Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman) - Book Summary

Emotional Intelligence is the world's top bestseller   with more than 5 million copies sold. The work outlines the nature of emotional intelligence and shows its enormous impact on so many facets of life. It also describes the ways emotional intelligence develops and how you can improve it.

The book offers a new perspective from the overly rationalistic approach so prevalent in psychology departments.

The author also provides readers with new insights into the link between success, cognitive abilities, and perceptual abilities, along with helpful tips for raising your EQ.

Who should read this book?

  • Anyone who disagrees with traditional methods of measuring intelligence
  • Anyone wondering if IQ determines success
  • Anyone trying to maximize their own potential.

Who is the author of this book?

Daniel Goleman is a famous psychologist and writer. During his long career, he has received numerous awards including a lifetime achievement award from the American Psychological Association and was nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize twice.

His works cover a wide range of topics from meditation to ecology. However, he writes extensively on the intersection and correlation between emotion, performance, and leadership.

1. How can this book help me?

Some people think that emotions only play a role in love relationships or provoke people to fights. In reality, however, emotions are ubiquitous: they shape our decisions, help us make sense of the world, and play an important role in any of our interactions with people.

This book explains in detail the impact of emotions on your day-to-day life, which is sometimes helpful, but often misguided. It also emphasizes the role of emotional intelligence (EI), which helps us use our emotions correctly to create positive outcomes and avoid adverse situations.

It explains how emotional intelligence can create a harmonious interaction between the rational brain and the emotional part. It also shows us how to learn and expand this ability.

Finally, the book also answers interesting questions such as: How does emotional intelligence develop in individuals and why is this ability so necessary for society as a whole?

2. Emotions are important; They help us learn new things, understand others, and spur action

Emotions must be obstacles? Will humans live better when we remove the emotional part to become an emotionless, rational being?

In fact, emotions are essential because they provide advantages that enable us to live a more fulfilling life.

One of those advantages is that emotions help us learn from memories.

When the brain stores experiences, it doesn't just collect facts. It also records how we feel, and they help us learn from experience. For example, if a boy touches a hot oven, he will experience great pain. The thought of touching another furnace in the future is accompanied by a memory of that pain. So it was these feelings that would stop him from harming himself again.

Another value of emotions is that they help us interpret other people's feelings, which in turn aid in predicting their actions. For example, imagine you once faced an angry man. From his body language — clenched fists or shouting tone — you can infer his emotional state. Thanks to that, you can predict what he will do next; for example whether he is about to hit someone or not.

The ultimate benefit that emotions give us is to motivate action. We need emotional catalysts to be able to react quickly. Going back to the angry man in the previous example. If you feel that he is about to get angry, the emotions will make you feel threatened and even angry again, so putting you on the defensive if he looks like he is about to attack. .

People who lose the ability to feel also lose motivation to act. For example, in the nineteenth century, many psychiatric patients underwent a "brain separation" surgery called lobotomy. Doctors have cut off the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, making them unable to process emotions as perfectly as before. As a result, people who have had their brains split have lost the urge to act, as well as most of their perceptive powers.

3. Sometimes emotions can distort judgment and cause us to act irrationally

Emotions are important tools for understanding and interacting with our environment. However, they are also flawed and can cause us to make rupa.

One of the most common mistakes we make is when we become over-stimulated. To be able to make wise judgments, we need to think coherently. Like a juggler, our mind can only handle a few tasks at a time. And when we are in a state of extreme excitement, our thoughts will be filled with strong emotions. As a result, the brain leaves no room for rational thinking, making our judgments biased.

For example, when you're scared, you may observe yourself overreacting, thinking the situation is more dangerous than it really is. When information enters the brain, part of it passes through the part of the brain responsible for reason - the neocortex - and straight into the emotional brain. If it judges this information to represent a potential danger, the emotional brain will trigger an immediate response, without consulting the rational brain.

That's why you will be startled when you are in the middle of the jungle at night and suddenly see a strange shape moving.

We also often behave irrationally when influenced by past emotional reactions.

We often apply current behavioral patterns based on past experiences, even when circumstances have changed. For example, a boy who was abused at school can grow up to be a strong man, but still can't shake the feeling of being bullied by his peers as a child.

While emotions are important, they can take control of our minds and disrupt our logical thinking. So we need to have a method to manage them more effectively.

4. Emotional intelligence can help you manage your emotions, and you can harness them to achieve your goals.

So how can you harness the power of emotions without being overwhelmed by them?

You need emotional intelligence (EI), because it will help you better perceive and manage your feelings, rather than being controlled by them.

The first aspect of EI is the ability to recognize and label your current feelings.

This step is essential for you to be able to control your emotions. Studies show that people who are unable to recognize their feelings are more likely to erupt in violence.

