emotional intelligence daniel goleman summary

Emotional intelligence daniel goleman summary

In this book “Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman wants to help us take control of our emotions and not let them control us. He talks about how negative emotions can harm us and how we can change our lives by learning better ways to handle challenges. Some special schools even teach kids how to understand and manage their feelings, which is something we can all learn from too!

By Daniel Goleman, 1999, 421 pages.

Here are six strong motivations to enhance your emotional intelligence:

  1. Enhancing your emotional intelligence can make you a more effective communicator.
  2. It can lower your feelings of anxiety and stress.
  3. You’ll be better at resolving conflicts.
  4. Your relationships are likely to improve.
  5. You’ll develop the ability to empathize with others.
  6. It can help you tackle life’s challenges more effectively.
  7. Emotional intelligence also boosts your leadership abilities.

Aristotle’s challenge:

“Anyone can become angry, that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time; and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Every day, we read about the bad things people do because they act without thinking (like hurting others, stealing, etc.). Sometimes, we also struggle with our own feelings and reactions, like getting really mad or sad.

There are lots of self-help books, but not all of them are based on science. Now, thanks to new ways of looking at our brains, we can start to understand how they work.

Daniel Goleman talks about “emotional intelligence,” which means being good at controlling our feelings. He thinks we can teach kids this skill, so they can use their smarts no matter how smart they are.

He wants to take us on a journey. First, we’ll learn about how our brains are built. Then, we’ll find out about emotional intelligence, stopping ourselves from doing things without thinking, and getting along well with others. Finally, he’ll show us how all of this helps not only in our personal lives but also in our jobs.

emotional intelligence daniel goleman

Part 1: The Emotional Brain

A. What Are Emotions Used For?

When we’re in really serious situations or have to do really important things, our feelings take over. But when we let our feelings control us, our thinking isn’t as clear.

Long ago, when the first rules and moral codes were made (like the Ten Commandments), they might have been made to help us control our strong feelings.

The word “emotion” comes from Latin, where “motere” means “to move.” Emotions make us want to do something.

  • Each feeling makes our body react in a certain way, even before we think about it:
  • When we’re angry, our hands get ready to hit or grab things. We also get more energy.
  • When we’re scared, our body gets ready to run, and we might turn pale.
  • When we’re happy, our brain feels good and calms down worries. We feel relaxed and energetic.
  • Love, being kind, and feeling good after being close to someone make us calm and happy.
  • When we’re surprised, our eyes get bigger to see more.
  • When we’re disgusted, our face might scrunch up, especially the nose, to protect us from bad things.
  • Sadness can be good because it helps us take a break and plan for what’s next.

“If you don’t have empathy and effective personal relationships, no matter how smart you are, you won’t get far.” Quote from Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

The rational mind and the emotional mind complement each other.

There are two parts of our brain that do different things: one helps us think and make good choices, while the other makes us act quickly without thinking.

These parts of our brain developed over a very long time. First, the brainstem took care of basic things like breathing and moving. Later, the neocortex, which is like our “thinking brain,” appeared. It grew from the part of our brain that helps us smell things.

The neocortex covers the top of the brainstem, which is why it’s called the “limbic system.” This is where we start to feel emotions like wanting things, being angry, loving, and being afraid. This part also helps us learn and remember things. As time went on, our brains got bigger, and we got really good at thinking. We could even feel things about ideas and art!

Since the neocortex grew from the emotional part of our brain, it’s connected to it. That’s why our emotions can influence how we think and act.

B. When Emotions Take Power: Anatomy of a Coup

Deep inside the brain’s emotional center, there’s a tiny part shaped like an almond called the amygdala. It’s one of the oldest parts of our brain and is part of what helped create our “thinking brain” or neocortex. If the amygdala is removed, people can’t feel emotions anymore, like sadness or happiness. They become emotionally “blind” and can’t experience these feelings.

Other research has also shown that we react to something long before our brain has interpreted it.

