I first read Emotional Intelligence when it was released in 1995, and I have to admit, while I found it an excellent discussion on the importance of recognising that understanding and being able to manage our emotions in ways that benefit ourselves and the lives of others both at work and in our social lives, I unfortunately didn’t get what the hype was all about, nor why it was ‘ground-breaking’.
I remember saying back then something like “All this emotional intelligence stuff, isn’t it just what we used to call ‘people skills’?”
What I’ve realised since, is that emotional intelligence is a bit like common sense – it’s not all that common.
As part of my continual research to validate the philosophical and practical principles of Intentionomics and the 9 inescapable truths for a prosperous life, I decided to revisit Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence.
This time, I read the book with a different lens, by keeping at top of mind, what if I were someone who didn’t intuitively understand the impact of my intentions, emotions and actions on myself and on others (or what if I were someone who didn’t want to admit that my intentions, emotions and actions will impact me and others in some way).
Goleman defines emotion as “a feeling and its distinctive thoughts, psychological and biological states, and range of propensities to act.” Now, to break that down into every-day language, my interpretation of that is that to have emotional intelligence is to understand what causes our emotions, what impact it has on how we continue to think, what impact it has on us physically (what our body does as we experience an emotion) and how we are likely to act when we ‘feel’ or experience that emotion.
The key then, is once you have that awareness, it’s a process of selecting from a range of practical tools and strategies to ensure that your emotions, thoughts and actions are such that produce positive outcomes for yourself and for others.
There is a lot of scientific research that Goleman draws on to validate and re-validate the importance of developing our emotional intelligence, however, (and without suggesting you do this, as Emotional Intelligence is a book I would certainly recommend you read from cover to cover), when you get to page 285, I reckon we get to the heart of what’s really being discussed.
Goleman writes “There is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character.”
Here we are almost two decades since the first release of Emotional Intelligence, and today, as I firmly believe in the future, there is nothing old-fashioned about Character.
What I really enjoyed about Emotional Intelligence is that Goleman’s research validates what I’ve personally experienced and validates the core principles of Intentionomics.
Character matters, and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman shows us why, and provides a range of tools for those of us who don’t intuitively and intellectually understand the impact of our intentions, actions and results on living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.