Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Emotional Intelligence

You want to write a novel? Here’s how

First, read every day for a couple of hours. Start writing every day. Begin by composing a diary.

1. Keep reading a lot, in all kinds of sources

2. Write every day

3. The author might be good and the story too. Still, it is the illusion of being good that drives a reader to continue reading the novel

4. If the dialogue in every chapter do not convey the story, then probably the book is packed with irrelevant sections.

5. It is becoming a trend to begin a chapter with quotes from various “illustrious” personalities. This is an excellent scheme to provide the illusion that the author is a voracious reader and thus, a credible writer.

Actually, I find myself reading all the quotes before resuming with the novel

6. If the novel is short, it means that the author spent enormous effort and time to spare your emotional intelligence. Give the writer credit for doing his due diligence and hard earned labor

7. Spare the reader your direct opinions and countless descriptions in a single chapter. The rarer your opinions the more appreciated and valued are your interjections

8. Don’t fall prey to the Twaddle tendency. A single short and well phrased opinion with eloquent words per chapter may let the reader easily fall for your position

9. No need to let mystery be relegated to the last chapter. There are no mysteries.

Even investigative (detective) books leave clues for the reader to fine tune his expectations.

Your job is to describe the many facets of the mystery so that the reader may pick up elements for a story of his own.

10. Mind you of the “primacy effect“: the quality of the first chapter leaves a good impression for the remainder of the novel.

11. Mind you of the “recency effect“:  The quality of the last chapter leaves a recalling trace that the book was indeed read and appreciated.

12. Ambiguous ideas transform into vacant rambling: clarify your idea and re-edit.

13. “Murder your darlings” as literary critics Arthur Quiller-Couch stated.

Cut-out your darling and cherished but redundant sentences.

Axing your beliefs that feel like Old Friends is hard work, but it is imperative.

14. If you feel strongly about an opinion, due to repeated occasions from personal experience, and if this opinion is imperative to disseminate, then relegate the redundancy to various chapters. In this case, redundant opinions can be registered more effectively.

Does emotional intelligence make you a better designer?

If you need to understand what is coined Emotional Intelligence, do refer to links in Note 2 and 3.

Emotional intelligence does make us better designers. a substantial body of research supports this.

Better designers understand the relationship between their designs and the resulting emotional experience 1.

And that’s because the emotional connection to a design is what engages us in the first place 2.

Later, we attempt to rationalize those emotions.

William Choukeir posted this November 14, 2013

F.C. Buck Rogers wrote: “customers buy on emotion and then justify with logic”.

Look at the image above. What do you feel?

Those of us who can identify with what the woman is feeling are on the right track.

“The iPod was not the 1st mp3 player, but it was the 1st to be delightful”. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

So what is emotional intelligence really?

In short, at the center of emotional intelligence is empathy 3. and empathy allows us to understand another’s feelings, and be able to re-experience them 3. empathy allows us to understand another’s point of view 4.

design thinkers can imagine the world from multiple perspectives—those of end users and customers (current and prospective.) they can imagine solutions that are ‘desirable’. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

A few are better than others at using emotions to solve design problems 3. this doesn’t mean that those with lower emotional intelligence are doomed at design. there’s good news for them. it seems, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned 3.

there are now proven steps to improve this skill 5:

1. the first step is knowing what the 8 core emotions are. all remaining emotions are a mix of those core emotions 6. each emotion is a button. the more we can identify the nuances between emotions we’re feeling, the better we can trigger them through our designs.

2. knowing which button to press might not make our job easier. but it sure helps us identify what’s important from all the noise.

you might look at the image of the woman above and feel something negative. or you might notice a more specific emotion, like sadness. if you’re more emotionally aware, you might identify more subtle emotions like disappointmentshameangerremorse and, just maybe, hope. if you identified those more subtle emotions, then you’re on the right track.

Note 1: If you like to submit you reply and participate, link to Does emotional intelligence make you a better designer?

