Building Emotional Intelligence Through Mindfulness Meditation with Daniel Goleman

Mindfulness has been explored to be a key element in building emotional intelligence which is linked to success. However, in spite of the hype, questions have been raised and potential downside has been pointed out about this practice. Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, gives a deeper understanding about mindfulness meditation and the important role it plays in order for one to be a well-rounded, emotionally intelligent person.

TTL 303 | Mindfulness


I’m glad you joined us because it is a special show because we have Dr. Daniel Goleman here. For those of you who know, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on emotional intelligence and Daniel Goleman is the guy who made emotional intelligence the mainstream thing that it is now. He is a New York Times bestselling author. His book was on the New York Times bestselling list for a year and a half. It’s in 40 languages. He’s written several books. He’s got a new one. We’re going to talk to him about that.

Listen to the podcast here

Building Emotional Intelligence Through Mindfulness Meditation with Daniel Goleman

TTL 303 | Mindfulness
Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

I am here with Dr. Daniel Goleman, who is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. He is an internationally known psychologist who lectures frequently. He does all the work that you hear about in the area of emotional intelligence. If you know about emotional intelligence, it is because of Daniel Goleman. It’s so nice to have you here.

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here, Diane.

It’s my honor. It’s funny to me because I had never known too much about emotional intelligence when I was going through my doctorate. I had talked to one of my professors about wanting to look at the factors that influence sales. He assumed I meant that I was going to study emotional intelligence. I had no idea what he’s even talking about at the time. I go, “Okay.” I talked along with them and then later I looked it up. I’m like, “This is the coolest thing.” I didn’t know about it until then. You can’t go anywhere without people talking about emotional intelligence. Did you think you’d have that kind of impact that you’ve had to make it so popular in the mainstream?

No. When I wrote the book, Emotional Intelligence, I was working as a science journalist at the New York Times, although I do have a PhD in psychology. I stumbled upon the concept in an obscure journal. There was an article written by my friend, Peter Salovey, who’s now the president of Yale University. I thought, “This is such a great concept and so counterintuitive.” It sounds like an oxymoron, emotions, and intelligence. They don’t go together. I thought what a great phrase. I’ll explore it. I’ll unpack it. Also, I was trying to relate brain science to which had not been done, but I’ve been covering a lot of studies about emotions and bring an aspect of neuroscience, which was the hot new thing then. When I wrote the book I thought, “I better get another proposal out because I doubt anyone’s going to read this.” I also had this thought, “Someday I’ll hear two people use the term emotional intelligence and if they both know what it means, I’ll have succeeded.” By now, it’s certainly succeeded.

It certainly has. You had a great TED Talk. You’ve done a lot of things to get this known. Anybody that’s taken a business class has read everything in terms of leadership. There’s so much that you’ve researched. You mentioned Salovey. There are several researchers in which it’s challenging sometimes in the classes I teach because a lot of people define it a little bit differently or they have different components associated with emotional intelligence. It’s slightly different. From my research, I was looking at Bar-On’s model because I was dealing with stress and sales. He had stress management. Sometimes you’ll see different components. Yours is probably the one that is easiest for people in terms of understanding because it’s very easily spelled out. You had five components and now there are four areas that you consider part of emotional intelligence.

There was a fifth, it was motivation or drivers. We realized that was self-management. The four parts are self-awareness, self-management, empathy or social awareness and relationship management or social skill. Those are the four parts. Within an inch of them, I went back to my research for graduate schools, David McClellan, who was my main mentor at Harvard and graduate school. He was developing what’s now pretty common in business. It’s competence modeling. You take your top 10% performers and you compare them with people who are average. You try to see what abilities or competencies you see in the stars that you don’t see in the average. We found that there are about a dozen competencies that show up over and over again that are based on emotional intelligence. I’ve been working with that set of twelve abilities because they’re limited learnable. This is the good news for anybody.

[bctt tweet=”Other people’s view of you as an aggregate is a much better way of judging because we have our blind spots.” via=”no”]

What I think is interesting when you deal with any self-assessment, and I’ve been dealing with that because I created an assessment to measure the factors that impact curiosity. It’s very challenging for people to look at themselves in a way where they aren’t influenced somehow. Do you think it’s possible to get 100% accurate measurement of emotional intelligence?

