The Decline of Emotional Intelligence

The term Emotional Intelligence (A.K.A EQ-Emotional Quotient) was created by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and then popularized by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book called Emotional Intelligence.   EQ means being aware that emotions can drive behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions, both our own and others.  EQ is more important than we may realize.  According to Harvard Business School, research has determined that EQ counts twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be successful.

I posit that the decline of emotional intelligence in the United States is evidenced in our current extreme political divisions.  Did this decline start in the populous or with today’s cultural and political influencers?  At times our airwaves seem to be filled by adults who were emotionally damaged children that have not done the self-work needed to be a decent, productive (rather than destructive) human being in our precious democracy.  They seem to be upset that all their emotional needs were not met as children and their answer to this emotional pain is to punish or criticize everyone else.  How juvenile, grow up, be a man or woman!  See a therapist, do the work.  You’re need to blame someone else for your shortcomings is destructive to our country.  I jotted down a list of about 10 influencers that in my mind fit this description.  One early influencer of this decline has passed, one has not been heard from in awhile, but the rest are heard from nearly daily.  I don’t think it is proper for me to lists them here, because I am not a professional psychologist/psychiatrist and have not met any of them personally.

Historian Jon Meacham said on MSNBC that “…politicians are often mirrors of who we are rather than the molders.”  I believe that low EQ is present in the populace, but it is being magnified and perpetuated by the politicians.  The politicians have chosen to be leaders, they need to step up and lead not follow.    Sadly, they have lowered their personal EQ in order to get elected as division and tribalism have become the new norm.  When the populace sees our leaders act in low EQ ways, their low EQ behavior is normalized.  A successful democracy requires a high level of emotional intelligence and must start at the top.  Let’s vote for candidates that exhibit decency and integrity!!!  Let’s raise our national EQ!

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Concerned Citizen

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