في المعنى

Review by Omar Al Saadi

Emotional Inteligence
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Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ 1/2

Goleman tracks the progress of the scientific understanding of the realm of the irrational. He was stunned by two opposing trends; one shows the growing calamity in our emotional life, and the other offers some hopeful remedies. One of the bright things in the last two decades was the burst in the research and studies of emotion, which has become possible thanks to inventions, such as the new brain imaging technologies. The findings were a significant challenge to those who argue that IQ is a genetic given and can't be changed through life experience. And ignores the most challenging question, what can we change to help our children bear better lives? What factors are involved when a person with high IQ stumbles and another with modest IQ flourishes? The difference, Goleman argues, lies in emotional intelligence, which includes self-control, zeal and persistence, and self-motivation. As the book shows, these skills can be taught to children, giving them a better chance in life.

The view of human nature that ignores the role of emotions in shaping our decisions and actions is shortsighted.

There are many stories about parents sacrificing their life to save a beloved child, this sort of activity shows how much our passions are essential guides for our existence as human species. Only a powerful love could lead a parent to overtake the urge for personal survival. Seeing the act from the intellect will be irrational, but seeing it from the heart, is the only choice to make. We went too far in highlighting the value and vitality of IQ measures in human life, but for better or worse, intelligence can arrive at nothing when emotions bear power. Each emotion plays a distinctive role; with anger, the heart rate increases, and blood flows to the hands, making it easier to grab a weapon or strike. While with fear, blood pushes to skeletal muscles, making it easier to flee. An emotion like happiness increases the activity in the brain center that inhibits negative feelings and enables an increase in the available energy and soothing the brain areas that generate worrisome thoughts. In our ancient past, anger may have offered a crucial advantage for survival. In contrast, in modern times, the availability of automatic machine guns to young teenagers has often made anger catastrophic. The relative inability of IQ measures to accurately predict who will succeed in life is no longer a secret. On the group level, there is a relationship between IQ and life possibilities; many people with very low IQs end up in menial jobs, and those with high IQs tend to have well-paid positions. But not always. IQ offers little to explain the different futures of people with approximately equal potential and opportunities. For example, ninety-five students at Harvard University from the 1940s followed into middle age; the men with the highest scores in college were not necessarily successful compared to their lower-scoring peers in terms of salary or productivity and neither the degree of life satisfaction and happiness.

Self-awareness is being aware of our internal states and our thoughts about these states.

In the Chapter titled Know Thyself, Golman starts with an old Japanese tale about a samurai who goes once to challenge a Zen master to explain the terms heaven and hell. The master replied, "You're nothing but a lout- I can't waste my time with the likes of you." The samurai became enraged. He pulled his sword and shouted, "I could kill you for your impertinence." "That," the master replied, "is hell." The samurai calmed down, put the sword back in its sheath, and bowed, thanking the master for the insight. "And that," said the master, "is heaven." The sudden awakening of the samurai to his internal state of anger and agitation illustrates the difference between being caught up in a feeling, thought, or mood and becoming aware of being entangled by it. The Awareness of one's emotions as they arise is a crucial element of emotional intelligence. Alexithymia is a broad term for people lacking words to describe their feelings. From the Greek "lack," lexia for "word." Alexithymia can't put their feelings into words. They lack the essential skills of emotional intelligence, self-awareness of our feelings, and the ability to describe them as emotions.

Aristotle said, "anyone can become angry -that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -that is not so easy."

