Got Four Minutes?

 Improve Your Emotional Intelligence in Four Minutes a Day.

I have recently been reading a book about Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  Lest you think this is one of those “woo-woo” books, let me share with you it is written by Chade-Meng Tan, an engineer who likes have proof for everything.

Tan’s book has created a stir and he was asked to speak at the World Peace Festival in Berlin.  (The ‘other’ speakers were a Nobel Peace Laureate, a government minister, a renowned philosopher.)  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he was one of the earliest engineers at Google, as well as creator of Google’s only waiting-listed course on personal growth and well-being.

Just Write

I like the book.  It’s practical and funny and chock full of ideas and “evidence” that suits the practical side of me – like his recommendation to write for four minutes per day on anything you are feeling.

You don’t think about what you are going to write, you just write and don’t stop.  Let your ideas flow onto the paper.  If you get writer’s block after 30 seconds, just write about it.  What’s best is to write in full honesty and not worry about what you write, because it never needs to been seen by anyone.  Make it the best brain dump you can do.

Write Advice

Does the writing do anything useful?  You bet!  Here’s the evidence….

A study by Spera, Buhrfeind and Pennebaker had a bunch of laid off professionals write to themselves for 20 minutes per day about their feelings for five consecutive days.  These people found jobs at a much higher rate than the people in the non-writing control group.  After 8 months, 68.4 % of them had found jobs vs. 27.3% in the control group…. That’s 40 percentage points!

And, high school students that wrote about their most meaningful experiences for fifteen minutes for several days in a row, felt better, had healthier blood work and got higher grades in school.

Mr. Tan says later studies show even as few as four minutes per day has the same results.

Power of the Pen

The power of the pen comes from collecting and documenting your thoughts.   I know this true, as I have seen amazing results from such a simple approach again and again.

A longtime executive coaching client teases me.  She says every time I’ve asked her to write down her goals (in her own handwriting), she has to be careful what she asks for – because they always happened.  Sometimes sooner or sometimes later than expected, but those thoughtfully considered and written goals materialized.

Want to improve leadership skills, reach your goals and increase your performance?  Get out your pen.  And you will stand a better chance of improving EQ, your outlook, and you’ll actually feel better!


So what does it take for you to pick up a pen and fill several blank sheets of paper?  Got four minutes?



  1. Great advice! The proof is in the evidence. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: