Five things I wish everyone knew about Emotional Intelligence.

Here five key concepts it’s really valuable to understand when learning about Emotional Intelligence

1. Emotional Intelligence is not the opposite of IQ.

Emotional Intelligence doesn’t compete with IQ. It actually augments it. The higher a person’s IQ, the greater the impact of a well-developed EQ. You could consider EQ at the science of age-old wisdom. Six Seconds describes Emotional Intelligence as the process of combining emotions and thinking to make better decisions. It’s about how we handle ourselves – personal-mastery; the skills to understand others’ points of view; empathy, being able to communicate with and influence others within conflict – people-skills. It’s about being able to understand that, even when we feel we have no choice, we can always choose HOW we go about things.


2. Developing Emotional Intelligence takes time.

“It is important to emphasise that building one’s emotional intelligence cannot – will not – happen without sincere desire and concerted effort …but it can be done.”  – Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review, 1998

It takes time to develop good Emotional Intelligence.

That’s why, generally, older people have a higher EQ. Experience is the teacher. One workshop, book or class are not enough to grow your EQ.

Once I committed to study EQ I noticed that as someone who was often considered to be ‘a people person’, I was now in the uncomfortable place where I wasn’t blissfully ignorant anymore and I hadn’t yet mastered the skills either.

How frustrating!

To be in an argumentative discussion and thinking ‘I know there is a better way’ but to not be able to find the words!

Or to have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment five minutes after a conversation, realising I had walked all over the other person’s feelings.I had moments where I thought I had been better off ignorant. A few years down the line, I understand better than ever what Daniel Goleman was talking about.

This awareness is all part of the process, and I’m delighted now when I see so much evidence that I can sometimes speak my truth kindly and without bulldozing over other’s feelings.

I also realise the age-old truth: the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

I cannot emphasise enough that developing EQ takes time and effort, and if we choose to take the time, the process can be deeply rewarding.

3. EQ is best taught through transformational learning

I don’t think I can say it better than Josh Freedman, considered one of the top four EQ specialists in the world and I quote:

“Why are you interested in EQ? Is it for knowledge, or for change? And if it’s for change, how do you turn emotional awareness and effectiveness into action? For many Six Seconds practitioners, the answer starts with transformational learning.  

The other founders of Six Seconds and I all come from the world of education, and in particular, from a specific philosophy of constructivist learning where discovery and meaning are more important than ’right answers’. Coupled with emergent neuroscientific teachings on the way the human brain learns, this drives a unique and powerful approach to instruction that requires head+heart+hands working together.

If we genuinely seek to create change by building new awareness – by teaching – then we have to get out of the ineffective 19th Century mindset of ‘instruction-as-information-dump’. In that model, the teacher is the expert who wields knowledge as power, and seeks submission. “Bow down and I will fill your head with my knowledge.” But in a world where people need to actually think and solve problems (versus regurgitating stale “knowledge”), that model needs to go away. It’s a pervasive trap and is the #1 enemy of transformational learning.”

Read the full-article here.

4. Emotional Intelligence is not mushy, lovey-dovey, touchy-feely.

EQ is about greater strength, more clarity, greater awareness of self and others. Yes. It does often lead to greater compassion and kindness. It also usually creates clearer boundaries and more strength to be able to make the “hard” choices and speak up rather than ignore your own or others needs.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

In conclusion, growing your Emotional Intelligence offers you the opportunity to master yourself and access that true power.

5. EQ impacts health, happiness and personal and professional success.

“Disorders linked to stress – including depression and anxiety – are widespread in our societies. The numbers are alarming: clinical studies suggest that 50–75 % of all visits to the doctor are primarily related to stress, and that, in terms of mortality, stress poses a more serious risk factor than tobacco.“ – Dr David Servan-Schreiber

It seems like the benefit’s of developing Emotional Intelligence are many. You can reduce the stress in your life.  Without changing anything outside of yourself,  This alone impacts on your health, how you interact with your family and colleagues and your quality of life.

Science has been confirming the benefits of a well-developed EQ for some time, and the findings continue to grow as the study of positive psychology is taking hold.

Don’t have time to read the science.  Notice for yourself.

  • Do a body-mind-heart scan.
  • Body: A thirty-second check-in, what is your body doing?
  • Mind: What are you thinking?
  • Heart: What emotions do you feel?
  • Heart: What is your emotional state telling you? Is the message you are not receiving?

The wisdom really does lie within.