Being able to master our emotions and not being a "passion slave" has been considered a virtue for several millennia. However, neither the Roman nor later the early Christian church pursued to suppress emotions; instead, they called for restraining emotions. Aristotle's challenge is to manage our emotional life with intelligence. Our passions, when well exercised, guide our values, thinking, and survival. Aristotle could see that the problem was not emotionality but the appropriateness of emotion and its expression. Suppose you are driving on a highway, and another driver tries to pass you in a risky way. In such a situation, let's say your reflexive thought at that moment was, "That son of a bitch" this thought will profoundly influence the trajectory of rage, whether followed by more outrage and revenge thoughts: "He could kill me! I can't let this idiot get away with that!" As a result, your palms are sweating as your hold on the steering tightens, your body mobilizes to fight, your heart flutters, and your facial muscles scowl. In contrast, a sequence of more kind thoughts toward the reckless driver, like "maybe he has an emergency, or he was distracted and didn't see me." such thoughts are the decisive key to defusing anger. They modify the outrage with compassion or at least hamper the buildup of anger. Having only appropriate anger is not easy, but Aristotle's challenge reminds us that our anger is often out of control. "Anger is never without reason but seldom with a good one." Rage is the mood that people find most formidable to control and change. Going outside the house or the office and taking a walk to calm down the rage surge is a well-known tool for de-escalating anger. But, the strategy won't work if the cooling-down time is used to follow and gets lost in the train of angry thoughts since each thought is a trigger for more anger. Some prevailing theory holds that "ventilating the rage makes you feel better." But there has been an argument made since the 1950s when the psychologist began to examine the effects of giving vent to anger and, time after time, saw that ventilating anger did little or nothing to dispel it. More than that, they found that giving vent to rage is the worst method to cool down; the outbursts of anger pump up the emotional arousal, leaving the person feeling angrier, not calmer. We always attempt to manage our moods by reading a book, watching a movie, playing a game, hanging out with friends, etc. To make ourselves feel better. And some psychologists see this as an essential psychic tool. The theory reveals that infants learn to soothe themself emotionally by treating themself as their caregivers have treated them; they become less vulnerable to emotional upheavals. People generally invest massive effort into changing the mood of sadness. But, of course, we should not try to escape all kinds of sad moods; like any other mood, it has its benefits, but the sadness that a loss brings shuts down our interest in pursuits and enjoyments and fixes our attention on what has been lost, and drains our energy. In many ways, melancholy can be helpful, but depression is not. One of the manifestations of full-scale depression is self-hatred, a sense of worthlessness, dread and alienation, and anxiety. In such major depression, life is paralyzed, and the person is incapable of new starts. But for most people, psychotherapy can help, as can medication. In addition, people can deal with a range of ordinary melancholy or "subclinical depression" on their own when they have the tactics. One popular tactic is doing something with friends or family, like going out to eat, playing games, or watching a movie. Another constructive technique is arranging an uncomplicated success, starting some long-delayed project or duty in the house. And seeing things differently or cognitive reframing is still the most potent antidote to depression.

The consequence of emotional distress is devastating to our mental clarity.

When concentration is overwhelmed by emotions, let's say you are overwhelmed by worrying during an exam or test. In such a situation, emotional arousal paralyzes your working memory, which means your ability to retrieve the relevant information for the task. Working memory has a crucial function in our mental life, from speaking to logical thinking. Contrary to worrying and anxiety, positive feelings of enthusiasm and confidence play a huge role in enhancing achievements. For example, studies of Olympic athletes and chess masters find that the common trait is the ability to motivate themselves to endure the routine of severe training programs that begin in childhood. The role of positive motivation can be seen in the outstanding performance of Asian students in American schools and professions. For instance, the Asian- American children may have an average IQ, yet based on their performance and careers as a group, such as in law and medicine, they perform as though their IQ were much higher. The more likely reason is from early school years, Asian children work harder than their white peers. A study containing more than ten thousand high-school students found that Asian Americans spent 40% more time doing homework than other students. In general, American parents are more willing to accept a child's weak areas and work on strengthening them than Asians, where the answer to not doing well at school is to study harder. Asian parents believe anyone can be good at school with the right effort.

The Flow emerges when people are challenged with a task that demands the greatest of their capacities.

