I believe that part of building resilience involves improving one's emotional intelligence. The work of Dr. Daniel Goleman has promoted the concept of "emotional intelligence," or "EQ," as being as important in one's functioning and relationships as traditional intelligence. How is this linked to resilience?
In a recent interview, Dr. Goleman begins to reveal answers to this very question.
Ever since Daniel Goleman published his book "emotional intelligence," he has educated millions of people about the importance of this concept. He has discussed emotional intelligence in the context of business, the positive impact that it can have on persons in leadership roles, and its important role in education. He believes that emotional intelligence is just as important to teach children as reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Why? Emotional intelligence has the potential to positively impact the success, quality of life, and relationships of individuals as they progress through life. People who understand themselves well, and who understand how to relate to and connect with others, tend to be happier, be more self-confident, more productive, and have healthy and rich relationships throughout their lives.
Daniel Goleman provides a new perspective, however, on how emotional intelligence can be a critical factor affecting a person’s resilience during crises. He explains that a person who is self-aware, socially adapt, and empathetic will be able to survive and thrive on the other side of a life crisis because they have the social and relational skills to be able to handle unexpected and unfortunate circumstances. They know how to advocate for themselves, to problem solve, and to seek support when they need it the most.
In addition, emotionally intelligent individuals know how to provide empathy to those around them who may also be affected by a crisis or dire situation. Being supportive and compassionate to others can have a positive impact on our emotional adjustment – when we feel needed and believe that we can help others, we also become stronger and more resilient.
While the development of social skills is an important piece of emotional intelligence, this is only one aspect of it. Other important components of emotional intelligence include:
- an understanding of self,
- a desire to know and understand others,
- the ability to empathize,
- the motivation to persist and overcome challenges, and
- the ability to regulate and manage one's emotions.
In the video above, Mr. Goleman speaks of the importance of resilience in living a healthy and happy life. By not allowing circumstances to get the best of us and keep us down, we can rise up above times of trial and believe that we can survive and even thrive because we have endured struggles. If we believe that we are not broken by circumstances, but rather that the big picture of our life is bigger than our specific circumstances at any given time, we can manage the intensity of our emotions and become more resilient.
I wonder what would happen if we started a revolution to promote emotional intelligence as the best way of building resilience? What would happen if we taught emotional intelligence as part of an educational curriculum, alongside of other core areas of knowledge? In the world today, where children are forced to grow up quickly; where they are exposed to tragedy and violence in every direction, and where we can never predict when someone will have to endure an unexpected loss or prolonged suffering – why isn't emotional intelligence widely known as the key to resilience?