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Emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of success than IQ, job experience or education. Dan Goleman, author of the best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” defines EQ as self-awareness, social awareness, regulation and managing relationships.

Practice self-regulation to improve performance In a recent blog post, Goleman explained that “when we’re under stress, the brain secretes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that in the best scenario mobilize us to handle a short-term emergency, but in the worst scenario create an ongoing hazard for performance. In that case:

  • Attention narrows to focus on the cause of the stress, not the task at hand.
  • Our memory reshuffles to promote thoughts most relevant to what’s stressing us and…
  • We fall back on negative learned habits. The brain’s executive centers – our neural circuitry for paying attention, comprehending, and learning – are hijacked by our networks for handling stress.

Self-regulation is a key ability of emotional intelligence. People who can manage their emotions well are able to recover more quickly from stress arousal. This means, at the neural level, quieting the amygdala and other stress circuits, which frees up the capacities of the executive centers. Attention becomes nimble and focused again, the mind flexible, the body relaxed. And a state of relaxed alertness is optimal for performance. MORE