What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent? How do you know if you are? What are the benefits? How does it relate to the traditionally held view of intelligence? For years I’ve had Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence on my reading list. I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I’ve thought about reading it several times but I kept putting it off in favor of other books.
Truth be told, I kept putting it off because I thought reading it would be painful. It has been painful, on a few levels. All the talk of brain anatomy and physiology gave me flashbacks to my college Anatomy and Phys class. Ouch! Worse than that it has reinforced the fact that I’m not adept at picking up subtle signals or reading others emotions. I’m hoping I’ll improve at that. So is my wife! When I told her about the book, and shared the term “Emotionally Tone Deaf” she smiled knowingly. Ouch!
What I’ve Learned.
What I’ve learned so far is that Emotional Intelligence is a meta-skill. It enhances or detracts from other skills. As I improve at identifying others emotions I can treat them with more empathy. As I improve at identifying and managing my own emotions I can respond better to those around me. Improvement in those two areas will help me be a better husband, parent, friend, entrepreneur, etc.
I’m Intimidated. That’s An Emotion!
Initially I was intimidated thinking about all the work I had to do on improving my emotional intelligence. Then I returned to the idea of a meta-skill. Because it’s a meta-skill, improving my emotional intelligence will translate to greater success in many areas of my life. My life will improve so will the lives of those around me. That sounds like a win for everyone.
If you have Goleman’s book on your reading list, please learn from my mistake. Start reading it today. Please share your thoughts on emotional intelligence in the comments section below.