New research shows that the amygdala can make us act even before our thinking brain has time to decide. It’s like a fast messenger. When something scary or unpleasant happens, the amygdala reacts super quickly and tells the rest of the brain. But the neocortex, the thinking part, takes longer to understand what’s happening. This means sometimes we react without really knowing why.

The brain has a “shortcut” where the amygdala gets information even before the thinking part does. So, the amygdala can send orders to our body before the thinking part says if it’s a good idea. It’s like a speedy parallel track!

Also, strong emotions get stored by the amygdala, especially when we’re kids. Even when we grow up, these memories can come back and make us feel just as strongly as we did when we were young. This is why we sometimes feel overwhelmed by our emotions.

As we grow, the thinking part of our brain develops more and can help control these strong reactions. There’s a part in the front of the brain, called the prefrontal lobes, that helps manage the amygdala’s impulses. It steps in when we’re scared or angry and helps us plan and make better choices.

“Our passions have their own wisdom: they guide our thinking and the choice of our values and ensure our survival.” Quote from Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional reaction

When we need to react emotionally, the part of our brain called the prefrontal lobes handles it carefully by considering many options. These options can include not just fighting or running away, like animals, but also calming down, convincing, showing sympathy, feeling guilty, complaining, ignoring, and more. The prefrontal lobes act like a wise parent guiding a impulsive child (the amygdala), politely suggesting a different response.

These connections between the emotional brain and the prefrontal lobes can sometimes make it hard for the prefrontal lobes to work properly when emotions are very strong. It’s like when we’re upset and it’s difficult to think clearly or learn new things.

Surprisingly, researchers have found that emotions are actually important for making smart decisions and thinking logically. When different parts of the brain, like the limbic system, neocortex, amygdala, and prefrontal lobes, work together, our ability to think improves. This is why we want to learn more about using our emotional intelligence effectively.

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Part Two: The Nature of Emotional Intelligence

C. The Stupidity of Intelligence

Understanding and feeling intelligent emotions like empathy, self-motivation, persistence, controlling impulses, patience, and having a positive attitude are way more important for success than just doing well on an IQ test.

Howard Gardner, a psychologist from Harvard, started Project Spectrum, where kids are taught to improve their emotional intelligence and nurture their talents. He often says, “Many people with a high IQ of 160 work for those with a lower IQ of 100.”

To figure out how this kind of education can be effective, we need to learn about and experience our smart emotions.

Peter Salovey, a psychologist from Yale, has identified five key emotions that make up emotional intelligence:

  1. Knowing Your Emotions: This means understanding how you feel. When you’re aware of your feelings, you’re better at understanding yourself and knowing what’s right for you.
  2. Controlling Your Emotions: This is about being able to change how you feel based on the situation. It helps you calm down when you’re anxious, sad, or angry. People who can do this handle tough situations much better.
  3. Motivating Yourself: Learning to use your emotions to stay focused and motivated helps you feel fulfilled and achieve great things.
  4. Understanding Others’ Emotions: Empathy, which is understanding how others feel, is super important for getting along with people. It helps you build good relationships and connect with others.
  5. Managing Relationships: This is about getting along well with others and handling their emotions. People who are good at this know how to make friends and handle conflicts.

Our brain can adapt and improve in these emotional areas through learning and habits. IQ (intelligence quotient) and emotional intelligence work together to shape who we are. They’re not opposites; they complement each other and help us grow.

D. Know Yourself

There’s a story about a samurai who wanted to learn about heaven and hell. He got angry with a monk who didn’t answer him and drew his sword. The monk then told him that his anger is like hell. When the samurai understood this, he calmed down and realized that was hell. The monk added that there’s heaven too.

“Self-awareness” refers to the constant attention paid to one’s inner state.

It’s important to learn how to think about our feelings. Instead of just getting mad, you can think, “I’m getting mad.” This helps you control your emotions. Our brain has parts that watch our feelings, and that’s the first step to managing them. Just realizing you’re in a bad mood is a way to start feeling better.

