Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

2020, book #10: “Everything you see — including yourself — must travel through your own lens. The problem is, your lens is tainted by your experiences, your beliefs, and, without question, your moods.” — Travis Bradberry

Finished on February 13, 2020

This book was given to me by a great friend Craig Massey. He’s someone who’s shown himself to be quite aware and observant of the way that others act and interact. When he said that this book impacted him greatly, I knew it needed to move up the list in quick fashion. Fortunately, he let me read his copy of the book and even take the assessment online that came with. It was a great book and definitely impactful. After re-reading my notes and writing this up, I think that it actually impacted me more than I even thought that it did.

Surprising? Not really. Most people don’t want to work. People want the easy way out and the path of least resistance. I’m sure that, much like myself, you know many people who have incredible potential but never reached what we can see to be their full potential.

Pg. 8, People with the highest levels of intelligence (IQ) outperform those with average IQs just 20% of the time, while people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time.

I feel as though I always had this understanding but did not have the verbalization of it. This part of this book was incredibly strong yet also not surprising in the grand scheme of things. Only 36% of people could accurately identify emotions in the present time? That’s ridiculously low, yet, it does make sense. Most people are simply out of touch with how they actually feel and think that they might feel a different way than they actually do.

Pg. 14, All emotions are derivations of five core feelings: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and shame. As you move through your daily routine — whether you’re working, spending time with family or friends, eating, exercising, relaxing, or even sleeping — you are subject to a constant stream of emotions. Only 36% of the people tested were able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

Here was the grand spectrum of emotions that people could feel. There are, of course, the 5 core emotions that the author identified with the branches off of them. Which words do you usually use to describe your feeling? Tony Robbins does an excellent job in his book “Awaken the Giant Within.” I shared some more about the power of language here: https://harrisonwendland.com/blogs/bite-size-writing/use-the-power-of-words-positivity-cc8edf09cc1d?_pos=1&_sid=f13e23f60&_ss=r

Pg. 15,

This is incredibly important to understand and accept. As Travis emphasizes, you have NO control over this part of the process. Your initial knee jerk reaction is going to be emotional and it may not be the emotion that you want. Nonetheless, learn to quickly identify and understand what you are feeling at certain times and strive to also identify the reason for certain feelings.

Pg. 16, Since our brains were wired to make us emotional creatures, your first reaction to an event is always going to be an emotional one. You have no control over this part of the process. You do control the thoughts that follow an emotion, and you have a great deal of say in how you react to an emotion — as long as you are aware of it. Some experiences produce emotions that you are easily aware of; other times, emotions may seem nonexistent.

What is more important? IQ or EQ? The second one, right? Someone who is incredibly intelligent is useless if they cannot speak to another human in an effective manner.

Pg. 18, You don’t get smarter by learning new facts or information. Intelligence is your ability to learn. And it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. EQ, on the other hand, is a flexible skill that can be learned. While it is true that some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, a high EQ can be developed even if you aren’t born with it.

Where would you say that you fall on the spectrum? I strive to question everything and do so frequently. I say a certain thing in a meeting, why? I feel a certain emotion, why? Why are you who you are and why do you do what you do? Do you start work early or stay late or do neither? Why? You know the answers because it’s you… whether you know it or not, every decision that you make is driven by something else.

Pg. 25, People high in self-awareness are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well, what motivates and satisfies them, and which people and situations push their buttons.

I absolutely love people watching. I will observe and listen in and strive to understand why people are saying what they are. Many people say specific things to people to create a reaction. Their body language is often evident when they do so. Body language experts say that the most honest part of the body is… eyes… just kidding. It’s FEET. Next time you are becoming disengaged in a conversation and want to remove yourself, look at where your feet are facing. More likely than not, they are going to be facing away from the person you are conversing with at that time. As people are talking to you, and as you are talking to people, you need to be cognizant. Become and remain fully engaged.

