As a quick preface, I am creating a category called 'Books' and plan to share the key points from and my thoughts/reactions to some of the books I read. Hoping these help start some discussions.
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
+ Emotions have several practical benefits: 1) they provide context to facts and experiences (e.g. action X typically results in sadness), 2) they enhance our ability to interpret the feelings and actions of others, and 3) they mold our instinct and intuition.
+ Emotions have drawbacks too: 1) they can make us act impulsively (neurologically, information bypasses the thought region of our brain (neocortex) and goes directly to the emotional center), and 2) they cloud our judgment when, for example, we are in a heightened emotional state or if we have been ‘emotionally scarred’ from an event (“residual obsolete emotions” is the more technical term used in the book; an example might be if you are irrationally afraid of small puppies because a big dog happened to bite you when you were a child).
+ Control and understanding of emotions and how they make people look, feel, and act constitutes emotional intelligence (“EQ”). Those with high EQ are great at reading and navigating social situations. They have a great balance between the emotional and the rational, the feeling and the thinking. Emotional self-regulation describes the process of controlling our emotional brains with our thinking brains.
+ EQ is important, yet it is under-emphasized in education. You can improve your EQ by being observant to both your personal as well as others’ emotions.
Emotional intelligence is a fascinating concept that Goleman helped pioneer. I think one of the more interesting points is the mention of emotional intelligence in school curricula. Wired recently ran an article on the growth of home schooling, especially among the tech community. It suggest that the growth is driven, in large part, by the desire to avoid pushing students through programs where standardization is required to excel and creativity inadvertently is sidelined. We can debate the merits of that separately, but to merge the concepts here, does home schooling hurt the development of emotional intelligence? Should traditional schools emphasize emotional intelligence in their curricula? What solutions exist to augment curricula with such education? Edtech trends are distributing academic content and tools for analyzing student performance at extraordinary rates. But do any emotional intelligence tools exist? What exercises actually help build EQ? Perhaps this line of questioning is missing the point. Maybe it can’t be a tech solution. Maybe EQ is developed as you enjoy life, hang out with friends, watch movies, and are observant as you live. Perhaps the best product to enhance EQ is no product at all. Or a pen and personal journal.