Emotional Intelligence circa 2014

Fast Company recently wrote that EI or emotional intelligence is beginning to be considered along SAT scores in college admittance – at Yale no less! Likewise, the New York Times reported on how emotional awareness tactics are helping discouraged job seekers find work.

What’s up with this? Why is emotion – that feared and denigrated element of human experience – getting so much positive press?

In short it is because neuroeconomists, affective neuroscientists and a few psychological researchers are getting a more accurate picture of emotion’s role in perception, judgment and action. The finding is that we have had it all wrong. Emotions are a good thing! It is only when they are conflated or confused with automatic behavior or action that they become a problem.

Emotion in its pure form acts as information in the unconscious. In short, this means to create our maximum success, we need to start culling and analyzing what it is telling us. We have for the most part been taught to avoid this form of information so it may be a bit of a haul to figure it out. Nevertheless, given that we will be going with the mental grain and not against it, it will be easier and more productive than it may sound.

The proverbial fear and greed (not the two actual basic emotions of Wall St. – but that’s another post) can be parsed. In doing so, intuitions (or experiential learning) about the patterns of the market will become more available to the conscious mind.

It’s a little bit like well-prepared Olympians just executing and not thinking too hard. It pays to turn away from the data and ponder what feelings it or a situation leave you with. You will be surprised at the wisdom you find.




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