In Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer, offers a proven method for enhancing mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work.
Emotional competences are not innate talents
The best definition of emotional intelligence comes from the two menwidely regarded as the fathers of its theoretical framework, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. They define emotional intelligence as:
The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.
One of the most important messages in Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ is that emotional competences are not innate talents; they are learned abilities. In other words, emotional competencies are something you can deliberately acquire with practice.
Golemand’s Emotional Intelligence adds a very useful structure to emotional intelligence by classifying it into five domains:
- Self-awareness: Knowledge of one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions.
- Self-regulation: Management of one’s internal states, impulses, and resources.
- Motivation: Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
- Empathy: Awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.
- Social skills: Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others.
The best illustration of emotional intelligence as a learned ability came from the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
In the beginning of the story, Scrooge presents an example of low emotional intelligence. His intrapersonal intelligence is so low, he is incapable of creating emotional wellness for himself despite his wealth. In fact, his self-awereness is so bad, it takes three ghosts to help him figure himself out. His interpersonal intelligence is, of course, legendarily bad.
Near the end of the story, however, Scrooge presents an example of elevated emotional intelligence. He develops strong self-awareness, he becomes capable of controlling his own emotional destiny, and his empathy and social skills blossom. Scrooge demonstrates that emotional intelligence is something that can be developed.
What can emotional intelligence do for me?
In the context of work environment, emotional intelligence enables three important skill sets: stellar work performance, outstanding leadership, and the ability to create the conditions for happiness.
What’s the aim of developing emotional intelligence?
The aim of developing emotional intelligence is to help you optimize yourself and function at an even higher level than what you are already capable of. Even if you already outstanding at what you do, sharpening and deepening your emotional competencies can give you an extra edge.
From mindfulness to emotional intelligence
Our approach to cultivate emotional intelligence begins with mindfulness. We use mindfulness to train a quality of attention that is strong both in clarity and stability. We then direct this power-charged attention to the physiological aspects of emotion so we can perceive emotion with high vividness and resolution. The ability to perceive the emotional experience at a high level of clarity and resolution builds the foundation for emotional intelligence.