1• Chitturi, R. Raghunathan, R. & Mahajan, V. (2008). Delight by design: The role of hedonic versus utilitarian benefits. Journal of Marketing, 72-73,
2• Brown, T. (2008). Harvard Business Review: Design thinking, 84.
3• Salovey, P. Yale University. Mayer D., J. University of New Hampshire. (1990) Emotional intelligence. Baywood Publishing Co. Inc.
4• Hogan, R. (1969). Development of an empathy scale. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 33.
5• Emotional competence framework, Consortium for research on emotional intelligence in organizations. (1998).
6•  Plutnik, R. (1980). A general psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion, in emotion: theory, research, and experience, Volume 1. Academic press, NY. 3-33.

Our entire life is a constant stream of acts of faith…

Our brain is trained, since we are born, to act according to sets of acts of faith.

Whatever we were told about, taught, any behavior we were “forced” to change, tacitly or consciously, are intrinsic part of our belief system.

We move around and do thousands of involuntary acts and decisions during the day without being aware of them: Our unconscious brain is taking over most of our acts and decisions, and is in total control of our daily habits.

You purchase a red car. The next day your mind plays tricks on you and you see your car is turning greenish. What color are you ready to believe you car is? You don’t believe your senses at this moment, but you rely on your act of faith. The car you purchased was red, you saw it, it is the color of your preference and Red is how you were told the color is.

For thousands of years, earth was flat and the sun fixed. This act of faith didn’t turn earth not roundish and the sun constantly moving…

This belief system didn’t change the daily life of the common people, except those who dared to challenge these concepts.

The “reformed belief system” just opened up new job opportunities and business undertaking, for better or worse.

We go to schools and we are inculcated thousands of “pieces of knowledge” without experimenting, investigating, or even reflecting on these knowledge. This big baggage of acts of faith, which we carry around, without even realizing that these knowledge as in fact sets of a belief system.

You have people calling themselves scientists and engineering who say they only believe in plain “facts” and experimental research…

Now and then, you have a bloke telling them that their “scientific” system of assumptions and taken for granted rational or logical acquisition are faulty. Paradigm shifts are common occurrences in every field of study, and yet, the scientific professionals in every field of practice take to their graves the old belief system. How do you expect the common people to change their belief systems?

And you have all these clerics from all religions and sects trying their hardest to superimpose “conscious knowledge” of mythical stories and abstract notions on your already supercharged acts of faith.

All these clerics making it a business to make you believe in redundant “set of faiths” by frequent training and practices (going to religious ceremony, contributing money, getting to gathering, baptizing, wedding, burying you..) building in routines of customs and rituals… As your family and educational systems have done previously.

And you have people changing their religious faith because a few prescribed daily habits in these sects are more comfortable and suit better their comfort zone, and then claim to believe in the entire structure of the belief system of their new religion… And go about persecuting the hapless members of other religions…

As if our brain does not function naturally going about acts of faith

A well-oiled system that drives you implicitly to constant stream of acts of faith

When young, we hanged on varied ideologies, principles, moral standards, opinions… As we grow up, we try to alter many of these positions with rational attitudes and “sounder logic”… But if we scratch a little deeper under this thin rational reversal of stands, anyone who knew us will discover the foundations of the initial belief system.  All we do is to fundamentally fool ourselves that we have changed…

Basically, we spend our life adapting to the default belief systems and default values, pre-programmed in our nervous system…

What can bring change to our mind are frequent different actions and engagement in order to train the brain to newer sets of belief systems with newer daily habits, physically and in thinking.

We need to make conscious effort to attend and observe how we obey the automatic reactions of our nervous system, and try to disobey the automatic orders, now and then. Exercise our attention restricted capabilities to increase our emotional intelligence...

And this is a harsh journey for actually changing the initial acts of faith that we have lived with for so many years and are part of our fiber.

As we grow up, we start claiming that we don’t trust people, and that we trust animals on the ground their behavior do not fluctuate wildly…

Fact is we tend to heap good faith on strangers, and particularly when we are strangers in their environment.

As we lack the energy to investigate and ask targeted questions on every stranger, we rely on the blink judgement power of our unconscious to do the quick and dirty job for us.