Pg. 38, Listening and observing are the most important elements of social awareness. To listen well and observe what’s going on around us, we have to stop doing many things we like to do. We have to stop talking, stop the monologue that may be running through our minds, stop anticipating the point the other person is about to make, and stop thinking ahead to what we are going to say next. It takes practice to really watch people as you interact with them and get a good sense of what they are thinking and feeling. At times, you’ll feel like an anthropologist. Anthropologists make their living watching others in their natural state without letting their own thoughts and feelings disturb the observation. This is social awareness in its purest form. The difference is you won’t be 100 yards away watching events unfold through a pair of binoculars. To be socially aware, you have to spot and understand people’s emotions while you’re right there in the middle of it — a contributing, yet acutely aware, member of the interaction.

Just like I said a few paragraphs above, the author echoes that sentiment here. ASK yourself why you do what you do. Eventually, you’ll find an answer and then… you’ll find answers more quickly in the future. The author did a great job of including a few sample questions for people who are not as accustomed with a practice such as this.

Pg. 84, Stop and ask why you do the things you do. Emotions come when they will, not when you will them to. Your self-awareness will grow abundantly when you begin seeking out the source of your feelings. Get in the habit of stopping to ask yourself why surprising emotions rumbled to the surface and what motivated you to do something out of character. Emotions serve an important purpose — they clue you into things that you’ll never understand if you don’t take the time to ask yourself why. Just paying attention to your emotions and asking yourself good questions like these are enough to help you improve.
Can you remember the first time you reacted like this and with whom?
Are there similarities between then and now?
Can anyone evoke this reaction in you or only specific people?
The better you understand why you do the things you do, the better equipped you’ll be to keep your emotions from running the show.

There is nothing I can even add to this, it’s just essential that you read this enough times to fully digest it and understand exactly what the author means here. Remember that only you can see the world as you do, everyone else’s world revolves around them.

Pg. 92, Everything you see — including yourself — must travel through your own lens. The problem is, your lens is tainted by your experiences, your beliefs, and, without question, your moods. Your lens prevents you from ever obtaining a truly objective look at yourself, on your own. Often, there is a big difference between how you see yourself and how others see you. This chasm between the way you view yourself and the way others view you is a rich source of lessons that will build your self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the process of getting to know yourself from the inside out and the outside in. The only way to get the second, more elusive perspective is to open yourself up to feedback from others, which can include friends, coworkers, mentors, supervisors, and family. When you ask for their feedback, be sure to get specific examples and situations, and as you gather the answers, look for similarities in the information. Others’ views can be a real eye-opener by showing you how other people experience you. Putting the perspectives together helps you see the entire picture, including how your emotions and reactions affect other people. By mustering the courage to peer at what others see, you can reach a level of self-awareness that few people attain.

POWERFUL. I have dedicated thinking time but it’s focused on certain things. I always begin my day with the same routine and that includes a reflective journal where I think about the previous day and identify and highlight the most important and most impactful actions and corresponding repercussions. I could most definitely increase the amount of time that I spend in this process and believe that the impact would be grand.

Pg. 116, Set aside some time in your day for problem solving. A 15-minute period each day when you turn off your phone, walk away from your computer and take time to just think, is a great way to ensure your decisions aren’t muddled by your emotions.

This is HUGE. BIG TIME. The simple thoughts of, “wow the weather is too cold,” or, “I always mess up this part of the process,” or, “I wish this was easier, I’m just not good enough.” Those types of thoughts get passed on directly to your subconscious and that subconscious mind of yours has no filter. Any thought it receives it interprets as fact. The author expands on that by sharing the physical reactions that your body undergoes as a result of the negative thoughts that you could partake in throughout your day and throughout your life.

Pg. 117, Take control of your self-talk. Research suggests the average person has about 50,000 thoughts every day. Sound like a lot? It doesn’t stop there. Every time one of those 50,000 thoughts takes place, chemicals are produced in your brain that can trigger reactions felt throughout your body. There is a strong relationship between what you think and how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Because you are always thinking (much like breathing), you tend to forget that you are doing it. You likely don’t even realize how much your thoughts dictate how you feel every hour of every single day.

