EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by Daniel Coleman

According to Coleman in the book, IQ contributes, at best, 20% towards a persons success, and EQ is a significant part of the remaining 80%.

In my quest to build on my emotional intelligence, I found this book in my hands, and it has made drastic impact on shaping me and I’m going to share the key things I took out from the book.

KEY IDEAS FROM THE BOOK

Part 1: The Emotional Brain

The human brain has two parts: the emotional brain and the rational brain. In our evolutionary history, the emotional brain came first and is the bottom base of the brain. The rational brain came later and is in the outer upper regions. Due to the structure of the brain and its connections with the body, the emotional brain acts faster than the rational brain, and the emotional brain can also override the rational brain.


Part 2: The Nature of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is about five important abilities.

1. Emotional self-awareness: Being aware of your emotions when they happen, particularly the negative ones like anxiety, depression, and anger.


2. Emotional self-regulation: Using techniques to manage negative emotions so that they dont last so long. Techniques include reframing a situation that made you angry, increasing physical arousal if depressed, and reducing physical arousal if anxious. See below for more details.


3. Self-motivation: Being hopeful and optimistic in the face of difficulty, and using goal-directed self-imposed delayed gratification to achieve goals, and using flow state to reach peak performance.


4. Awareness of others emotions: Having empathy, which requires us to be calm enough such that we can mirror the other persons physiological state, allowing us to literally feel what they feel.


5. Handling relationships: Knowing how to argue and resolve conflicts (e.g., using the XYZ method), and avoiding emotional flooding during communications.
Emotional flooding is when your heart rate rises by more than 10 beats per minute during a difficult conversation. The two sides should take a 20-minute break to calm down before resuming discussion. Although 5 minutes may feel enough, the actual physiological recovery time needs 20 minutes.


Emotional Self-Regulation:


Anger
One of the best ways to douse the flames of anger is to reframe the situation more positively. On the other hand, the longer we ruminate about what made us angry, the more good reasons we come up with for being angry. Studies show that venting anger may feel good in the moment, but it doesnt dispel the anger.


Depression
Depression is a low-arousal state, so exercise helps lift the mood, while relaxation techniques worsen it. Another technique for reducing depression is doing downward comparisons: comparing ourselves to those worse off than us. A third method is to help other people, which makes stops us from ruminating on ourselves and our problems and makes us see others problems and feel good about helping them.


Anxiety
Anxiety is a high-arousal state, so relaxation techniques help, while exercise makes it worse. Anxious people do worse academically and on the job. However, people do their best when theres just enough anxiety. If theres too little anxiety, people dont prepare. But if theres too much anxiety, people dont have any mental capacity to focus. The sweet spot is in the middle.


Part 3: Emotional Intelligence Applied


Part 3 applies emotional intelligence to marriages, the workplace, and medical care.


Emotional Intelligence in Marriage
Divorce rates are on the rise, from 30% in 1950 to 67% in 1990. Specific issues dont break a marriage. Its how a couple disagrees and then discusses thats the key to marital survival. We need to guard against contempt and stonewalling.


Usually, what happens is the wife will complain about something to which the husband thinks is not a big deal and doesn’t do anything. Eventually, the wives complaints escalate to contempt by attacking the husbands character.

For example, the wife might say You’re always so inconsiderate instead of What you did just now make me feel like you don’t care about me.
When the husband is faced by contempt, he gets emotionally flooded, and to deal with that, he stonewalls the wife as an evolutionary self-defense mechanism. For example, hell just go completely emotionless and ignore the wife. This stonewalling causes the wife to despise the husband even more, leading to more contempt and more stonewalling. If this perpetuates, it leads to divorce.


The solution requires emotions intelligence, namely aspect #5, handling relationships. The couple can use the XYZ method and avoid emotional flooding when communication. But to handle relationships effectively, each person needs to be aware of each others emotions, and to do that, they need to be physiologically calm.

These tough conversations will inevitably arouse each person physiologically, so they need to be emotionally self-aware and then emotionally self-regulate. We can see how emotional intelligence is key in sustaining a marriage.


Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Low EQ people make others stressed. Stress makes people stupid.
The main EQ skills needed in the workplace are:


-Attunement to others feelings


-Handling disagreements


-Entering flow state


-Venting grievances as helpful critiques

-Creating a culture of diversity

-Networking effectively

Emotional Intelligence in Medical Care


There’s often a significant medical benefit to treating a persons psychological needs in addition to their medical needs.

Medical professionals often name all the horrible possibilities to an already anxious patient, which then makes them even more anxious. Anxiety has a scientific link to the onset of sickness and the course of recovery; there’s mounting evidence that stress causes wear and tear on the nervous system.


Anger is the most harmful to the heart. Being prone to anger is a stronger predictor of dying young than smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The antidote is to develop a more trusting heart, to assume better intentions of others.


Loneliness doubles the risk for sickness and death. Smoking is only 1.6 times.


An effective way to deal with turbulent feelings is to write it on paper, then over the next several days, weave a narrative that finds meaning in the pain.


Part 4: Nurturing

Emotional Intelligence in Children


Unsurprisingly, parents emotional intelligence play an enormous role in the emotional development of children.

But it also helps children with areas outside of EQ, including academic performance (better focus) and health (lower stress).


Family life is our first school for emotional learning. We learn how to feel about ourselves, how others react to our feelings, how to think about those feelings, and how to express hopes and fears.

There are three common types of emotionally inept parenting:


-Completely ignoring the feelings of the child


-Too care-free: These parents notice an emotional storm but decide that however the child handles it is fine, even hitting and screaming.


-Contemptuous: harshly disapproving their childrens’ anger and being punitive about it.
Emotionally intelligent parents use the opportunity of a child’s upset to serve as an emotional coach to the child. They take the time to understand exactly whats upsetting the child, then they help the child find positive ways to soothe their feelings.


Part 5: Emotional Illiteracy Consequences and Solutions


The cost of low emotional intelligence in children is severe, including depression, delinquency, addiction to alcohol and drugs, and eating disorders.


Depression:
Depression is caused mainly by a deficit in two areas of emotional competence: relationships skills and handling setbacks. The lack of relationship skills causes them to have problems with their parents or peers. Then, they respond to these setbacks by feeling like they cant do anything about it, leading to depression.


Since depression often manifests initially as constant irritability, especially towards parents, people are less likely to engage socially with that depressed person, resulting in a downward spiral of arguments and alienation. If the child is taught to feel like there are actions they can take to improve their situation, they wont fall into depression.


Delinquency:
Social rejects lack emotional intelligence; they cant read emotional cues, so no one likes them. They are 28 times more likely to drop out of school.


Boys who have low IQ and become delinquents will typically join an outcast group by the time they’re in high school. The group is likely to commit petty crime like shoplifting and drug dealing. Girls who get in trouble and are bad have a different trajectory. By the time they finish high school, they are three times more likely than other girls to have a child already. Antisocial boys get violent. Antisocial girls get pregnant.


Addiction to Alcohol and Drugs:


For those who experiment with alcohol and drugs, only 14% become alcoholics and 5% become drug addicts.

The difference with the addicts is that they turn to the substance to soothe their negative emotions as a way of self-medication. Sometimes, these people have a genetic predisposition to these emotional problems.


Since alcohol has a relaxation effect, alcohol addicts turn to alcohol to soothe either their extremely high anxiety or agitation. Drug addicts turn to cocaine in response to depression, and they turn to heroin to control anger.


Intervention programs need to teach children key emotional skills to prevent and treat addiction. These skills include emotional self-awareness, emotional self-regulation, handling stress and anxiety, reading social cues, empathy, resisting negative influences, and understanding what behavior is acceptable in a situation.


Eating Disorders:
Eating disorders are caused by an inability to identify distressing feelings combined with high dissatisfaction with ones body. For example, a girl feels stressed or angry but she cant actually name the feeling, and she just assumes everything is hunger.

Then she begins to eat to soothe herself. But to avoid gaining weight, she purges it all out; that’s bulimia. Or the girl starves herself to feel a sense of control; that’s anorexia.

To prevent or stop an eating disorder, girls need to learn to identify their feelings and then use healthy methods to soothe those feelings.
In conclusion, reading this book on emotional intelligence will make a great impact in your life and how you relate to your environment.