Parents can also help kids learn about their emotions. For example, if a child hurts a friend, instead of just saying “stop,” parents can ask if the child is still angry and talk about their feelings.

If you want to learn more about the brain, there’s an article about the 12 laws of the brain. It talks about things like exercise and always wanting to learn, which help your brain be better throughout your life.

People can be divided into three groups based on how they deal with their feelings:

  • Those who know themselves: These people understand their feelings well. They are often confident and positive, and they handle life’s ups and downs with ease.
  • Those who get overwhelmed: These people easily get carried away by their emotions. They struggle to shake off bad feelings and believe they can’t control their emotions.
  • Those who accept their mood: This group includes people who are usually happy and content, so they don’t feel the need to change. It also includes those who have mood swings but accept them, like those with depression who feel resigned to their sadness.

To feel better when you’re in a bad mood, the first step is to realize that you’re in a bad mood. This is an important part of emotional intelligence.

E. A Slave of Passions

Emotions are a big part of our lives, and Daniel Goleman suggests we need to handle them well. Having the right emotions for each situation is important. Too little emotion can make us bored, and too much emotion, like extreme anger, anxiety, or sadness, can be harmful.


Let’s talk about anger. Life has its ups and downs, and it’s important to find a balance. Just like how we have thoughts all the time, emotions are always with us too. Our brain can’t stop us from feeling angry, but we can make it not last too long. Imagine someone cuts you off in traffic. What do you think? Do you get really mad and want to fight? Or do you think, “Maybe they have a good reason, like a medical emergency?”

In the first case, your heart races, and if another car honks at you, you might explode with anger. In the second case, you’re more understanding, and your anger doesn’t get so strong. Benjamin Franklin said, “Anger usually has a reason, but not always a good one.”

Anger can give us energy and even make us feel excited, unlike sadness. If we keep thinking about why we’re angry, it makes the anger stronger. Changing our view of the situation in a positive way is one of the best ways to calm ourselves down.

Anger feeds on itself.

“Anger feeds on anger: the emotional brain becomes feverish. At that moment, the fury, freed from the shackles of reason, quickly degenerates into violence.” Quote from Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

When we get really angry, a part of our brain called the amygdala releases something called catecholamine. This makes us feel all riled up, but it usually goes away in about twenty minutes. If we start having strong thoughts when we’re already really angry, they can make our anger even worse than before.

At this point, we might stop forgiving and listening to reason. Feeling super excited can make us think we’re really strong and nothing can hurt us. While this is happening, any new thought or thing we notice can make our excitement grow.

In an experiment, volunteers were provoked and insulted by someone. When they had the chance to get back at that person by saying something bad about them, they did it with a mix of anger and happiness.

But then, there was a twist. Someone else came in and asked the person who was causing trouble to leave. This new person didn’t get angry, even when the troublemaker was rude. They explained that the troublemaker was really stressed because of exams. When the angry volunteers had the chance to get back at the troublemaker again, they didn’t. Instead, they felt sorry for them. This shows that anger can change when we understand why someone acted a certain way.

Making yourself feel better when you’re angry involves calming down your thoughts and finding distractions.

For example, taking a walk or doing relaxing activities like deep breathing helps calm the body. It’s important to stop aggressive thoughts to really calm down.


When you’re worried, it’s like going in circles. One thought leads to another and it keeps going. Anxiety used to be helpful to deal with dangers, but when it gets too intense, it turns into problems like phobias or panic attacks. Anxious people keep jumping from one worry to another, which makes them anxious and can cause trouble sleeping.

Anxious people imagine things by jumping from one concern to another, in words and not in pictures.


Sadness is an emotion we try to avoid, but it’s not always bad. It makes us think about what we’ve lost and helps us plan for the future. Grieving is useful, but when sadness turns into deep depression, it’s not good. How long depression lasts depends on how much we keep thinking about it.

