Proactive-Coach: a larger sense of self

emotional intelligence definition


The phrase "emotional intelligence" may seem like a paradox:
- We define "intelligence" as the faculty of thought and reason; something that we associate with our mind.
- And we define emotions as subjective; something that comes from our heart, literally or figuratively.

However, the notion of "emotional intelligence" has been around for a quarter of a century.

Reuven Bar-On, a psychologist, came up with the notion of "emotional quotient" in 1980. Ten years later, two researchers, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, talked about "emotional intelligence". The defined it as "the ability to monitor one's own and other's feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action." And Daniel Goleman's book brought "emotional intelligence" into the culture at large.

These days, even economists no longer believe that emotions and reason are unrelated.
- Nobel Economics laureate Herbert Simon has pointed out that traditional economics is misguided in ignoring the role of human emotions in its assumptions about how people make decisions.
- Roberta Muramatsu and Yaniv Hanoch were inspired by his remarks to study the "functional role of emotions within the human decision machinery" (Journal of Economic Psychology, 2004). Essentially, they conclude that, not only do emotions help people make smart judgments... but also that suppressing emotions impairs our ability to make smart judgments.

In practice, you have probably had many occasions to notice how emotion and reason are inter-related. Our emotions often affect our "logical" thinking. And our feelings often stem from thoughts we have more or less consciously.

As you become more conscious of these processes, you are better able to distinguish your emotional intelligence from your logical thinking.

There is a double benefit to this:
- you sharpen your logical thinking, as it is less intertwined with your emotions,
- you get fuller access to the clarity and visceral power of your emotional intelligence.

This is especially useful when you're making changes in your life. As you make more use of your emotional intelligence, you experience things at a deeper level - not just words, something really meaningful. And you see how you can use your emotions as a drive to action, instead of a block.


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