A composer, chess master, football player, engineer, or hairdresser describes the state they experience during peak performance as a state of awe or ecstatic to the point that they almost don't exist anymore. They feel like their hand is acting on its own bereft from the self. They describe what psychologists call the "flow state," where excellent performance becomes effortless. Entering the Flow requires the ability to harness emotions in the service of the performance with the task at hand, which is, at its best, emotional intelligence. Conversely, being bored when the challenge is too simple or anxious if it is too rigid is to be drifted away from the Flow. The psychologist Howard Gardner, who developed the theory of multiple intelligences and inspired Goleman, sees the positive state of Flow as a part of the most advantageous method of teaching children in the area where they can develop competency by motivating them from the inside rather than through threats and promises of reward. In a conversation with Goleman, Gardner said, "Flow is an internal state that signifies a kid is engaged in the right task. You have to find something you like and stick to it. It's when kids get bored in school that they fight and act up, and when they're overwhelmed by challenge that they get anxious about their schoolwork. But you learn at your best when you have something you care about and you can get pleasure from being engaged in." I talked earlier about the term Alexithemya, used to describe people who lack words to express their feelings. Alexithemics lack both insight and empathy. Empathy builds on self-awareness. Thus, the more self-aware we are of our emotions, the more skilled we will be in reading another person's feelings. Knowing how another feels comes into play in an extensive display of our lives, from work to romantic relations, to parenting and politics. Words rarely express emotions. Far more often, emotions are expressed through nonverbal channels, like the tone of voice and facial and body expression. And women, in general, are better than men at reading these cues. Tests with more than seven thousand people in nineteen countries showed the benefits of the capability of reading feelings from nonverbal cues, including better att adjusting emotions, more outgoing and more sensitive. Psychologists found that newborns feel sympathetic distress before realizing they are apart from others. They react to the upset in people around them as though it was their own, for example, crying when they see another child pour tears or wiping their eyes when seeing the mother crying, though they have no tears. This motor mimicry fades at around two and a half years old, at the point when they realize that someone's pain differs from their own. Psychiatrist Daniel Stern thinks most basic emotional lessons are learned through the small, repeated interactions between parent and child. He believes these are critical moments to meet the child's emotions with empathy, acceptance, and reciprocation. The approach Stern calls attunement. Attunement differs from simple imitation, which shows the child we know what she did but not how she felt. With attunement, we let her know we grasp how she feels. However, the emotional consequences of lack of attunement don't stop in childhood.

Resisting impulses is the fundamental psychological skill for self-control.

The marshmallow test is one of the most famous in social science; the experimenter will put a marshmallow in front of a four-year-old child and tell the child that they can have another marshmallow if they can for 15 minutes without eating the first one. If they can't wait until then, they will have only one. The challenge faces the child with a simplified situation of the endless battle between impulse and restraint, desire and self-control, gratification and delay. The test offers not just a fast reading of the child's character but, most importantly, illustrates the paths they will likely take through life. Some children could wait and used different tactics to maintain self-control during the 15 minutes struggle; they covered their eyes, talked to themself, played with their hands and feet, and some tried to sleep. The diagnosis of how the child handled this moment of impulse became clearer fourteen years later when the same child was tracked down as an adolescent—the social and emotional difference between those who grabbed the marshmallow and those who could delay the gratifications was dramatic. The child who resisted the temptation of the marshmallow at four, now an adolescent, is more self-assertive, self-confident, dependable, socially competent, and better at dealing with life frustrations. On the other hand, the children who grabbed the marshmallow soon as the experimenter left the room were, as adolescents, less self-confident, avoided social contact, and more likely to be stubborn and quickly get upset by frustrations. And after more than a decade, they were still unable to delay gratifications.

The lack of empathy is seen in criminal psychopaths and child molesters.

A study of criminals who committed the most violent crimes found that the shared characteristic that distinguishes them from other criminals is that they had suffered emotional neglect, were raised as orphans, or were forced from foster homes to another, with little possibility for attunement. As a result, they are unable to empathize. Not sensing the victims' pain leads them to lie to themselves; for instance, a common lie among rapists is that " Women really want to be raped." Or abusive parents claim that they are not hurting the child. "It is good discipline." The most refined measures of empathy emerge in late childhood when children can understand the source of distress extends beyond the immediate situation. They see pain may be their own. They can start feeling an entire group's suffering, such as hunger, bolster adolescents' moral convictions toward mitigating suffering. Children about 30 months old try to manage someone else emotions, and the book shows an example where two siblings are playing. One gets upset, and the other, 30 months old, attempts to soothe his brother, using tactics varying from the simple appeal, seeking an ally in his mother, physically comforting him, to distraction, threats, and direct commands. The thirty months toddler relied on a repertoire of tactics the caregivers have tried with him in his moments of distress. To display such interpersonal power and attunement to others, children need to reach some degree of self-control that allows them to calm down their anger and despair.

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