Before I read through this book, each of these three things have been areas that I have emphasized not only for myself but for those around me. When people have a good grasp on who I am as an individual, I don’t hesitate to call them out and hold them accountable. “I’m always tired.” No you’re not, you just didn’t sleep last night and you are not hydrated today. Step it up. This is not a character trait but is rather a state of being. I strive to maintain fluidity throughout my life and emphasize these three things throughout all facets of my life.

Pg. 119,
1. Turn I always or I never into just this time or sometimes.
2. Replace judgmental statements like I’m an idiot with factual ones like I made a mistake.
3. Accept responsibility for your actions and no one else’s.

Perspective is everything and an attitude of gratitude is always important. Striving to view everything as a learning lesson sets you up to be in a much better position overall.

Pg. 129, Learn a valuable lesson from everyone you encounter. Let’s say you are driving to work and someone cuts you off and then swerves around a corner and motors off in another direction. Even this inconsiderate jerk has something to teach you. Perhaps you need to learn to have more patience with irritating people. Or it may make you grateful that you are not in such a hurry.

As with the above statement also, we need to learn. What can you learn? There is always something that you can learn, whether it’s what you intended to learn or whether it’s something else, you can learn if you seek to learn.

Pg. 130, The next time you find yourself caught off-guard and on the defensive, embrace this opportunity to learn something. Whether you learn from the other person’s feedback or just from how they are behaving, keeping this perspective is the key to keeping yourself in control.

Which one is the most important for you? Which is most natural? Which one is a new idea that you have not seriously considered at many times? For me, it’s the fourth, “Remember the little things that pack a punch.” And then it’s the fourteenth also, “Make your feedback direct and constructive.” Those are the two that I practice most often and most powerfully. I think that each of the following seventeen strategies have a place and a purpose.

Pg. 179, Relationship Management Strategies:

1. Be open and be curious
2. Enhance your natural communication style
3. Avoid giving mixed signals
4. Remember the little things that pack a punch
5. Take feedback well
6. Build trust
7. Have an “open-door” policy
8. Only get mad on purpose
9. Don’t avoid the inevitable
10. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings
11. Complement the person’s emotions or situation
12. When you care, show it
13. Explain your decisions, don’t just make them
14. Make your feedback direct and constructive
15. Align your intention with your impact
16. Offer a “fix-it” statement during a broken conversation
17. Tackle a tough conversation

This is incredibly important and something that we must always keep in mind. We must build trust. We must use trust to build it. There is no other way.

Pg. 191, Build trust. An unknown other said, “Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.” Trust is something that takes time to build, can be lost in seconds, and may be our most important and most difficult objective in managing our relationships.

Amazing. Take the time to make an impact in the lives of others. I have been giving birthday cards at my office to each and every individual for the past 12 months. It’s something that is simple for me to do, takes only a few minutes, but they talk about for months. Most people don’t give cards, remember their birthdays, or anything — but I do. It’s simple, but it’s meaningful to them; the same is true with the story below.

Pg. 206, When you care, show it. Here’s a story for the aspiring high-EQ managers across the globe. One morning, I groggily went up in the elevator of my office building to start yet another day. It had been a long night the day before; I had stayed late so I could finish some projects for my boss. When I got to my cubicle, I saw that there was a fresh black-and-white cookie and a card that said, “Thanks for filling in the black and whites.” It was from my boss. She was always such a busy person, juggling home and work. I was floored to see that she had found a few minutes to slip into a bakery on behalf of my sweet tooth, and get into the office early enough to put a cookie on my chair. I just about cried at her thoughtfulness.

Surprising? I don’t think so. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep impacting others in a positive way always.

Pg. 239, Self-management appears to increase steadily with age — 60 year olds scored higher than 50 year olds who scored higher than 40 year olds, and so on. That means the younger generation’s deficient self-management skills have little to do with things we can’t change like the effects of growing up in the age of iPods and MySpace. Instead, Gen Xers and Gen Yers just haven’t had as much life in which to practice managing their emotions. That’s good news, because practice is something Gen Yers can get. Reversing the hands of time to go back and change their upbringing might be tricky.

I gave this book a 3/5

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