Emotional intelligence goes by various terms, such as; EQ, emotional literacy, and social emotional learning (SEL). Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the umbrella in which character education programs have fallen under, such as, violence prevention, anti-bullying, drug prevention, teen pregnancy, school discipline, leadership training, and a whole lot more
These Social Emotional Learning programs mentioned above, as well as many others have improved school academic performance, job performance, health and have even created a better democracy according to Daniel Goleman author of, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Now the big challenge, Goleman stresses, is to get these emotional intelligence programs out of the shadows of main stream education and into the classrooms fulltime. Today’s students need to be inoculated with daily on-going emotional intelligence lessons that will keep them on the right path, instead of outside assistance as an afterthought once things have already gone wrong.
Recent research has shown that the brain is kind of like a muscle. Its neuroplasticity allows the brain to be shaped by repeated experiences. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) experiences, according to Goleman, are especially potent in shaping our human brains. So, any view of human nature, or intellectual training that ignores the power of emotions is shortsighted. In short, it’s not a very good decision to ignore emotional intelligence.
Oh, by the way, making everyday decisions is also a vital emotional intelligence. In making decisions, feelings count every bit as much as thought, and sometimes even more. For example, the powerful emotion of love can get us to do some pretty irrational things, wouldn’t you agree? This irrationalism of our stronger emotions has persisted throughout the ages to the extent that even some of our first laws attempted to domesticate our powerful, and sometimes troubling emotions. For what are the Code of Hammurabi, the Ten Commandments, and the Edicts of Emperor Ashoka if not an attempt to subdue emotional life, help us make more rational decisions, and lessen the probability that our irrational emotions will hijack our rational thinking?
Believe it or not, our appraisal of every personal encounter, and our response to it, is shaped not just by our rational judgment, but also our own personal history and distant ancestral past. We still have those same ancestral emotions that worked so well for the last 50,000 generations that helped our ancestors survive and climb their way to the top of the food chain. However, these same ancestral emotions don’t always work so well in modern times where we aren’t looked at anymore as food for some other animal. We no longer have to be in that survival fight or flight mode.
However, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. All emotions are impulses to act. Emotions’ Latin root word “motere” means to move. In the animal kingdom is was good to move and to move quickly, sometimes without even taking the time to think about it. But during a job performance review acting without thinking about it may not be such a good idea.
Have you ever acted without thinking? Yup… Don’t be so hard on yourself. For the entire history of mankind we all have been doing this… It’s just the way that we are wired. And now that we know about this, maybe we can better control it.
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, educator, a parent expert and certified life coach. Find out more about Dan at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com