Repression or optimistic rejection

Some people become experts at ignoring negative feelings, thinking it’s better to hide them. They might not even realize they’re doing it. But pushing feelings away too much might affect how we see ourselves.

It’s important to understand our feelings and find ways to handle them in a healthy way.

working with emotional intelligence daniel goleman

F. Master Skill

“Active memory” means being able to remember things related to what we’re doing right now. But sometimes, we might freeze up, like during an exam or when we’re nervous on stage.

On the other hand, when we’re excited and confident about reaching a goal, our motivation is really strong, and we see great results. The best in any field stand out not just because of their skills, but because they keep working super hard and never give up (Anthony Robbins calls this CANI: Constant And Never-ending Improvement).

Feeling a bit excited, known as hypomania, is great for writers and creative people. Making someone laugh can help them overcome a challenge because humor makes our thoughts and imagination flow freely.

Confident people set big goals and work hard to reach them. Even if they face setbacks, they believe they can find new ways to succeed.

The optimist thinks that failure always comes from something that can be changed, so that next time it turns into success.

Pessimistic people blame themselves and think they can’t change. But we can learn to be more optimistic through experiences and learning.

“Flow” is when emotions help us perform or learn at our best. It’s like being in the zone, where time doesn’t matter and we go beyond our limits. Discipline helps us experience this more often. We concentrate, focus on our task, and ignore distractions. Our brain activity calms down, and we feel relaxed and really focused. This makes tasks feel effortless and enjoyable.

G. The Roots of Empathy

Empathy means understanding how others feel by imagining yourself in their situation. People who are good at empathy are usually in tune with their own emotions too. When you have empathy, you care about others, and its opposite is not liking someone (antipathy).

Emotions are often shown through things like tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions, not just words. This is important in romantic relationships. Kids who can read these non-verbal signs do better in school, even if they have the same IQ as kids who don’t understand this kind of communication.

Understanding others means paying attention to how they say things, not just the words they use. Around 90% of emotions are communicated non-verbally. Even babies can feel sad when they hear another baby cry. Babies feel empathy before they even realize they’re separate individuals. As they grow, kids want to help others who are sad, even if they don’t know exactly what to do.

Parents can help kids be empathetic by explaining how others feel because of their actions

Kids learn to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and feel their emotions. But if parents don’t show empathy towards their child’s emotions, the child might stop feeling those emotions. It’s not impossible to fix this later with therapy, but it takes time.

In some people with damage to the right frontal lobes of their brain, they can’t understand emotions from the tone of someone’s voice. They only focus on the exact meaning of each word. This can lead to a lack of empathy.

When people completely lack empathy, they can become harmful to others. They only think about themselves and ignore others. For example, rapists might think that the person they’re attacking secretly wants it. People who harm kids might justify their actions by saying they’re teaching love. People without empathy often do whatever it takes to get what they want, without caring about how it affects others.

H. The Art of Getting Along Well with Others

Feeling calm inside helps us connect with others and be open to their feelings. To support others and manage their emotions, we need two main qualities: self-control and empathy.

Emotions are like a contagious virus, as many studies have shown. People who are good at calming others and easing their worries become the go-to folks during tough times. When emotions pass from one person to another, they usually go from the more expressive person to the less expressive one.

When people interact, their emotions can sync up. They might move or gesture in sync while talking. This synchrony is also seen between teachers and students who get along well.

These communication skills show up in various roles:

  • Group leaders need the skill to organize people.
  • Mediators use their ability to negotiate solutions.
  • Building personal relationships requires empathy and communication skills. Good team members possess these talents and can be relied upon.
  • Social analysis involves understanding others’ motivations and feelings. Therapists and novelists often have this skill.

Skills like these contribute to charm, charisma, and social success. Spending time with people who have these abilities is enjoyable.

Some people, especially children or those who feel unpopular, try to assert themselves in a group. Others take their time to observe the group, understand its dynamics, and then approach it with respect for its rules before suggesting any changes.

At the highest level of social skills is what Daniel Goleman calls “emotional genius.” This is someone who can handle another person’s anger by distracting them from it, showing empathy, and helping them see a different perspective. It’s a mastery that many of us would probably love to have.


Part Three: Applied Emotional Intelligence

I. Intimate Enemies

Emotional intelligence can help in marriages to prevent divorce. Imagine a scenario where Daniel Goleman illustrates that a husband might complain about his wife’s unreasonable requests, while she thinks he doesn’t care about what she’s saying. This difference between men and women isn’t something they’re born with; it develops from how they’re raised as children. Girls tend to have more open conversations about feelings (except anger) compared to boys.

Around the age of 10, girls often play in small groups, focusing on cooperation and role-playing in their relationships. Boys, however, usually play in larger groups where competition is more common. If a game stops due to a child getting hurt, girls quickly comfort the injured child and offer support, while boys might leave the hurt child alone, almost blaming them for the interruption.

So, it’s not surprising that years later, women might want to have discussions to connect with their husbands, valuing communication, while men might emphasize working together to achieve practical goals.

The secret of marital communication is to complain and not to blame.

Let’s look at a clear example that shows the difference between these two ideas: “When you forget to take my clothes to the dry cleaners, I feel like you’re not considering me.” Or “You’re so selfish and thoughtless! It just proves that I can’t rely on you to do anything right, even going to the laundry!”

In the first example, the focus is on the emotion triggered by an event or action, and the partner can empathize and engage in a healthy conversation. The second sentence is accusing and judgmental, not giving the other person a fair chance, and it can hurt them. Repeatedly using similar accusations often leads to separation over time. The accused partner usually ends up either defending themselves or striking back. This response doesn’t lead to productive outcomes, especially if it’s also delivered as blame.

“In a way, we have two parts of our mind: one that thinks and one that feels. It’s the interplay between these two systems that shapes our inner world.” Quote from Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence.

Negative thoughts become automatic and reinforce feelings of victimhood for one or both partners. As a result, even kind gestures might be ignored or downplayed, fueling the cycle of blame or grievances one has against the other.

Thinking something like “perhaps he/she is feeling down – I wonder if something’s bothering him/her at work…” helps us see the other person not as permanently flawed, but as someone going through a tough time that can be overcome.

Physiologically, getting overwhelmed by anger causes your heart rate to increase. It starts when your heart reaches 100 beats per minute (compared to the average resting rates of 72 for women and 82 for men), which can easily happen during angry episodes or crying. Hormones are released by your body to maintain this alert state for a certain period. The heart then speeds up even more, by 10, 20, or even 30 beats per minute.

Your muscles tighten, and sometimes you might even experience breathing difficulties. At this point, emotions have completely taken over. The best approach isn’t for men to withdraw into silence or for women to continually criticize their partner. Instead, it’s important to recognize that a problem exists. In such situations, a man could suggest calmly listening to his wife and understanding her perspective. A woman could avoid attacking or criticizing her husband personally and instead focus on discussing his behavior and how it affects her emotions. It would be beneficial if she broadened her perspective and reassured her husband of her love.

In an “ideal” couple with a lasting union, both partners don’t shy away from disagreements and express their differing viewpoints from the beginning. They show each other that they’re actively listening. This helps reduce tension and allows for a constructive discussion to take place.

Since not everyone is an expert in handling conflicts, paying attention to our heart rate can be helpful. 

When it increases by 10 beats above our normal rate, it’s a good idea to let the other person know that we’re aware of the disagreement. We can assure them that we’ll listen in about five minutes, giving both of us time to calm down and return to a regular heart rate. Afterward, we can have a more composed discussion, making sure to stick to the main topic and avoid straying off track. This approach can be talked about calmly, perhaps even at the beginning of a relationship, to agree on how to handle disagreements respectfully.