All those idiosyncratic opinions and judgment we amass growing up, the countless forgotten experience that we have forgotten, the zillion innuendos that our memories have stashed away, for the unconscious to retrieve and sift through at leisure…

Emotional Intelligence? And Performance criteria in Meditation research

Mindfulness is the ability to voluntarily bring back a wandering attention, over and over again…

This ability is the very root of judgment, character and will.

And this ability to improve mindfulness requires education and training par excellence … (William James, father of modern psychology)

Before I mention the performance criteria in meditation research, it is good to describe what the book objectives in “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan are:

Emotional Intelligence: Like what?

1. Self-awareness for knowing your internal emotional states, preferences, resources, and kinds of intuitions…

2. Self-regulating your internal emotional states, impulses and resources…

3. Motivating your emotional tendencies that guide and facilitate reaching a few of your goals

4. Empathy and awareness of other’s feelings, needs and concerns. For example, your first intuition on meeting anybody is to say to yourself “I wish for this person to be happy”

5. Building social skills and getting adept at including desirable responses in others…

Performance criteria in meditation research:

1. High-amplitude gamma brain waves: Associated with high effectiveness in memory, learning and perception

2. Healing of psoriasis: a skin condition characterized by red spots that grow larger as the disease worsens

3. Thicker cortex in brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing.

4. Lowering anxiety level:  Increased electrical activity in the brain regions associated with positive emotion…

5. Increased immunity to illnesses: Subjects in meditation group injected with flu shots develop more antibodies to the influenza vaccine

6. Attention- blink span: The normal attention-blink time for processing two successive stimuli is about 50 milliseconds. Meditation exercises reduce the span and permit to attend to two stimuli. Consequently, improvement in the ability to pay attention to information for a prolonged period of time…

Mindfulness permit the self-discovery in a scientific inquiry process.

Training the attention has for objective to improve and develop insight into the mind.

Thus, attention is a powerful torchlight that can spot what we are searching for in a dark room…

Is “emotional labor” an intellectual risk? What you were hoping for again?

This post is an attempt of merging three short posts of Seth Godin within a guiding direction and a single message: Godin’s posts sound modular to me. I realized that if I select three posts of Seth Godin at random, I can discover a unifying message in them. Here is an example, with a few rearrangement and editing; sentences in parenthesis are mine:

You have to make promises to customers to earn their attention for a first trial:  That is the easiest task. The ability to delight and surprise is at the core of every beloved brand for teenagers (a product, a new politician, a new service, a new facility…)  Now, what did you do to deliver on your promises?

You have promised a lot of  “satisfaction” for a product or a service: Have you invested time and detailed efforts to delivering even more than what you promised?

Dissatisfaction occurs when salespeople and marketers tend to try to amplify the first part (what you’re promised) while neglecting the second. Over hyped and shady promises will undercut successes, if you don’t mean to deliver for the long run. Promise a lot but deliver even more.

Research shows that what people remember is far more important than what they experience, (though only experiencing the product is what make a brand a success story).

What’s remembered are:

1. the peak of the experience (bad or good) and,

2. the last part of the experience.

The easiest way to amplify customer satisfaction is more likely to under promise.  The next phase is to increase the positive peak and make sure it happens near the end of the experience you provide. Easy to say, but rarely done.

Written on a tomb in Westminster Abbey

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change

So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country,

But it too seemed unmovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt,

I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me,

But alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my death-bed, if I had only changed myself first,

Then by example I might have changed my family,

From their inspiration and encouragement I would have been able to better my country,

And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

It is easy to get behind a cause, it is easy to watch Fox or MSNBC and regurgitate the talking points we hear from the “experts”.

Personal change is hard, it takes real work. But people notice it.

Seth Godin wrote:

“Excitement about goals is often diminished by our fear of failure or the drudgery of work.

If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big.

Do a job for a long time and achieve what you set out to achieve, and suddenly, the dream job becomes a trudge instead. The job hasn’t changed–your dreams have.

Mostly, it’s about our fear. Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety.

While you can work hard to dream smaller dreams, I think it’s better to embrace the fear and find bigger goals instead.

