Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman delves into human relationships and the impact they have on us and society.
- For a happy and fulfilled life master the art (and science) of social relationships
- You can control your feelings
Social Intelligence – Golden Nuggets
How to control your feelings
Daniel Goleman argues there are two different parts of the brain at play which he calls the low road and the high road.
The low road sets his camp in the amygdala and works at higher speed based on raw feelings we infer from other people. It is responsible for the “first impressions”, which we form unconsciously noticing.
The high road, you guessed it, is instead the conscious, thinking part of the brain.
Now the interesting thing, is that there’s an interplay of these two roads.
Use the High Road to control The Low Road
The low road can unconsciously make us sad or scared. But we can then consciously use the high road to override the low road feelings and sensations with whatever we prefer.
Goleman gives us the example of a woman who was sad after seeing a picture of a funeral, only to switch to happiness when she was told to think it was a wedding instead.
And the greatest the activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the more muted the amygdala was during the appraisal, which means: the higher the high road speaks, the more it takes away the low road mic.
How to erase your fears
Not only we can override the low road, but we can also change it.
Our memories are in part reconstruction: every time we recall them, the brain rewrites them. And how our brain rewrites them is correlated to our current concerns, understanding and feelings.
So If when you recall a memory you have a flare up of the same fear, then that fear will deepen.
But if you put yourself in a calm, confident state, the fear loosens its grip, and the memory is re-encoded with less power over you.
My Note: this is the same concept Tony Robbins teaches.
How to control the Low Road
This is the essence of exposure therapy: if you relax and then confront your fears and repeat it again again, you will reach a point where you will overcome your fear.
MEANING: you can get rid of unhelpful feelings!
Mam VS Woman’s brain
Under stress a woman’s brain releases more oxytocin, bringing women to seek out people interactions, which in turn releases more oxytocin.
Men are the opposite: under threats they tend to go alone.
Also, women place positive relationships as the main source of their happiness while for men independence and a sense of personal growth are more important than relationships.
Power & emotional pull
In relationship the party with less power will converge emotionally towards the party with more power.
I picture it a bit like a gravitational pull: two celestial bodies will influence each other, but the bigger one will exert a stronger force on the smaller one.
Also, Goleman says, people in the relationship have different power in different realms and there’s usually a tacit agreement on who’s got more power on which subject.
This is important, and something which you can indeed probably see in your own relationships.
Mimicking does not create rapport
You probably heard the trick of mimicking the other person’s body movement and gestures to make them like you, right?
Bet you thought you could do that on your dates and make him/her like you, right? 😉
Well, Goleman affirms that intentionally mimicking the other person’s movements does not create rapport by itself and can actually feel off (if you want to get close to someone, you will likely mimic body language unconsciously anyway).
How to create rapport
Goleman then affirms the 3 ingredients to create rapport are:
- Mutual attention ;
- Shared positive feelings;
- A well coordinated non verbal duet
A bit basic
Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman deals with many topics (read below) without always going as deeply as I had hoped
Too many topics for one book.
Ask me a year from now “have you read Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman” and I’ll tell you “yeah, and it was good.. But, honestly… I can’t tell you exactly what topics it covers”.
If you are interested in psychology and people, many topics in “Social Intelligence” will be either common sense or familiar -Hedonic treadmill; Ultimatum Game-.
Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is a good book, I enjoyed it.
I did particularly love:
- Science to back the importance of human relationships
- How we can influence the low road (subconscious)
- How we can use the high road (conscious) to override unconscious reactions
That’s powerful stuff and I actually prefer it to its more famous sibling Emotional Intelligence. If you are looking into Social Intelligence to get better socially, I highly encourage you to check the Social Mastery Guide.
If you find the golden nuggets above insightful, go ahead and get the whole book here.