We find that other people’s view of you and as an aggregate is a much better way of judging because we have our blind spots. We have our hubris. Things that we think we’re good at. We may not be good at as other people see our actual behavior. We have this assessment, the emotional social competency inventory. It’s a 360. We find that if you ask people who know you well, whose opinions you respect and trust, to evaluate you anonymously, you get a very good view of what your strengths are and where your limits are across all twelve competencies. For example, for coaching, that’s extremely valuable assessment because you don’t get that kind of information in life. People won’t be straight with you, particularly if they work for you or they work with you or they’re married to you. If they can evaluate you on an objective measure and do it where they know they’re anonymous, then have that data aggregated and fed back to you. That’s a much better indicator.

It’s interesting to look at some of the leaders and whether they have high levels or low levels of emotional intelligence. I have a couple of courses I’ve taught where students have to judge whether they think Steve Jobs was a high or low on the emotional intelligence scale. Of anything you’ve read, I’m sure people have asked you about different people. Was he one that you’ve ever had a chance to look at?

First of all, I don’t think emotional intelligence is one thing. It’s twelve things. You can be good at some and not so good at others. Steve Jobs was fantastic at achievement motivation. He had goals and he got there and knew how to get there. I don’t think he was always so good at empathy. You could say that Bill Clinton was the reverse. I met him once and he was fantastic in empathy. He saw you at the center of the universe when you were talking to him. On the other hand, he wasn’t so at impulse control, to say the least. It’s helpful to break it down not to think of emotional intelligence as what you either have or don’t. In what way are you emotionally intelligent? That’s much more useful.

A lot of people are always looking for quick tips on how to improve in terms of emotional intelligence. Is there one book that you’ve written or one book that people you think should follow to get guidance? Some of these are good about explaining it. Others are good about team activities. If you’re trying to improve your level of emotional intelligence, is there one thing to go to for help?

The one book where we go into that in some detail is Primal Leadership. It’s a book I did with my colleague Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee for the Harvard Business School Press. That book is still in print. It describes a process whereby you can generally improve your emotional intelligence, but also I’m working now with Key Step Media, which has an online learning platform. It’s probably more practical for more people. The point is that it’s not like learning calculus. It’s not like the way you learn in school. It’s a different mode of learning. It’s a skill building. It takes practice. It takes focus. It takes ideally someone looking at you and seeing how you’re doing, who can help you see where now you can improve more.

TTL 303 | Mindfulness
Mindfulness: It’s interesting to look at some of the leaders on whether they have high levels or low levels of emotional intelligence.


You’re talking about learning online. I looked at your sites and some of the stuff you’re doing. You’re offering these coaching certification programs. These are intense 27 weeks without practicum and 39 to 51 with?

It’s a combination of working with a group who are going through it with you online because some people are in Asia. They’re not necessarily here or South America. That takes several minutes a day over time. You coach someone. You’d get coached. There are a three-day and a five-day in-person meeting. We try to create it so that people who have a full life, maybe they are coaches already, can also go through the certification in a way that’s not a showstopper but fits well into busy lives.

It’s interesting all of the different things you could do in a day to be a more well-rounded emotionally intelligent person that has mindfulness. Now that you’re dealing with this mindfulness issue in your other book, I’m wondering how much you’re running into people trying to find time to incorporate all of this. These are all important skills. Is it something that we need to spend a lot of our day to work on or is this something that we could spend a little bit on emotional intelligence, a little bit on mindfulness, and a little bit of developing different parts of our character?

Self-awareness is the keystone of emotional intelligence. Mindfulness is definitely an exercise in that. My theory of the very best kind of mind training to do in mindfulness is definitely mind training is the one you’ll do. It’s the amount that you’ll do. We suggest people start small five minutes, ten minutes a day, build up if they find it pleasant if they can fit it into their day, not everyone can. One of the things is that you can do it at any point in your day no matter what else you’re doing because it is about how you’re relating to your experience at the moment. It’s not setting time aside, but rather being aware of your own reactions to what’s going on or your own sensations. What’s going on in you as well or as around you.

