"Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" by Daniel Goleman

Are you curious to find the emotional intelligence definition? If so you will probably find Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman a fascinating book, in that, Goleman is able to produce such an excellent collection of data in only three hundred pages. Mr. Goleman's basic explanation gives of what emotions are helps to determine the pace of the book. Immediately, on page four he discusses what happens when passions overwhelm reason. Mr. Crabtree entered his home one night and heard noises; thinking his daughter was at a friend's house he proceeded to find his .357 handgun later killing his daughter when she surprised him by jumping out of an closet. Personally, this sets the tone for the book by presenting what happens when one's emotions take over.

I have always thought that in order to be a productive member of society, one must have equal intelligence on both sides of the brain. Goleman states, "IQ contributes about twenty percent to the factors that determine life success." It seems as though society unteaches the expression of sharing emotions from a young age. Americans tend to spend most of the 'educational' career in working exclusively with the left side of the brain. Nowadays, the majority of individuals live in a world where IQ is always put in front of EQ. Goleman later goes into the process of 'pruning' the brain. On page 224, the childhood factor remains the most crucial element in having an emotionally intelligent member of society. "The brain actually loses the neuronal connections that are less used, and forms strong connections in those synaptic circuits that have been utilized the most."

This fascinating element opened me to the fact that the brain is the most complicated organ in the human being. He continues by saying that of all species we humans take the longest for our brains to fully mature. By the age of eighteen our brains are as mature as they will get for a lifetime. These years are very important to the emotional well being of any child. Goleman says, "the first three or four years of life are a period when the toddler's brain grows to about two thirds its full size." Several doctors agree that these first few years are extremely crucial to raising a healthy person. Getting the emotional basics from within the family remains to be the most profound effect on how a member of society will function. Chapter twelve is dedicated to the family crucible. Pages 189-199 are indeed intriguing in that the importance of family is brought full center. A child reflects the emotions and attitudes of their parents from day one. Those who take the time to love and be patient tend to raise children of that same nature. There are two types of parents when it comes to dealing with anger. One will avoid the impact of their child's feelings by saying some like, "go play with a toy." Other the hand, a good parent will take advantage of the situation and teach their son/daughter to learn to deal with emotions. This occurs everyday, yet so many parents neglected to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Chapter four entitled "know thyself" also shows the basic need to know how to handle emotions on a daily basis. On page forty-seven, Goleman states, that being attuned to identify and naming one's emotions are an essential element in opening up the right side of the brain. The term emotional hijacking used throughout the book helps to let one realize what happens and how to recognize the signs of one. Example after example is given on this topic, but the rage inside most remains a very controllable factor. As a college student, I felt as though the discussion of worrying brought up an excellent point. Pages sixty-eight and sixty-nine tell how to combat worries. "The relaxation method, though, is not enough in itself. Worriers also need to actively challenge the worrisome thoughts; failing this, the worry spiral will keep coming back." As a student, I worry on a daily basis; this helped me to realize that most of my worries are petty and time consuming. Mostly, worrying does absolutely nothing to help lifts your spirits. Goleman continues to say that the single mood that people put forth most effort into shaking away sadness or depression. As a freshman in college, it is easy to get depressed about schoolwork. But, facing it head on and challenging it only helps to make you feel better in the end.

In chapter six, the marshmallow test was given to several students. Professional doctors believe that this self-control test can determine how successful one will be in life. At young ages children set their tones and attitudes for life. On eighty-two Goleman states, "the capacity to impose a delay on impulse is at the root of a plethora of efforts, from staying on a diet to pursuing a medical degree." Furthermore, "the ability four-year-olds to control the impulse to grab for a marshmallow predicted a 210-point advantage in their SAT scores fourteen years later." I find this point very informative because impulse is a reaction to one's surroundings. For a study like that to come out with such strong indications shows the direct relations between emotion and IQ. It seems like every concept in this book goes back to square one: the dealing with parents. As parents, they have the responsible for raising an emotionally literate child. On page 261, chapter sixteen begins with a quote from Erasmus; "The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth." Whether it is with the schooling of the essentials of reading, writing, and arithmetic, or the necessity of teaching emotional literacy, children need to be taught these skills. It remains evident that the "schooling of emotions" is by far the most crucial area in which all individuals need more practice.

Part three of the book showed the applied use of Emotional Intelligence. The need to better communicate with a spouse illustrates the very point that we as a society need more learning of how to deal with our emotions. Goleman discusses the secret to a healthy long successful marriage. Simply talking tough ordeals and using better communication skills seemed to be the only real difference. Men always feel pressured by women to tell them their feelings. Women are compelled to always nag their husbands to communicate better. Both men and women tend to get defensive and criticize each other verbally in the process. Later regretting one's words, they often have truly hurt their spouse's feelings by attacking them in such a harsh method. Goleman continues to state that personal verbal attacks on the other have deeper meaning and are usually futile in nature. By relaxing and using non-defensive listening and speaking, a couple can efficiently work though an argument and evolve into a productive conversion.

Chapter eleven does an incredible job in examining the relationship between mind and medicine. Case after case is shows a direct relation to the mental state of mind and physical well being. Page 171 discusses the affect of heart attacks on men. In further reading, you see that anger and stress in ones life goes to show that they are five times more likely to have a heart attack. This further exemplifies that a positive state of mind is the best healing one can have. We become what we think about, and a lot of recovery lies within hope and having a positive mental attitude. Without these two elements, the data suggests that the odds are against you.

I found chapter thirteen to portray another vital element in the search for better emotional literacy. Goleman recalls the effect that the Holocaust had on people. A study was done fifty years later to see the effects of their well being. "As many as eight in ten still suffered from repeated nightmares." This continues into the discussion of a mental trauma called post-traumatic stress disorder. Often is depicted in veterans of war. By having extremely traumatic experiences regardless of age, the brain seems to change form and the amygdala mutants. This in turn, "alerts the body for an emergency that is not there in reality. " Through hours of rigorous therapy and emotional relearning, victims can slowly be rehabilitated. Research shows that the overexcitable amygdala can be tamed, with the right experiences (221).

Equally important, I have found several realizations about those whom which I am friends with. Chapter fifteen employs several notions into this easy to read chapter. I see some of these virtues in close friends. The taming of aggression seems the most significant. Nowadays, people are very impatient and always want something for nothing. Aggression and anger needs to be combated at an earlier age; however, if the parents are just as bad, then the cycle continues. Furthermore, the pattern continues into depression. Compared to the generation born before 1905, the parents of today are three times more likely to suffer a major bout with depression (240). Each generation has more stress than the one before. This only emphasizes the need for more emotional intelligence for the younger generation. In addition, a study in which the kids in elementary school that are unpopular seem to drop out of high school at a rate of twenty-five percent. Moreover, Goleman continues to show that study after study shows that in order to build self-esteem, love and patience must be given to a child from a young age onward. The emotional timetable portrays the most important element.

Teaching a human being to calm down and evaluate their emotions before reacting is a necessity. Goleman shows the reader the red, yellow, green light way to handling emotions (276). As the book concludes, the message is clear. It takes a village to raise a child. Parents need to try and strive towards raising emotional literate children. All educators should incorporate these ideals in this book into their classrooms and cover the emotional intelligence definition and how they may develop skill. Often, it is too late when individuals find out how to deal with their emotions. Only after a tragedy of some sort does one research and extend the knowledge in the right side of their brain. Why not start today?

Article by Michael Lerner