Get Started with Emotional Intelligence

Want to learn more about emotions and emotional intelligence?

At Six Seconds, we believe emotions are valuable signals that help us survive and thrive.  When we learn how to use them, emotions help us make more effective decisions, connect with others, find and follow purpose — and lead a more whole-hearted life.



In simple terms, “emotional intelligence” just means being smarter with feelings.  It’s about putting together the rational and emotional so you can move forward effectively.

Emotions are part of human biology, they are chemicals that help regulate our minds and bodies, assisting us to cope with complexities of making decisions, interacting with people, and finding our way through life.  We feel emotions to help us pay attention, and to focus our attention.  While sometimes they’re confusing, emotions are part of us, so we might as well learn to use them well.  (For more detailed definitions, see links below).


You’ve Got Emotional Intelligence – Use It!

Everyone has some emotional intelligence – here’s how to use yours.  Start with these three steps:

1. Tune in.  Notice your feelings and reactions.  Get off autopilot.  We call this step Know Yourself

2. Respond.  Instead of reacting, give yourself a moment to de-escalate and evaluate options.  This is called Choose Yourself

3. Connect.  Remember what’s truly important to you, consider others, and then move forward with those in mind.  This is Give Yourself

At first glance, it’s really simple, right?  Practice by taking a few seconds, a few times a day, to go through those steps.  You can use these three questions:

What am I feeling?

What options do I have?

What do I really want?


Tips for Emotional Intelligence

Doing it consistently it a challenge… and raises the question:  What skills can I practice so that I can do this process more effectively?  Through our research and experience, we developed a set of eight specific, learnable skills that make the process work.  Here is a detailed article about this model including an explantation of the eight competencies, and links for many tips.


Here are a few ideas to get started.  First, remember it’s a CYCLE.  We might not have the perfect awareness or identify the exact right choice, but as we go around and around this process, it gets easier!

Know Yourself:

  • Everyone has feelings – all the time.  What are yours?  Not just the obvious ones, but the ones hiding in the background?
  • Remember that emotions are data.  They’re chemical signals to help us handle threats and opportunities.

Choose Yourself:

  • When a situation just starts to heat up, “press the pause button.”  Take a big breathe.  Get some water.  Say, “Let me think about this for a moment.”  There are very few situations that actually require an instant reaction.
  • Remember you have many options.  Sometimes it’s hard to see those.  You can change your thoughts, engage new feelings, experiment with new actions.  You might not have “the perfect solution,” but you do have possibilities!

Give Yourself:

  • There’s always more to the story.  When people do or say something annoying, get curious: What’s really going on here?
  • Your choices matter.  The way you respond effects others, and effects you — so you effect the future.  What’s the effect you want to have?

Next steps:

Read the introduction to the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence.  It will explain the 3 steps in more detail, and then introduce the eight competencies.

Here is an overview of the history, “Dr. Daniel Goleman on the Origins of Emotional Intelligence”  — and a more in-depth article on the origins of EQ “Emotional WHAT? Definitions & History of EQ


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