When you were researching this, I was interested. I was listening to your book on tape and also have written, so I was looking at different ways of looking at your information. I’m thinking you wrote this with your friend, Richard Davidson. You were talking about how there was a negative connotation sometimes to mindfulness that they were looking at it as the LSD studies from a long time ago in altered states, bringing up that. Did you have any issues with them letting you take this as a serious area of research?

Yes, because Davidson, who’s now a neuroscientist in Wisconsin, and I were graduate students in the very same program at Harvard some years before he’d gotten rid of Leary and Alpert because they’ve been giving psychedelics to undergraduates. It’s a big scandal. Our faculty was a little traumatized. They were very reluctant to approve of our study of what we called meditation then. We now take as mind training because it’s like, “Consciousness again? We can’t go there.” That was a while ago. When Davidson and I went back to review all the literature on this, we found there are 6,000 peer reviewed articles. We took the top 60 in terms of tightness of methodology, prestige at the journal, A-level journals, to a much more rigorous review of articles they put in. We prefer those. We found 1% of those 6,000 were airtight.

[bctt tweet=”Emotion and intelligence don’t seem to go together, but the phrase sounds great and it’s worth exploring.” via=”no”]

When you say airtight, you mean replicable or what do you mean?

Not just replicable but for example, you brought up the question of self-report. What Davidson found when he did a study with another friend, Jon Kabat-Zinn, who’s putting mindfulness on the map with MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, that if you have what’s called an active control group where people spend the same amount of time doing something that helps them, Davidson created a health enhancement program where you study nutrition and exercise. You exercise as much as the other people are doing the mindfulness. If you have an active control group, the self-report measures are good in both. We don’t trust articles that are based only on self-report. We look for harder measures, biological measures, brain measures, and so on. That’s one example of the kind of thing that we felt made a study airtight.

This is a different area of study. It’s been emotional intelligence, but you have always been interested in this type of thing from what I was reading. You’ve worked with the Dalai Lama and some important people in this area. Going back to Steve Jobs, he was interested in some of this mindfulness meditation and that kind of thing. I’m wondering if you can combine Type A personality-driven successful people and still want to get into more meditative state. Do they go together?

They do and they don’t. The sense in which they do has to do with, for example, Wisdom 2.0 is very popular in Silicon Valley. It’s a yearly conference where experts in mindfulness and similar mind training talk to people who are pretty much achievement-oriented, Type-A executives. They’re talking to them about the ways in which it helps you achieve, which are very clear right at the beginning. The benefits of mindfulness include sharper attention, better memory, better learning, you’re calmer. Calm and clear is the best internal state to take in information, process it deeply, and respond agilely. There are a lot of benefits. If you go more deeply, you may not be so interested in achieving although I was talking to an executive of a very large global company who goes for ten-day retreats. He does it because he’s highly stressed at work. It’s a total recovery. The body was designed to have episodes of stress and even trauma, and then have a long period of recovery. That’s fine. We still give ourselves the time to recover anymore, which one thing after another, after another. For this executive, that was very restorative. It can fit in various ways and be of benefit.

Some people are more drawn to it. I can’t remember how many hours I read that the Dalai Lama meditates every day. Certain people are able to do a lot of this type of focus. You’ll probably think this is funny, but I was listening to your book on double speed before I realized that I need to slow down and pay attention because I’m doing the exact opposite. I’m like, “I need this book.”

You may remember right at the beginning of the book, we talked about the difference between depth and scale. The Dalai Lama is a professional. He’s a monk. He lives in a culture that understands the value of supporting someone like him, a monk or a nun, to meditate full time because they’d become very nutritious people. It’s great to be around them. Our culture is not one of those cultures. Our culture is a very achievement-oriented and materialistic culture. What’s happened is that the depth in this kind of interior discipline is you find in cultures like the Dalai Lama’s, but very few people go that depth. Here in the West, it’s gone to scale. There are mindfulness apps. There’s mind training. There are meditation pods in companies. It’s available to a much wider range of people that is ever true in Asian cultures, but they don’t go as deep. They still benefit. The benefits are there at every level. They’re just different.

