EQ Overview

Emotional intelligence is creating conscious choice in our thoughts, feelings, and actions in relationships with ourselves and others. It is central to all kinds of success, to joy, and to satisfaction. Certainly it is essential to interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships at school, at home, and at work.

People are guided by a system of understandings, skills, and patterns. This system develops in conjunction with other aspects of personality and intelligence. Damasio, for example, writes that emotions are "enmeshed in the neural networks of reason" (Descartes' Error, 1994). This interconnected system of reason and feeling has great influence on both day-to-day behaviors and long-term growth.

Like other kinds of intelligence, EQ is identified through the use of particular skills -- there are eight fundamental skills in the Six Seconds model, and it is divided into three main parts:

Know Yourself

  • Build emotional literacy
  • Recognize patterns

Choose Yourself

  • Evaluate and re-choose
  • Apply consequential thinking
  • Engage intrinsic motivation
  • Increase optimism

Give Yourself

  • Create empathy
  • Commit to noble goals

These fundamentals lead to certain behaviors. Because it is nearly impossible to see what happens inside a learner's brain, educators compromise and observe a learner's behavior. While there are some serious flaws in this approach -- for instance, learners demonstrate understanding in many ways -- it remains a useful "yardstick" for assessment. Conversely, by learning to do these behaviors well, people develop an internalized understanding -- they create new habits of mind and body. It is quite useful, then, to recognize behaviors that mark the developing EQ. Some of these are:

  • Talk about feelings and needs
  • Listen, share, comfort
  • Grow from conflict and adversity
  • Prioritize and then set goals
  • Include others
  • Make conscious decisions
  • Give time and resources to the larger community

Know, Choose, Give

Since the EQ fundamentals and resultant behaviors interconnect and overlap, it may be helpful to categorize emotional intelligence in a more general way. Six Seconds uses a three-part approach: Know Yourself, Choose Yourself, and Give Yourself.

"Know Yourself" is emotional awarness. It includes naming and communicating emotions, understanding the way emotion and cognition interrelate (i.e., emotional thinking and cognitive thinking affect one another), recognizing your own patterns, and identifying your needs.

"Choose Yourself" is emotional management. It is defined by reshaping those patterns, setting priorities, and making choices based on conscious processes.

"Give Yourself" is emotional self-direction. It is the aspect of emotional intelligence which concerns a commitment to the larger world -- like recognizing interdependence and committing to noble goals (e.g., service learning).

Source: Self-Science Emotional Intelligence Curriculum