Emotional Intelligence And Beyond

"Like a Girl"

Personal Intelligence, The Power of Personality and How it Shapes Our Lives is a book by John D. Mayer who is a psychologist that co-developed the theory of emotional intelligence.  In my search to understand emotional intelligence I happened upon this book and (new to me) term and concept that expands on the original theory.  Join me in a review of his book in the next few weeks on this topic.

Some questions that will be considered  in the review are:

1.  What is personal intelligence and how does it differ from emotional intelligence?

2.  What are some examples of personal intelligence?

3.  What are some questions I can ask myself to determine how my personal IQ rates in relation to others.

4.  What are the key reasons to work to increase in personal intelligence?

5.  What steps can I take to improve my personal IQ?

6.  Is personal intelligence something I should be concerned with as a Christian?

What is personal intelligence?

Mayer stipulates that it is a broader intelligence that expands to understanding our own personalities and the personalities of those around us.  Personality can be defined as:

American Psychological Association definition:
Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.

Merriam-Webster defines personality as the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people.

Personal intelligence may be differentiated from emotional intelligence by looking at the “themes” or “patterns” that emerge out of our awareness of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  These themes may be a result of learned behavior from our immediate culture or family of origin or our broader culture being our society.  There is strong evidence that our personalities are shaped by our genetic inheritance as well in the form of temperament.

According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, temperament is defined as:

Individual differences in human motivation and emotion that appear early in life, usually thought to be biological in origin. Temperament is sometimes considered the biological or physiological component of personality, which refers to the sum total of the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social dimensions of an individual.

Paying attention to the themes that arise from our genetic inheritance regarding personality is part of the learning process.  For example, you may find similarities to how you react in life to a particular family member.  Am I outgoing or shy?  Am I thin-skinned or thick-skinned?  Am I laid back or uptight?  Do I think before I talk or think out loud?  An example of these genetic personality differences in the animal world is demonstrated by the purposeful breeding and cross breeding of particular breeds for a specific outcome in behavior and temperament.  If you are researching the type of dog for your particular home or purpose, there is ample information available on specific breeds to predict their tendency for energy level, sociability and intelligence and skill set.




Be Vulnerable


When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would not longer be vulnerable.  But to grow up is to accept vulnerability…

To be alive is to be vulnerable.

–Madeleine L’Engle

As Americans it seems we have placed too much emphasis on independence as a culture.  I’m not referring to our rights as citizens.  I’m referring to our resistance to being inter dependent.  One of the biggest challenges for people after an injury or trauma is the feeling of being a burden on family and friends.  Our pride as Americans can be a deadly force preventing people from getting help and from having a sense of community and support during times of struggles.




“Laughter is inner jogging.” –Norman Cousins

We respond all the time with LOL but are we actually doing so?  Laughter is a great stress relief and actually increases oxygen in the body like deep breathing and exercise.  It’s no wonder we are drawn towards funny people and things that allow us to have a good laugh.  Someone said laughter is good medicine and I believe it to be true.  Carry on with all the LOL’s!

Blogging…The New Front Porch

new year pic(1)

It could be argued that today’s American society is lacking in community compared to previous generations or other countries/cultures.  Young couples commonly raise their families without the benefit or support of having family living in the same town.  We don’t have barn raisings to help each other get started in life.

Blogging is an accessible tool that can connect people with common interests, goals and expertise.  What a person does with that connection is up to the individual.  People can choose to enhance the connection beyond the computer screen to include more personal, face to face time together.

Blogging is a way to share not only your experiences, thoughts and feelings but also your knowledge.  We all have unique talents and skills that we can teach or share with others.  It can be a format for mentoring others as well as learning from others.  We are relational beings that thrive within a community.  Social media allows us to have access to our community no matter where we are.  It has certainly helped me this past year living in a new town at a new job to have a virtual community at my finger tips.

It was only at the urging of my friend Kate that I reluctantly started using Facebook and LinkedIn years ago.  I guess my preconceived notions about these “tools of communication” were that it only serves for impersonal experiences.   It’s kind of like the old “party line” on steroids.  I have to remind myself that they are powerful tools that can lead to greater involvement with people from the past, present and future and that it is up to us where we go from there.

Privacy is an issue with on-line media.  We have to consider that when we share personal information that a wide net is cast and not everyone seeing it is open-minded or seeing us with unconditional positive regard.  The same consideration for self disclosure in the counseling setting should take place when we are blogging as professionals. That is a tough lesson to learn as part of maintaining rapport.  An experienced successful therapist in Houston told me during a career search interview that “the first seven years of counseling are all about rapport.” At first I thought, that’s a long time to take to master a basic skill.  I now understand better that rapport can be broken at any stage of the counseling relationship long after the initial rapport is established.  Being comfortable in a certain role or relationship may lead us to share more than what is purposeful for the client or community.

Some basic tips to keep in mind while preparing a blog:

The title and first few lines of text have to clearly state the purpose of the blog and catch the reader’s attention.

The same aspects that apply visually in other modes of publishing apply in formatting a blog.

Create a visual map or outline of the content to make the content appear quick to review with use of formatting and headings.

Formatting includes use of space and short paragraphs that are visually appealing.

Present content in the form of lists that are numbered or bulleted verses written in essay format.

The ideal length of a blog is 250-300 words based on general opinion.





The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well-being of others.–Sharon Anthony Bower

Sometimes we are un aware of our own power and influence on others.  Our professional roles and personal roles as parents or elders in the family create a power differential with others.  I wonder if God determines our level of power and influence on how we manage our current position personally and professionally.  How does being a Christian influence how we approach even those that seem to be against us?  It is against the cultural grain to show love towards people that we may be in opposition to.  I am praying God will help me to be more aware of how my words and actions affect my communication with others.

Emotional And Personal Intelligence

Emotional & Personal Intelligence

Reflecting on the value of emotional and personal intelligence as a Christian while reading the book The Power of Personality and How it Shapes Our Lives by John D. Mayer (2014), the question came to mind: What should my motivation be for looking at my own personality or that of another, in essence “sizing up another person”.  Is this what the Bible refers to as judging?  If it is considered judging another to notice another’s character and habits then how do we avoid being unequally yoked?  Is it wrong or arrogant to be aware of our own strengths and to want to spend time with people who share those strengths?

A local pastor made the statement at a welcome and introductory dinner for visitors of the church, “If you look around a room or table and think that you are the smartest person in the room, then something is wrong”.  He is implying that the person needs to check themselves and their perception of themselves in the world around them.  Why would it be wrong for a Christian to believe he/she is the smartest person in the room?  I guess we could test this question by giving a group of new visitors a series of IQ tests to determine who has the highest IQ and have each person give a confidential response to who is the smartest person in the room.  What if the person who has the highest IQ happens to be aware of the difference between his intellect and that of others?  Is it wrong for him to have this awareness?

These questions lead me to some of the broader trends of the American culture and society concerning the value of competition and individualization.  We are a society that places a high value on winning.  Even if in a race, the person in second place loses by a second or fraction, they do not “win the prize”.  How does this constant determination of one person being better than another set us against each other?  It is my belief that the plight of competition against each other for money, power and prestige has placed us against each other.  We have lost the ideal that by one person erring in life, we all are affected.  Jesus said, “If you do it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me”.  As Christians, we must accept each other without trying to be dominant in some way.