TTL 303 | Mindfulness
Mindfulness: Emotional intelligence is not one thing. You may be good at something while the other person on another.


You say there are benefits and you’ve mentioned brain scanning to look at the amygdala and how it recovers from stress. You cover some interesting things in the book. What I’m interested in also is that you said that some types of meditation work better, some don’t. Not everything is what the media would hype it to be. What type works for you the best? Do you fall into what most people would pick or are you an outlier somewhere?

I’m on industrial strength, a little bit of fanatical about it. I started in college because it helped me stay calm. I was pretty jittery. I started with TM, which is a kind of commercial brand. I got a traveling fellowship to Asia and there I encountered other methods. One of them is called insight. Mindfulness comes from that tradition. Slowly I graduated to a cousin of that, a Tibetan version. I’ve been doing that in years. That’s my taste. It’s like there’s a big menu. It’s like foods or sports. Do you like marathons or do you like tennis? It’s very personal.

Did you find that there were some things that were hyped quite often that don’t do well for people?

What I did notice is that many of the teachers who have come to the West were not seen by people in their own profession in Asia as being that particularly advanced. However, with marketing in the West, teachers who have this aura, “I’m from India. I’m from Tibet,” have been may be seen as more advanced than they were in their own context. Students gravitate to them because they never saw anyone like that at all. There are teachers and probably methods that are marketed well but aren’t necessarily as sound as things you can get for free in Asia.

It has so many health benefits. That’s what appeals to me when I’m reading about it because we all have high levels of cortisol. You’ve got to deal with cardiac disease. It’s challenging for people to know exactly what works for them. For me, I’m a very hyper person. I listen to my tapes on double speed. The time requirements can be challenging for people. Do you recommend starting slow ten minutes, a minute? Where do you start and how much do you have to have to have it be beneficial for you?

What’s the minimum dose that will pay off? It’s such an American question. It deserves an answer and the answer is that we see benefits from the first few minutes of mindfulness. I have a friend, Mark Bertolini, who’s the CEO of Aetna. Mark had a horrible ski accident. He hit a tree. He ended up partially paralyzed and in constant pain. He’d only have access to the best medicine anywhere, but he found that no doctors could help them with pain. He started doing yoga and mindfulness. It helped him manage his own pain. He offered it to everyone at Aetna. Mark is a numbers guy. He wanted to know what are the real benefits? Can you speak about the health benefits? He measured Cortisol, which is the stress hormone. High levels of Cortisol mean we’re stressed out.

[bctt tweet=”Emotional Intelligence is not like learning Calculus. It’s a different mode of learning. It’s really skill building.” via=”no”]

He found that it lowered cortisol 28%. People got two hours better sleep quality at night. They were more productive so that they are $3,000 per year more productive. It was a fantastic ROI. It has benefits we discovered when we did our surveys research, some of them were very startling. One was telomeres, which are part of the DNA. Every cell has to determine how long that cell will live seemed to get longer. People who do a day of meditation, who have done it, or more like the long-term level, not beginners. All of the 150 genes that were assayed that activate when you’re stressed and create inflammation in the body, all went quiet. The health benefits, we think might be quite profound. This is an addition to sharpening attention and feeling calmer. This is what’s happening biologically in your body but there’s a lot of research yet to be done.

You had said you’d seen less mind wandering after eight minutes or I was listening to some of the numbers. When you’re doing that, it’s hard to not have your mind wander at least for me.

I’m glad you brought that up, mind wandering. It’s part of the practice. Some people think, “I can’t do this. My mind is crazy.” That means you’re paying attention to what your mind does. Your mind always wanders. You have to understand the basic repetition. When you go to a gym and you lift weights, every time you lift the weight, you make that muscle a little stronger. The basic repetition in this mind training is you put your mind on something, your breath, your mind wanders all the time. That’s what the mind does. You noticed it wandered. That’s the moment of mindfulness. You bring it back to the breath. That’s the rep. That’s what strengthens the circuitry for focus. Every time your mind wanders, it’s an opportunity to strengthen it.

