Emotional Intelligence: Part One

• Amygdala and prefrontal lobes present in our brain play the role of alarm systems in our body. They are the ones that make you react now like remove your hand once it touches stove, hide when you see that bully kid approaching your direction.

• The decisions are derived from feelings attached to past similar experiences, societal and cultural handover given to us on “what to do when in …”.

• The Neocortex and limbic system on other hand takes care of the rationality in decision. It applies logic, sees through the situation, and then calls the shot.

• This part of decisioning is more about assessing options in hand, factual analysis of each option.

• Interesting part for humans is that they different from their primitive ancestors or to date mammal compatriots in this decision-making process. Where the primitive life or the mammals around us had mostly binary decisioning like flight or fight, hide to save your self etc. Humans have plethora of emotional options while deciding.

• Situation of emergency like life threatening situations are more of less same and need to take urgent call. This normally happens in auto mode with preprogrammed set up in amygdala.

• However, decisioning in routine matters, or grievous matters where you have time to ponder is a mess of ifs and buts.

• We have become a society obsessed with IQ. Great IQ score is a benchmark for your success and happiness (in theory at least). However, it is not only IQ that helps you thrive in life, but there is also something else with it.

• The perfect decisions and most precise and sane ones emerge when the 2 parts of our brain i.e., the thinking one (Neocortex and limbic system) and the feeling one (Amygdala and prefrontal lobes) are coordinated well enough.

• If the feeling one (amygdala) takes the driver seat, it can cause frenzy. Just recall the scene when you just blew out, shouted, and acted insane over maybe something very trivial. Mostly the postmortem of such incidents leave you puzzled as if it was to you who was in action at that time. The reason for such dramatical executions is some emotional point that gets irked at that moment and cause flurry and the amygdala starts making you play to its tunes. So, by the time the thinking part of neocortex prepares for response, the reaction has already ruined the case for us.

• On the other hand, when there is too much thinking with no feeling part, it leads to too much deliberation while making a choice, confused mindset where you pick anything as you are not sure. The reason is we can assess and list options, however until we are not able to assign some emotional value to these options, selecting any one option as superior becomes sort of impossible. Experiences of self and others, incidental value to such situations come handy while making those calls. There are number of examples we can see around where people seem smart enough to excel yet when it comes to make the call they hesitate and deliberate too much.

There is a quote mentioned in book which says, “Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel.” (Horace Walpole). So, may be to make our life a balanced drama we need IQ as well as EQ. When the thinking and feeling brains coordinate, it is well executed play.


Learner for life, from life