In 1995 Daniel Goleman launched his book Emotional Intelligence which soon permeated our thinking in education, business, and culture. His premise: our emotional quotient is more important than our intelligence for future success.  

Goleman defines emotional intelligence in a description in a recent podcast on the Good Life Project as,

“…a different way of being smart….What kind of person are you? Are you self-aware? Can you empathize? Can you put that together in relationship and have strong connections?…It’s a key to success in life.”

Based on Goleman’s thesis and our own common sense, we launched social-emotional learning programs in schools. Google drank the Kool-Aid and developed an emotional intelligence and mindfulness program for their campus. More books were written.

One gap is that we may still be advancing children’s intellectual and physical acumen through extra-curricular activities when really unstructured play and problem-solving might be the most supportive activities for emotional intelligence.

In the meantime, our technological advancements have created more isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

So, just over two decades later, Dr. Susan David, a psychology researcher from Harvard published Emotional Agility, to help us unpack the competencies we need to cultivate.

I first heard about her book on a podcast with Rob Bell which describes her wildly popular article in the Harvard Business Review.

Her book captured me in the first few pages because she used a keyword for me: thrive. David describes the world we live in as it contrasts to “the world we want to live in, the world where we could truly thrive.” I’m riveted.

I want us all to thrive, for the sake of our children.  Yet, I find myself trapped by vicious patterns of emotions and only taste the freedom emotional agility might bring.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

Photo by SHTTEFAN on Unsplash