I always thought you had to try to completely empty your mind.

That’s a common misconception. Thank you for bringing that up.

It’s totally wasn’t possible for me at least so that’s good to know.

TTL 303 | Mindfulness
Mindfulness: Mindfulness directly develops emotional self-awareness which is the keystone of emotional intelligence.


No. It’s not possible for anybody.

I’m feeling a little better about that. I’m so interested in the way your mind works, though, because you go towards the topics that interest me. I’m always interested in anything that’s brain related. You’re trying to get people to be smarter and better in so many different ways. I’m curious where you’d go next. Are you interested in figuring out why we dream?

I can see why you’ve developed a measure of curiosity. You’re very curious. I remember an article in HBR by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz saying that curiosity is one of the competencies in the future. You’re ahead of the game. Where am I going next? I’m getting very interested in the values dimension, purpose and meaning. It’s intriguing to me that new hires Millennials seemed to care more about the mission of the organization than earlier generations. I find that they’re important. I’m interested in looking into it.

It is interesting to look at the different generations and how they interact. I know there are so many issues with that and that’s where emotional intelligence was so great in the training. Even with all the assessments and all the information we’ve learned about communication is important, why do you think we’re seeing such poor engagement levels still at work?

There are two strategies for dealing with disengagement, which HR says is rampant in companies. One is to reengage people for the organization. They both have to do with reengaging. One is to reengage by getting people to understand that the mission of the organization is meaningful and they’re making a meaningful contribution. That’s the standard way of doing it. The other is to help people be better able to engage at will. That’s where emotional intelligence can come in and where the mind training we’re talking about can come in. It turns out that one of the doorways to flow, which is complete immersion and pleasure in what you’re doing, that’s like engagement at the max. One of the doorways is paying close attention, bringing your attention to whatever you’re doing.

It’s something that frankly our culture has been very poor at. We’ve let external things like changes in fashion, this year’s cars and the design perk up our brain. What we haven’t done is what many Asian cultures have done for centuries, which is to help people train their attention so that they bring that what’s called beginner’s mind. That orienting response from a brain point of view that, “Look at this, this new interesting thing,” being able to bring that to anything. That’s what Zen is, for example. Steve Jobs was a student of Zen. He was someone who was looking at new at the same old thing. Lo and behold, he kept coming up with new gadgets that we didn’t know we absolutely needed until we saw them.

[bctt tweet=”Our culture is a very achievement-oriented and materialistic culture.” via=”no”]

That’s all very interesting to me in my research in curiosity because a lot of people rely so much on assumptions. I found four factors inhibit curiosity and that was fear, assumptions, technology, and environment. If you think you know an answer to something, you don’t even bother looking into it any further. That’s been an issue for a lot of people. I’m curious if you’ve always been a curious person because you are now to write all this, to do all this research.

That’s one reason I left psychology and went into journalism. I was at the Times for twelve years and then in the science department. In journalism, whatever catches your fancy and might be of interest to other people, you can pursue. I found psychology departments weren’t that open, frankly. There are two strategies generally in companies and in life. One is exploit and the other is explore. Psychology departments, at least in my experience, want me to exploit. They want me to refine a topic I could spin around and add something to it. That’s like a company that has a product that’s making money and tweaks it every year so that it keeps bringing in the cash. The other is to explore and that means to be curious, to look around, and to find something new. Schopenhauer said, “Genius is hitting the target others do not see.” I said Jobs was fantastic at that. He may not have been so great in other ways, but that was one strength that he had. It showed in the company. I’ve found in journalism you could explore widely. I’ve always found that. I never thought about that but now that you pointed out, I saw it. I was curious.

I’m interested in the unexplainable things. You look towards the things that interest me, explaining the brain, for example. I like astrophysics. I like the things that are out there that nobody has good answers for. Are there other topics other than mind related things that make you very curious?