Daniel Goleman suggests using the XYZ method to define the topic and stay focused on it during the discussion. This method involves saying something like: “When you did X, I felt Y, and I would have preferred that you do Z.” It’s a clear way of communicating that eliminates harshness and prevents defensive reactions from the other person.

Respecting and loving each other are the most effective tools for resolving conflicts. Everyone has the right to acknowledge their responsibility or even apologize, showing that they’ve considered the other person’s feelings, even if they don’t necessarily agree (for instance: “I understand that you’re upset”). This validation calms the partner because they see that they’ve been understood, even if the disagreement persists. By respecting each other and understanding emotions, both individuals can maintain their partnership despite the differences.

J. Management: A Matter of the Heart

In 80% of plane crashes, the tragic mistake could have been prevented by better teamwork and by genuinely listening to each other.

When we’re upset, our focus diminishes, and making decisions becomes challenging – stress can cloud our judgment.

According to Daniel Goleman, leadership isn’t about control, but about effectively convincing others to collaborate towards a shared objective.

A crucial skill in any job is effectively conveying the necessary information to employees so they can make progress. This includes offering guidance along the way to ensure the final outcome is successful. Just like in relationships, openly discussing concerns through constructive criticism and encouraging everyone to contribute their ideas creates a positive environment for efficient work.

A brief comment like “You’re making mistakes” said sarcastically doesn’t contribute constructively to a project. Furthermore, it doesn’t allow the person to respond as the criticism lacks specifics or suggestions for improvement. Instead, it can lower motivation and create uncertainty in the employee it’s directed towards.

Giving helpful feedback should be done in the following way:

  1. Recognize what the person has already achieved.
  2. Point out further potential for improvement.
  3. Offer advice in a positive manner to help them progress.
  4. Maintain an optimistic tone.
  5. Clearly explain what went wrong and how to fix or avoid it.
  6. Express empathy to understand the impact of your words on others without being judgmental.

In the business world, emotional intelligence also means not tolerating intolerance.

K. Mind and Medicine

When we’re unwell, we feel weak, vulnerable, and often helpless. We seek reassurance and comfort from doctors and nurses, but their approach is often focused solely on the medical aspect, overlooking the emotional impact of their words and actions.

Medical care should consider both the emotional and physical aspects of a person’s well-being. Research shows a connection between the nervous and immune systems. Different emotions trigger specific hormones that significantly affect immune cells.

For instance, consider a surgical operation. If a person is anxious and doesn’t want the procedure, some surgeons might postpone it. This is because panic and anxiety can lead to increased bleeding, infections, and complications during and after surgery.

Repetitive anger also strains the heart, raising heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can damage arteries, leading to serious heart issues. At Stanford, they teach heart attack survivors tolerance, reducing the risk of a second attack by 44%. “Managing relationships well often involves managing emotions effectively,” says Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence.

Stress and immune function

Multiple studies indicate that stress can weaken the immune system, potentially leading to faster spread of cancer, increased vulnerability to viruses, asthma attacks, and digestive problems, among other issues.

Considering this, it’s crucial—especially for serious illnesses—to address the patient’s stressed or depressed state. Effective communication and emotional expression are important. In one study, women who participated in discussion meetings after advanced breast cancer treatment survived twice as long. These sessions allowed them to openly share emotions, fears, and thoughts about their illness.

As a patient wisely noted, “Compassion goes beyond comfort; it’s powerful medicine.”


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Part 4: Possibilities

L. The Melting Pot of Family

Parents play a significant role in teaching emotional intelligence to their children. However, some parents overlook their child’s feelings, considering them unimportant. They might dismiss or use rewards and punishments. Others remain constantly dissatisfied, criticizing and not respecting their child’s emotions. Some even get angry when the child tries to explain.

Another approach involves using the child’s annoyance as a chance to teach emotional control. By listening and asking the right questions, like “Are you angry because…?” or “Instead of fighting, why not find enjoyment?” or “How do you feel now?” children relax and become more attentive. This approach helps them become better students too.