Once you are able to register your emotions, you need to trace their source.

Often how you feel in a situation depends on how you think about it. For example, if you accidentally run into someone you know on the street and he or she doesn't call you, you might immediately think that they're avoiding you on purpose. This can make you uncomfortable or even angry.

But, if you stop thinking about why he's ignoring you, you can find other reasons that make you less upset. For example, the person may not see you because he is absorbed in his thoughts and not paying attention to his surroundings.

As you begin to recognize and manage your feelings, emotional intelligence will help you better focus on accomplishing your goals.

For example, imagine you need to do a school assignment. You don't really enjoy the subject and would rather go to the film festival. Emotional intelligence will help you manage these mixed feelings.

Although this subject is boring, you can try to look at it from a different angle. Maybe a certain topic will interest you. Also, being aware of how the festival feels on you, you can delay the euphoria and save the opportunity for fun for another occasion.

Students who can organize their work in this way often do well in school even if they have low IQs.

5. Emotional intelligence is the ability you need to not get lost in society

Unless you live on a deserted island, it will be difficult for you to live a happy life just by managing your mind. The people around you play a big part in your existence, and only by managing your social interactions with them can you hope to live a fulfilling life.

Again, emotional intelligence can help you achieve this.

EI promotes good social interactions because it helps you put yourself in the other person's shoes. Knowing how you feel in a certain situation will help you gauge how others would feel in a similar environment.

EI also helps you discover other people's emotions by analyzing their nonverbal cues. This means you can gauge the other person's mood just by looking at cues like facial expressions or body language.

For example, if you meet someone with a white face and wide mouth, you will probably conclude that they have just experienced a shock.

Moreover, you will be able to recognize these signs automatically, without having to think hard.

Because, EI helps you empathize with others, it will help you behave properly, make people like you more.

For example, imagine you are the manager of a company in which one employee repeatedly makes the same mistake. You will need to talk to him and change him, but you have to know how to do this subtly. If you hurt him, he will probably become angry or defensive, and it will be difficult for him to make the changes you want. If you empathize and imagine how he would feel, you can come up with better interventions.

In general, people with high emotional intelligence can develop social leanings such as teaching, conflict resolution or staff management. And these gifts can help them maintain good life relationships.

6. Emotional intelligence requires a balance between the “feeling brain” and the “thinking brain.”

The way we think and feel is closely related. This is because the thinking brain, where you develop your ability to think rationally, and the feeling brain - the mother of emotions - are connected by wires. nerve.

Our EI depends on these connections and any damage to the nerve pathways can produce a decrease in EI.

For example, a person whose sensory brain is separated from the thinking part will no longer experience emotions. Deficiencies in this section will lead to loss of emotional awareness, a key component of EI. Evidence has been found in patients who had surgery to separate the two hemispheres of the brain. After the connection between the left brain and the right brain is lost, you have blinded your perceptive powers.

Another example of the importance of connections between the two parts of the brain is the role of the thinking brain in regulating the functioning of the emotional part of the brain – an essential step in emotional self-control.

Emotional self-control works in the following ways: a stimulus, such as a sudden loud sound, will often activate the part of your emotional brain that takes over. It will automatically assess the outside impact as a danger, and will respond by putting yourself on alert.

We use the thinking brain to help regulate this process. After hearing a loud bang, and while the emotional part of the brain is ringing alarm bells throughout the body, the thinking part of the brain checks again to see what the nature of the stimulus was. If you don't notice any danger, it "cools down" the sensory brain and body, allowing you to think more calmly. That's why we don't always overreact to every noise we hear.

If you disconnect the part of the brain that thinks and feels, the process won't work. For example, patients with severely damaged thinking brains find it difficult to control their emotions.

7. Emotional intelligence can make you healthier and more successful

What is the key to a successful and fulfilling life?

You might think of it as a high IQ – the most talented have the best chance of being happy. However, emotional intelligence is just as important as IQ on the road to glory.

Evidence shows that people with high EI are more likely to succeed.

For example, studies show that students with high levels of empathy score higher than students with similar IQs.

Those who can control their instincts will also be more successful than their peers. A study conducted at Stanford University called  "The marshmallow challenge"  to measure the ability of a group of 4-year-old children to resist delicious food. Years later, children who were able to control their desires as children were found to do better in school and be more successful in society.

High EQ is also beneficial at work. Managers who master social skills are also often better able to persuade people.

Moreover, emotional intelligence can help us lead a healthier life.

We can test this result by looking at stress. When going through difficult times, our heart is greatly damaged by high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack.

Stress can also weaken the immune system, as shown in one study that showed that people who are under stress are more likely to catch the flu than the general population.

