“During most of the 20th Century we were led to believe that it was our cognitive intelligence, or IQ, that determined how well we would do in life. Yet our common sense and simple power of observation tells us that this simply cannot be the case,” Canadian author Harvey Deutschendorf writes. “All of us know people who were very bright, according to their grades at school, but have struggled to fit into society.”
Despite stories of infamous high-IQ misfits like “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, not all social skills deficients fall into the pathological range; many such people have merely had less than adequate role models and lack training in what is now called “emotional intelligence,” or “EI.” Described as “an array of attributes and tools that enable us to deal with the pressures and demands of our environment,” emotional intelligence may prove to be more important than IQ in determining who will have a happy, successful life. EI has been shown in workplace testing to account for 24—45% of job success. It also is credited with higher satisfaction in personal and intimate relationships.
Many government and corporate leadership programs now train workers in emotional intelligence skills and EI tests are routinely administered to job applicants, yet Deutschendorf, who is a coach, speaker and member of both the Mankind Project and the Human Capital Institute, found that outside of high-cost corporate seminars and business-related books, little was available for individuals seeking improvement in their emotional intelligence abilities.
Changing behaviors takes time and practice in actual life situations, and progress depends upon the degree and duration of damage or abuse that has occurred in one’s life, but Deutschendorf affirms that it is possible for anyone to become more adaptable and flexible, tolerate stress better and learn how to reduce it, get control over their impulses, learn how to enlist the help of others in solving problems and become more positive in their outlook. The author provides techniques to develop inner characteristics like emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, self-actualization and independence that make for healthy and successful interactions and relationships in the outer world.
A self-test is provided for readers to assess their current EI quotient and tips are given for practicing and mastering new skills. The book is enlivened by stories of people facing and resolving challenges and offers hope that EI skills can indeed be learned and are not just inborn traits granted the lucky few.