency.
- Healthcare increasingly recognises the integral role of emotional wellbeing when treating physical disease.
- Neuroplasticity, especially in children, suggests the biggest opportunity to develop EQ (or risk of underdevelopment) lies in our earliest years.
- Psychotherapy has a limited ability to reset maladaptive neural pathways but can encourage us to forebear emotional hijacking and choose a better response.
- There is some evidence that the mental health related problems of modernity are linked to disrupted EQ in childhood years – suggesting that this should be an area of focus for governments, families and individuals.
- The classic name for emotional intelligence (Character, Maturity) hints that many societies are currently undercooking the benefits of traditional values, institutions and beliefs (e.g. religion, nuclear families, neighbourhood ethos)