However, emotional intelligence can help us avoid the dangers of stress. The reason is that if you want to learn how to reduce negative feelings like anxiety and anger, you will be able to prevent their negative effects on your health. For example, in one clinical study, people who had had a heart attack once were taught how to manage anger, leading to a significantly lower risk of heart failure.

Despite the dramatic effects of emotional intelligence on success and health, school curricula have too little focus on these emotional management skills.

8. The future of society will depend on children's emotional intelligence

While high EQ can make people happy and healthy, low EQ has huge negative effects on society as a whole. For example, a three-fold increase in the teen homicide rate in the United States between 1965 and 1990 may be related to a decline in EQ.

There is compelling evidence that an EQ deficiency can increase the risk of vandalism – a big factor in increased crime rates.

For example, studies show that juvenile delinquents often have a lower ability to control their own desires as well as the ability to read other people's facial expressions – deficiencies also found in offenders. adult sex crime. Addicts also exhibit EQ problems. For example, people addicted to heroin find it difficult to control their anger even before they become addicted.

There is no doubt that a child's future also depends a lot on emotional competence. Children who grow up in environments surrounded by emotional people also show higher EQ later on. This result is also confirmed by a study showing that children with high EQ parents manage their emotions better, have lower stress levels, do better in school than their peers, and are rated as proficient by their teachers. more life.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a child's EQ is also linked to his well-being. Children who lack self-awareness, empathy, or control over their desires are more likely to develop mental problems and often have more trouble at school.

All this evidence shows that children's emotional intelligence needs to be nurtured and developed by adults. The children of today will be the parents, administrators and politicians of tomorrow. In short, many people will have a great impact on the society of the future, and any community will benefit if leaders are empathetic, good at resolving conflicts and not blindly acting on their own. instinct.

Several other diverse social factors also shape the health of future communities, but EQ clearly has a huge influence.

9. Some Ways to Raise Your EQ

So far you've learned that emotional intelligence can make you more fulfilled, now you might ask if it's possible to increase it.

The answer is yes, and a variety of exercises can help you achieve this.

If you want to boost your self-awareness and self-management, you can practice using inner dialogues. It will help you identify and name your feelings.

For example, if your best friend tells everyone about his marriage problems but only you don't know, you may feel angry. But self-talk can help you get better at solving this problem. You should ask yourself, “Why am I upset? Because my best friend ignores me?"

Now, having identified this feeling and its source, you can work on it to reduce the negativity. You might say to yourself, "I've been sidelined maybe because he doesn't want to bother me when I'm busy." Looking at it from this angle, you may feel more comfortable.

If you want to improve your empathy, try mimicking someone else's body language. It works because gestures don't just reflect emotions – it creates them. So, for example, by mimicking a person's relaxed posture, you can create a sense of relaxation within yourself.

If you want to improve your self-motivation and think more positively, follow this advice:

You explain how your successes and failures affect your ability to motivate yourself. To inspire yourself, start thinking like this: people who convince themselves that the reason for their failure is their own, not the outside world's, and that they can change it themselves, don't give up easily. . They keep trying because they believe they are in control of their lives.

On the other hand, those who attribute personal deficiencies to fixed are likely to give up sooner. They tell themselves that they don't have the influence to succeed. If you want to be successful, avoid this mindset.

10. You can use emotional intelligence in many different situations, from work to love life

By this point, you've probably learned a little about emotional intelligence. But you might ask yourself – how can I put this knowledge into practice?

Here are a few tips that can help you use emotional intelligence in your daily life.

The first message is this:  you can avoid misunderstandings in a relationship if you pay attention to the different ways men and women deal with emotions. Usually, girls are taught to share their feelings and connect with people through intimate conversation, but boys are told to minimize feelings that make them look vulnerable.

For example, if a girlfriend complains about a problem, her boyfriend's reaction might be to immediately offer advice. But that lacks subtlety; Usually when girls confide in boredom, she just wants approval. She wants her partner to listen and show that he understands her. So offering an immediate solution could be interpreted as a denial of her fatigue rather than an attempt by the guy to help. You'd better listen to her problems more attentively.

You can also follow the following advice. If you get very angry during an argument, try to pause to calm down. Strong emotions often stifle your thinking so you can say or do things you'll regret later.

Some marriage counselors even advise couples to monitor their heart rate during conflicts. A heart rate increase of more than 10 bpm on average indicates that the person is too distracted to think rationally and needs to rest for a while.

A final piece of advice:  if you have to criticize someone, be specific and offer a solution. By picking just one error and pinpointing the correct response, you'll get your message across clearly and leave your audience feeling unsettled or uninformed.

Main message

Our emotions are important because they guide and motivate us to act. However, they also cause us to act irrationally. That's why we need emotional intelligence. EI is a set of skills that help you perceive and manage emotions – both your own and others.