I’ve been very struck by the fact of the Anthropocene dilemma that humans are oblivious to the fact that our daily habits are eroding the global systems to support life on the planet, including human life, which is why global warming is a problem. It’s not just global warming. It’s water. It’s biodiversity. It’s all kinds of things. I grew up in the Central Valley of California and in the summer when you would drive through the valley, your windshield will be coated with insects. Now it’s not a problem. What that means is there are fewer insects. That’s not a good thing for the planet. I see that from a brain point of view, our brain was developed at a time when we needed to be highly attuned to things that could eat us or that we needed to eat. We have this very narrow perceptual range, which means the changes in the planet to macro to micro to slow for us to detect even in terms of our sensory system. Our major lobe, the brain’s radar for threat shrugs. It’s not attuned to that level of danger, that kind of danger. We keep doing things collectively that are not that good for us or for our progeny, our children, and grandchildren. That’s something I’ve been quite intrigued by.

Younger generations since they’re more interested in saving the planet kind of thing, do you think we’ll see a change in that?

It has huge business implications. There is a fantastic entrepreneurial opportunity over the next 50 years, namely everything, all the processes we use, all of the products that we manufacture are done in a way which, when they were introduced, we didn’t know the consequences for the planet. We have a lens that can tell us what the actual impacts are. The great entrepreneurial opportunity is to find better ways to do it and make that a marketing advantage. Particularly as younger generations become big forces in the market, there will be a market force that values that. If it happens too soon enough, it might save us or help save us. It’s interesting to see what people are learning to do for the future whether they’re learning to save the planet, what kind of educational opportunities are going to exist. As we talk about this, when I was the MBA program chair, I looked at a lot of the factors of what we were teaching students and what people need to know to go into the workplace. It kept back to soft skills. The glue that holds things together. Everybody is getting hired for their knowledge but fired for their behaviors and all the things you hear about.

TTL 303 | Mindfulness
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is really about how you are relating to your experience in the moment.


As we learn some of the things that you’re teaching us about the importance of emotional intelligence and mindfulness, even how to save the planet or whatever. Do you think that we’re going to continue to have these four-year degrees that are all set up with a curriculum the way it always has been or do you see the newer generations looking for bits and pieces of content and more certifications here and there, and that type of thing? Are we going to lose the humanities and the glue and getting worse in soft skills in general?

You probably did see the results of a global survey within the last half year. Maybe McKinsey did it. They asked senior executives, “Which are more important, technical skills or soft skills?” About 90% plus said, “It’s soft skills. You can hire people with technical skills.” They ask new hires, it was the reverse and 70% said, “Technical skills.” They didn’t understand that as you become a member of a team or an organization and as you get the leadership position, you’re managing people and that takes people skills, the so-called soft skills. That bias is possibly a byproduct of academics, the academic culture. I’m a child of academics. My parents were both college professors. It’s blind to the role in, for example, leadership or something like emotional intelligence. It’s focused on my discipline, my subject. That’s the way the curriculum in the college years ago.

It’s interesting to me that there’s a very active movement K through 12 before people go to college and what’s called social-emotional learning where they teach emotional intelligence skills to kids as part of the regular school day. It doesn’t happen in college. It happens again in certain graduate programs, business for example. I saw Fast Company had an article. Emotional intelligence is the new black, it’s a given. Everybody needs that. In healthcare, for example, there’s a lot of attention paid to it at the graduate level. There’s this black box of four years of undergraduate education, which needs to be rethought. I agree with you. We should not throw out the humanities. The humanities are essentially another way to learn about diversity, about the difference, about empathy, about understanding other people. We could get even better at that. We could add emotional intelligence.

I serve on a board for Leader Kid Academy, which is dedicated to teaching those types of things to the K through 12. I agree with you in the undergrad, we’d like to see more. I had somebody on the show talk about STEAM instead of STEM. I kept hearing STEM so much, the importance of teaching STEM, but they’re starting to talk about teaching STEAM, adding arts. I’m wondering if we’re going to start seeing a longer acronym, start putting more and more into the letters.