How adults respond to a child’s request for help, whether with pleasure, reluctance, or ignoring, influences the child’s mindset. When adults help eagerly, children learn they’re not alone and can ask for help later in life. Conversely, if help is given begrudgingly or not at all, children might become suspicious and aggressive. Neglect can be more damaging than mistreatment.

M. Trauma and Emotional Re-learning

After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, like an assault, some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can lead to nightmares and intense feelings, as if the traumatic event is happening again. Memories of the event become powerful triggers that can be set off by small reminders, causing extreme distress. The brain’s fear center, the amygdala, gets deeply affected and holds onto these memories for a long time.

How people react to PTSD can depend on whether they felt utterly helpless during the traumatic event. Those who felt more in control might recover more easily.

A technique used to heal from PTSD involves revisiting the traumatic memory in a safe space and imagining a positive ending. This helps the brain regain a sense of control. Art is another tool; drawing can help individuals feel more in control of the trauma.

Healing starts by establishing a sense of security through relaxation. Then, the traumatic event is retold, including details and emotions, gradually helping to distance the person from the intense emotions associated with the memory. Repeating this process makes the memories less overwhelming and helps the brain process the trauma.

N. Temperament and Destiny

From the moment we’re born, we tend to lean towards one of four temperaments: being shy, bold, optimistic, or melancholic. Of course, each person’s temperament comes with its own shades and variations.

However, it’s interesting to note that even though we have a natural tendency towards a certain temperament, it’s not the only thing that shapes us. Emotional intelligence education can have a big impact on how we feel and behave, often transforming our emotions in significant ways.

Genetics play a role, but they’re not the only factor. Our environment, especially during childhood, can greatly influence and shape how our personality traits are expressed.

Part Five: The Basics of Emotional Intelligence

N. The Price of Ignorance

We’re troubled by the disturbing crimes committed by young people over trivial matters: a mother killed because she denied TV, a friend mocked leading to violence. Daniel Goleman points out that while we emphasize teaching kids to read, we often neglect teaching them emotional control, which is crucial for their survival.

Children with aggressive tendencies (who will become adults) often misinterpret situations as hostile and act impulsively based on these misperceptions.

One approach for schools is role-playing: having students work in small groups to understand each other’s emotions, fostering empathy and changing how they view others. This gradually alters the way children perceive harmless actions.

Emotional education can also address issues like depression, eating disorders, isolation, dropping out of school, as well as substance abuse problems.

O. Emotional Education

The Nueva Learning Center in San Francisco has integrated emotional intelligence into its lessons. Instead of responding with a regular “Present!” during roll call, students indicate their mood with a number from 1 (depressed) to 10 (highest morale). This helps teachers address events like conflicts, rejections, or arguments and guide the students toward solutions.

In New Haven schools, kids as young as kindergarten are taught a 6-step technique to control impulses:

Red fire

  1. 1. Take a break and calm down.

Orange light

  1. State the problem and express feelings.
  2. Set a positive goal.
  3. Imagine various solutions.
  4. Think about potential outcomes.

Green light

  1. Act on the best plan

By following these steps when feeling angry or upset, kids practice self-control, helping them become more skilled adults. This method is like the SOCS model: Situation, Options, Consequences, Solutions. It involves discussing a situation, expressing feelings, exploring options, understanding outcomes, and choosing the best solution.

Daniel Goleman envisions that teaching emotional intelligence can save lives by reducing violence, enhancing emotional experiences, and overall improving well-being.

Conclusion on the book Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, a Psychology Doctor who taught at Harvard, was deeply impacted by newspaper reports of accidents caused by uncontrollable impulses. He aims to save lives by promoting emotional intelligence.

The article focuses on applying emotional intelligence rather than delving into statistics or detailed reports. This approach aims for simplicity, allowing us to concentrate on the solutions suggested by Goleman.

In his book “Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman offers avenues for contemplation rather than a strict step-by-step method. He addresses the physiological and internal aspects of emotions, providing insights from various experiments.


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