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this is a quote from Goleman

Now science is finally able to speak with authority to these urgent and perplexing questions of the psyche at its most irrational, to map with some precision the human heart.

This mapping offers a challenge to those who subscribe to a narrow view of intelligence, arguing that IQ is a genetic given that cannot be changed by life experience, and that our destiny in life is largely fixed by these aptitudes. That argument ignores the more challenging question:

What can we change that will help our children fare better in life?

 

What factors are at play, for example, when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well?

 

(What does it mean to "do well"?)

 

 

I would argue that the difference quite often lies in the abilities called here emotional intelligence, which include self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself.

And these skills, as we shall see, can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them.

 

.... science is finally able to speak with authority to these urgent and perplexing questions of the psyche at its most irrational, to map with some precision the human heart.

This mapping offers a challenge to those who subscribe to a narrow view of intelligence, arguing that IQ is a genetic given that cannot be changed by life experience, and that our destiny in life is largely fixed by these aptitudes. That argument ignores the more challenging question: What can we change that will help our children fare better in life? What factors are at play, for example, when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well? I would argue that the difference quite often lies in the abilities called here emotional intelligence, which include self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself. And these skills, as we shall see, can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them.

 

By now, many people around the world are convinced that emotional intelligence is somehow very important to us, perhaps even a matter of life or death on a very large scale. I am one of those who share this view. I believe that our understanding of emotional intelligence, and a wise use of this understanding can save many lives, many relationships and many marriages. I believe it can prevent the majority of unncessary deaths from wars, conflicts, hatred and suicide. I believe it can help us in our homes, schools and places of work.

The question remains though, what exactly is it?!

Back in 1995, in his first best selling book on the topic, Daniel Goleman introduced the world to the concept of emotional intelligence. In that book he called emotional intelligence a set of "skills" including self-control, zeal, persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself. Goleman believed that emotional intelligence was something that can be changed during one's life. He made it clear that he believed emotional intelligence is something quite different than intellectual intelligence. To him, intellectual intelligence is fixed at birth by your genetic luck or "lottery" as he called it.

This quote from the introduction of his book, shows us how Goleman was thinking in 1995:

What can we change that will help our children fare better in life? What factors are at play, for example, when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well? I would argue that the difference quite often lies in the abilities called here emotional intelligence, which include self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself. And these skills, as we shall see, can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them. (From p. xii of the introduction)

I will admit that when I first read Dan's book I didn't question his definition of EI. It didn't occur to me that there was something inconsistent about saying that intellectual intelligence is fixed at birth, but emotional intelligence isn't. This is a profound difference, with many implications. We must, therefore, ask ourselves this question: If emotional intelligence is so different than intellectual intelligence, is it fair to call it any kind of intelligence at all?

My own thinking about whether EI is really an intelligence or just a set of skills, like carpentry, was inspired by the work of John Mayer, Peter Salovey and David Caruso. These three individuals are probably the most respected in the field of EI, even if not the most well-known or most popular. I had the opportunity to meet and have extensive conversations with both John and David. They, along with their colleague Peter, helped me see that something was very wrong with the way Goleman was defining and portraying emotional intelligence. I am now convinced that it is more accurate, and indeed more helpful, to think of emotional intelligence as something which is an undeveloped, purely innate potential we begin life with.

The position held on this by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso is unclear. They have repeatedly emphasized that they disagree with Goleman when he says that emotional intelligence can be taught. This leads one to believe that they agree with the view that emotional intelligence is an innate potential. Yet some of their writing suggest they also consider it to be a set of skills. Here is a direct quote from their first publication on the topic:

This article presents a framework for emotional intelligence, a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan and achieve in one's life.

Emotional Intelligence, Peter Salovey, & John D. Mayer-- Imagination, Cognition, and Personality (1990),9, 185-211. notes in ei abs file.

My own definition of emotional intelligence is:

 

 

 

Goleman's concept and definition of emotional intelligence has now been largely adopted by the majority of those who believe in the importance of it.