Emotional Intelligence

At the Bondi Writers Group yesterday we listened to a talk from a writer on relationships, who has found work in Australia as a personal trainer. Carolyn Dahlman calls herself a “love coach”. Her presentation was around the idea of networking in order to be published. This was very relevant for all of us, I thought. Most of the large group of writers who attended were hoping to be published one day. Many of us sit at home and hope to create publishable works without moving outside our study. Her message was that in this fast-moving world we need to self-promote through the internet and other technology at our disposal, and to go out and meet people and talk about our projects. Admittedly, she has found a saleable niche, in that many lonely people need her psychological know-how, and her skills for relating to others. At the same time, she knows how to self promote, loves what she does, and has boundless energy for doing so.

One of the questions was from a highly intelligent member of our group about the supra-importance of intelligence for a happy life. Some of us, including the speaker, disagreed with him. In fact, intelligence can be an obstacle in a person’s search for “truth”. The speaker’s response was that “emotional intelligence” is far more important for finding love and happiness. She often meets intelligent men and women who are afraid of seeking out love (fearing commitment? emotional pain?) and who live a lonely life as a result. Several people in the group pointed out examples of “idiot savants” (the “Rain Man” played by Dustin Hoffman) who can calculate extraordinary sums in their head, but who can barely look after themselves.
According to the Businessballs website : “Emotional Intelligence links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality: bringing compassion and humanity to work, and also to Multiple Intelligence theories, which illustrate and measure the range of capabilities people possess, and the fact that everybody has a value.” Another definition of EQ is “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discrimiate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Salovey and Mayer, 1990).
Daniel Goleman, in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, identified 5 aspects of the concept as follows: Knowing your emotions; Managing your own emotions; Motivating yourself; Managing relationships i.e. Managing the emotions of others.
In my experience, the fifth one is the hardest to achieve, with which many parents will agree.

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