The arts are what make life rich. STEM alone is not enough. I would say maybe the arts alone aren’t enough. My father was a professor of humanities literature, which is an art. It was about being human, learning what it means to be a human and in the range of that and so on. I’d love to see more emphasis on that. It could be in anthropology. It could be in other subjects too.

That’s what I was trying to accomplish with studying curiosity is to try and open people’s minds up to looking at different areas and not be so focused. Some people get tunnel vision, they don’t look outside and they have no periphery. All these things that you write about are so important for our development in general.

[bctt tweet=”Some types of meditation work better, some don’t. It’s not everything that the media hypes it to be.” via=”no”]

Here’s a common story. Someone will master something in STEM for example, be a programmer and then they get a job. They hit a wall and the wall is that they’re underdeveloped in human arts and getting along with people, empathizing, being a member of a team. They don’t understand or they’ll get a promotion because they’re so good individually but then they top out. In fact, as you said, they may get fired for a deficit in this. That’s why I find coaching people in emotional intelligence such an important thing because it allows people to build these strengths at any point in their career. This gets back to the education. I don’t think we’re preparing people well for what it takes to make progress in a career.

It’s tough. You mentioned empathy, which is such a huge part of your research and others in emotional intelligence. That can be so challenging. Do you have a tip for how people can learn to empathize? If you’ve never put yourself in somebody else’s position, you’d have no way of seeing things from their perspective. Is there a quick shortcut to help people with that at all?

It’s called being fully present. That’s an endangered moment. There was an article in HBR called the Human Moment, how to anxiously be present to a person. It means ignore your phone, put aside your laptop, be with the person, and stop your thought train. You may be thinking about something else. Pay full attention to the person in front of you. That’s the beginning of empathy.

I worked in sales for decades and that was one of the hardest things for salespeople is to not be thinking about the next question that you want to ask and to be listening to what they’re saying.

Because then people feel felt, feel hurt and then you have a rapport. If you’re thinking ahead, “What can I say next to make the sale?” It doesn’t happen.

All these books that you’ve written, all the studies that you’ve researched, it’s all been so inspiring to me. It’s made a huge impact on my life. The one guy that mentioned this to me, I’d never heard of it. I don’t even remember his name. I’m so glad he told me about emotional intelligence because it changed everything for me. I was looking forward to this from what I’ve known plus reading your latest book has been so fascinating. It’s a great book. This must have taken a little while too. There was a lot of research in here. I’ve always been a big fan of the Dalai Lama and some of the people you write about in here are interesting. A lot of people could benefit from reading this. Maybe you could share how people can get the book, find out more about you, and maybe find out more about the training you do still in emotional intelligence.

Let me start with emotional intelligence training. Key Step Media is where those programs could be found from the coaching certification to individual learning programs. As far as my book, you’re referring to the book called Altered Traits or in the UK, it’s called The Science of Meditation, which is a more apt title. It reviews the science behind mindfulness and other kinds of mind training that are becoming more and more popular. As far as getting in touch with me, I have a website,, send me an email.

This has been interesting. I enjoyed having you on the show. Thank you so much.

What a pleasure, thank you.

It was exciting to talk to Daniel Goleman on the show. I have done a lot of research in the area of emotional intelligence since writing my doctoral dissertation. It’s interesting how you fall into certain areas of research based on somebody mentioning something. As I had said to Daniel that one of my professors had asked me if I was going to study emotional intelligence impact on sales performance. I had never heard of emotional intelligence at the time. As I started to research it, this is a fascinating topic. This was so long ago that I had no concept as to how big this was going to be. What it did was get me interested in the area of assessment in general. I later wrote a book with my daughter, Toni Rothpletz, about different personality assessments. It’s important to understand how they work and what you’re going to get from each of the different assessments.