(I say: “Find the right size of your dream: Tailor-make the trade-off between you capacity to sustain a dream and the power of  your fear in the prospect of failure”)

In this  world you get paid for showing up, paid for hours spent, paid for working. You are pushed to believe that it’s clearly an advantage to have a team that spends more time (working) than the competition. One way to get ahead as a freelancer or a factory worker was simply to put in more hours.

After all, it is the hours spent effectively working that made you more productive, if we define productivity as output per dollar spent. Sounds like this kind of work-life balance challenge is a new artefact that doesn’t hold to brave people.

But people have discovered that after hour 24, there are no more hours left. Suddenly, you can’t get ahead by out-working the other guy, because both of you are already working “the hardest possible”.

Just in time, the economy is now rewarding art and innovation and guts. It’s rewarding brilliant ideas executed with singular direction by aligned teams on behalf of truly motivated customers. None of which is measured on the clock.

Work/life balance is a silly trade-off, just as work/food balance or work/breathing balance is. It’s not really up to you after a point.

Instead of sneaking around the edges, it might pay to cut your hours in half and steadfastly take the intellectual risks and do the emotional labor you’re capable of.

(I think that engaging in “emotional labor” carries an intellectual risk to it: It is accepting that emotions are other forms of defining intelligence).

Age of Affects:  What is Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Suffering at a distance, and other concepts?

Five social concepts from 5 books, spanning the years 1993 to 2009, are summarized.

1.  Suffering at a distance.  In 1993, the sociologist Boltanski wondered how people react to streams of shocking pictures displayed on the screens, of victims of famine, abject poverty, and misery. How people behave when exposed to suffering at a distance?

Would the spectator feel the same emotions as experienced by the victims?

Boltanski claimed that there are 3 levels of affects: indignation, compassion, and aesthetic contemplation.

Every order of emotion calls for a different action, spanning from public actions, to contribution of money, or expressing skeptical indifference.

Boltanski judged that only the pragmatic public action (marches, demonstrations…) to suffering at distance can justify our reactions, instead of systematic denunciations.  What do you think?

2.  Emotional Intelligence.  In 1995, Goleman popularized the concept of “Emotional Quotient“.

Subjects would submit to a battery of tests meant to measuring the “aptitude of individuals to controlling their emotions and the emotions of others, and using the information to guiding their actions.”

The EQ was claimed to predict better than IQ performances at the job, personal success, and the well-being of organizations.  Apparently, Goleman failed to factor-in the individual ethical standards  that affect their conducts when the corporation pressure them into taking immoral decisions and actions.

Personally, I think emotional intelligence are better predictor than standard concept of intelligence, but I have not analyzed the battery of test for an opinion.  In any case, I believe that IQ test predicts nothing:  It is used as an excuse by institutions to select candidates that they think fit the bill of potential elites in society. What do you think?

3.  The forces of emotions.  In 2001, Lelord and Andre disagreed with the conventional paradigm that emotions (depression, phobia, melancholia, irritability…) are unreasonable impulses that are tamed by letting off steam, of venting out emotions and sharing them with others…

The two authors consider that undesirable emotions are matters of errors of appreciation:  They must be managed as when confronting illusions.  Thus, the patient needs to reach a point of recognizing the illusion and comprehending the somatic factors that initiate the emotions.  They call this therapy “Behavioral cognitive therapy” What do you think?

4.  Geopolitics of Emotions.  In 2008, Moisi, a specialist in international relations, claimed that collective feelings animate current world relations.

Three big collective blocks of emotions were selected are predominating the world scene:

1.The optimist emerging Asia (China and India);

2. The wounded by history of the Arab/Islamic world; and

3. The apprehensive western nations of their decline.

What do you think? (Demographical Rate of increase  tend to forecast the level of optimism in a nation)

5.  Age of Empathy.  In 2009, Waal came to the conclusion that, in mammalian species (mankind included), only empathy or the capacity of perceiving and feeling the emotions of others (fear, suffering…) explains the acts of sacrifice, altruism, and actions of coming to rescue of others

Waal wrote that empathy is the foundation to our set of moral values.

I may conclude that value systems are stable among civilizations; what differs are the priority given to values in the nurturing level in educational systems.

What do you think?




June 2022

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