Owen Pearn (Owen Parachute) Owen Pearn (Owen Parachute)

  • IQ
  • EQ
  • SQ

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Top photo by Mike Wilson

Emotional Intelligence

Book: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Video: (6 mins) Self-awareness, self-management, empathy, social skills / relationship

Social Intelligence

Book: Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Video: (56 mins) 2007 Talks at Google

  • By learning about, and managing, our emotions, we can transform our relationship with them, and with our colleagues, our families, and our friends.

  • Emotional intelligence makes people highly effective no matter what they do. The soft skills of emotional intelligence (how we handle ourselves and our relationships) have the hard consequence of being catalytic for our other abilities because of the way the brain is structured.

  • Self-awareness, emotional mastery, motivation, empathy, and social effectiveness have a greater impact than raw intelligence on career success, individual performance, leadership, and the creation of successful teams.

  • IQ just gets you entry to the game - the predictive power of IQ for career success accounts for 4% of the variation.

  • For all jobs everywhere, emotional intelligence competencies are more important in predicting who will become outstanding, and they get more important the more the leadership role. Competencies that distinguish stars are:

    • The drive to achieve (EQ)

    • Impact or influence - being able to make persuasive arguments (EQ)

    • Conceptual thinking - pattern recognition, seeing what matters (IQ)

    • Analysis - breaking problems down systematically, drawing logical conclusions (IQ)

    • Being persistent and self-confident (EQ)

    • Operating independently, not being told what to do (EQ)

  • The brain is an elegant machine that has been shaped by what works in survival. Emotions have, in evolution, the primary survival function.

  • The amygdala is the brain’s sentinel, scanning everything we see: “Is this a threat?”, “Do I eat it or does it eat me?”

  • The amygdala is a hair-trigger and it would rather be safe than sorry. It gets a very fuzzy picture of what’s going on but if it thinks it has a match, it creates a rush of stress hormones, it changes the entire way the brain prioritises information, it captures attention, it changes the hierarchy within memory so that we remember and think about only to what pertains to the thing at the moment - the classic fight-flight-freeze trigger.

  • What we face today are not physical threats. We face complex symbolic threats which still trigger the HPA axis, which means attention narrows and fixates and we get into a state which is suboptimal for most of life.

  • When the amygdala really thinks something’s urgent, it creates an amygdala hijack - you have a very strong emotional response, very sudden and intense. We get really dumb when the amygdala takes us over. We’re being run by our fears and our angers, by emotional repertoires that were learned unconsciously in childhood. We become very childlike.

    owenparachute: It’s not a hijack! It has the best intentions for you!

  • The amygdala sends out thoughts that could become really upsetting or that could provoke anxiety or make you really angry. And the left prefrontal cortex basically says, “Shut up, I don’t need to hear that now” and it calms the amygdala. People who have this ability have more good days, more high energy, more self-confidence, more enthusiasm and better moods.

  • Knowing what you’re feeling and why is very important for decision-making (“What’s the best thing to do?”) and ethics/integrity/priorities/values (“What’s the right thing to do?”).

  • When we have a thought, our emotional centres valence it for us. Our life wisdom is stored in the basal ganglia. It can’t tell us what it knows in words. It tells us in feelings. It tells us “This is right” or “This is wrong” as a gut feeling. To read yes or no, we must be able to attune to that feeling.

  • Distressing emotions shrink your cognitive capacity because they preoccupy your mind and make it harder for you to do the work at hand.

  • The ability to inhibit distressing emotions is an enabler of cognitive capacity because it leaves full attention available for what you’re trying to do.

  • Impulsivity and agitation are signs of the amygdala being poorly inhibited.

  • “Flow” is an optimal state in which your attention is unbreakably, undistractably focussed, your skills are challenged, you are able to handle it and it feels really good.

  • The neurophysiology of frazzle is: you secrete lots of cortisol and adrenaline and things fall apart cortically because you’re completely preoccupied by what’s causing the frazzle.

  • The best place to be for cortisol effectiveness, to leverage IQ skills, is an emotional place determined by the emotional brain. Self-mastery is catalytic for your cognitive abilities.

  • The brain is wired to attune to and regulate itself according to the internal state of other people.

  • The social brain operates beneath consciousness. Every interaction has an emotional subtext. Tacitly, we’re always making other people feel either a little or a lot worse or a little or a lot better.

  • Mirror neurons elicit and activate in us a mirror image of what the other person is doing, feeling and intending. They allow an interaction to go smoothly without having to think about it.

  • An example of the social brain in action is a moment of rapport - when we pay full attention to another person and let the social brains do their dance.

  • We are biological allies for the people in our lives who love us and who we love. Your mere presence for someone you care about who’s distressed, does something inside their body which is healthful.

  • The circuitry for emotional hurts (eg. social rejection) is identical to that which registers physical pain.

  • All emotional intelligence abilities remain malleable through neuroplasticity. We can continue to strengthen and build this circuitry if we have the right learning situations. One generic way to do this is meditation - the longer you’ve been meditating, the stronger your circuitry becomes for managing and inhibiting distressing emotions, and the better you feel.

  • Children don’t have a lot of emotional intelligence because the PFC-amygdala circuitry is the last part of the brain to be put in place and doesn’t fully mature until the mid-20s.

Want to increase your EQ or SQ? Say hello

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