We wrote a book called, It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality. It was meant for post-Boomers. It was supposed to be a real light read. My agent at the time had wanted it in a Skinny Bitch format. Skinny Bitch was a famous book at the time. It was irreverent. We wrote it in that tone. It was used for a couple of courses I taught. One course I taught in Arizona at a tech-based university used it as required reading for a foresight class, which I thought was cool because you were understanding the importance of personality assessment in the workplace. Prior to this, I used Rath’s model for StrengthsFinders. A lot of these courses include DISC or emotional intelligence and Myers-Briggs and all that. When I was studying all this to write the books and to write my research, I started studying assessments and generally became certified to give the Myers-Briggs MBTI. A lot of people are more familiar with DISC. They like that for organizational settings. They all offer something that gives you a little insight into your own personality. More importantly the personality and preferences of other people. That’s important for communication.

As I started to do the radio show and have more people that I talked to who were such impressive individuals, you’d start to compare what their curiosity level was to maybe other people I’d meet in my day in and day out basis. It’s was something in my mind that kept thinking, “I want to write about curiosity, what makes somebody more curious.” As I started to research it, I thought I don’t need to write a book about curiosity because there’s a lot of books about drive and motivation and finding your why and mindset. They’re great books that explain how we think and why it’s important to be motivated, what motivates us and that type of thing. I did want to do some research on the background of curiosity and how it tied into some of those areas. They kept finding that curiosity was the spark that led to motivation that led to engagement, to productivity. Innovation in general is going to be such a huge topic with AI taking over so many jobs.

Everybody is looking for an answer to what’s going to make people better aligned, more productive. It kept coming back to curiosity. As I was researching it, I thought, “I want to see what keeps people from being curious.” For you to improve something, you have to know what’s impacting it. I did some research. I did a lot of factor analysis and funds statistics to determine what it was that was holding people back from being curious. It broke it down into four areas which are fear, assumptions, technology, and environment. What I do now is through the book, Cracking the Curiosity Code and the Curiosity Code Index Assessment, we offer workshops and training and tools to help HR professionals and anybody that’s a leadership consultant to better understand curiosity. It should help people to develop in the four areas of fear, assumption, technology, and environment fate. In those four areas, we teach people how to develop. What’s great about the training courses is that not only do they come out of them being able to train individuals, but they’re helping individuals create their own personal action plan for overcoming any issues that hold them back in terms of fear, assumptions, technology, and environment.

They also create another action plan for the organization. The organization is looking to improve engagement, critical thinking, innovation, productivity, all the things I mentioned before. Through this training, we’re helping people, through developing curiosity, develop ideas to help leaders to create these action plan items for them. There are two important outcomes in these training sessions. That’s why I’ve had a lot of people interested in becoming certified to give the CCI. We’re doing that now. You can find out more about that at We offer the manuals and the different training materials to help you be able to be an effective CCI trainer. All of this tied into what we talked about with Daniel Goleman on the show, many things that can be done to make people a more well-rounded and developed. Developing curiosity is one of those skills that we could put into the category of things like emotional intelligence that will help people be better in the workplace. I wanted to thank Daniel for being on my show. He offered so much insight. I need to take him up on some of his mindfulness training.

As I was listening to his book, I realized that I wasn’t slowing down to listen to it. Some of the things he was saying were so key to what we need to do in our daily lives to improve. Some of the research that he was writing about in his book where he dealt with the cortisol levels. I saw some of that when I was researching curiosity because as you become curious, you increase your dopamine. You get the feel-good chemicals. You have so many things you’re trying to fight in terms of cortisol overload and a lot of things you feel better based on what you’re doing in your research and what you’re developing in your mind. In becoming more well-rounded, you’re helping some of the better neurotransmitters to make you feel better. I’m very interested in his work and it tied into the interests that I had in this and emotional intelligence.

I wanted to thank him and all my guests who have been so great to be on the show. I know we had a lot of guests, but if you’ve missed any past shows, you can go to if you want to read the shows. We transcribe them, which is nice because it links to everything that we talk about on the show. To get more information about Cracking The Curiosity Code: The Key To Unlocking Human Potential and to get more information about the Curiosity Code Index, you can get that at Thank you for joining us. I hope you join us for the next episode.

Important Links:

About Dr. Daniel Goleman, PhD

TTL 303 | Mindfulness

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. He is an internationally known psychologist who lectures frequently to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. Working as a science journalist, Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books) was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half; it is available around the world in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Take The Lead community today:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *